If you have been reading my site for a while, you may have noticed my Ten Philosophies of a Moderately Frugal Life. The very first one is called The 10% Rule. This rule asks you to take any pay increase (or bonus) you receive and to enjoy 10% of it with no questions asked. Take a vacation. Buy some golf clubs. Do what you like.
Then, take the other 90% and put it towards building wealth. Destroy some debt (here’s a plug for my new email course on this subject if you join the weekly newsletter subscription) or aggressively invest!
In today’s post, we will discuss how I most recently used the 10% rule for our the quarterly bonus I just received. I’ve got to be up front about it, though. My bonus was for $9,000… and we spent 20% of that ($1800). But two things before you throw me to the wolves:
- I am fallible. Not gonna lie about that. The two things we spent our money on weren’t exactly “wants.” One of them wasn’t a need, the other wasn’t a choice. Haters gonna hate. I encourage a good roasting in the comments section.
- We saved up some money from prior pay checks towards these items as well. So, about half the money came from my 10% Rule and the other half from saving up.
A Better Night’s Sleep: Item Number 1 ($1200)
Replace every Eight
Surely, I am not the only one who has seen these signs at mattress stores or heard the ads on the radio. “Replace your mattress every eight years.” Well, when you are a broke trainee, you sleep on that mattress until you can’t. And then sleep on the couch (if you have one).
We have looked forward to replacing our bed, which started sagging badly in the middle about a year and a half ago. It is ten years old, and just wasn’t cutting it anymore. We realized how bad it was when our in-laws came to watch our kids for a get-away weekend that my wife and I took to the mountains.
We have a 1100 square foot house with three rooms, and three kids. So, that means my in-laws had to sleep in our bed.
When we got home, my father-in-law said, “Hey, I am sure you know this…. but your bed is pretty bad. It sags a lot. I had to sleep in the living room on your couch.”
Clearly, it was time to replace the mattress.
As I started doing research into buying a bed, I quickly realized that the mattress industry has changed in the last ten years. Last time, we had to go to a mattress store and haggle with the guy like a used cars salesman. Not the most enjoyable experience, honestly.
Since that time, all sorts of new companies now exist (yay, entrepreneurs!) to cut out the middle man. They make the mattress for the same price and then sell it direct to customers at a fraction of the cost from the big box stores and mattress chains.
Some of these include beds that literally come in boxes (typically foam beds that had the air vacuum suctioned out of them). Apparently, these smell even worse than my Winkbed which has a layer of foam on the top of springs.
What kind of sleeper are you?
I also learned that there is all sorts of “science” that goes into purchasing a bed these days. Given that a lot of them are shipped directly to you, the research has to be done online. This means reading lots and lots of reviews.
Side sleepers (70% of people) require a softer bed because the added pressure on their shoulders and hips can cause issues. For example, if your bed is too firm, side sleepers will often wake up in the middle of the night with an arm that is numb. (Lack of blood flow anyone?).
So, if you are a side sleeper, a softer bed is the way to go!
Back sleepers (Rarest) and stomach sleepers often require firmer beds for healthier sleep. Who knew?
Well, my wife is a side sleeper and I sleep on my stomach. So, a bed that starts soft and finishes firm is probably the best bed, which is exactly what the WinkBed SOFT version is supposed to be. It is still pretty firm for my taste (despite being the “soft” version).
The bed that you can find in the store that compares most closely to it is the Beautyrest Black Hybrid mattress. It costs twice as much.
It comes in three varieties (Soft, luxury firm, and firm). Most of the reviews I read (and I’d agree after our purchase) run on the firmer side. So take that into account, if you decide to purchase one.
Additionally, winkbeds has the only technology of its kind that actively will cool your bed. It has four prongs that attach (via a base you have to purchase seperately, which we didn’t) that will cool your bed through a fan mechanism.
It seems pretty cool (pun intended?), and if we love our winkbed after a couple years, we may buy another with that feature.
Would I recommend it?
I definitely would. After sleeping on it for two weeks I have realized that while it doesn’t provide that “Ahh” soft feeling when I lay on it, I wake up having slept better throughout the night. That’s really the chief goal, right?
It is firmer than anticipated, but the customer service has been great. They’ll send you an additional free topper if your bed is firmer than you prefer.
One other thing that makes it easy to recommend is the return policy. If you don’t like it after thirty days, Winkbed has a no-questions-asked return policy to get your money back. That part made it much easier buying a bed since I couldn’t lay on it first.
Item Number 2: Wheels for the Swagger Wagon ($700)
This one was the item that wasn’t a choice. The tread was gone on my four tires. Our factory tires on our Swagger Wagon (awesome video below) lasted about half the time that it should have. Apparently this is typical for a Toyota Sienna… I mean, Swagger Wagon.
So, we bought some Continental True Contact tires for the Sienna. They’ve been great. Good traction. I can’t say its added much to it feeling like a boat when I drive it compared to my car. But, hey, I just want them to keep my family safe. When I want to drive a fun car, I drive mine.
Given that we knew this one was coming up, we’ve been saving some off of the top of my monthly paychecks.
I try to live by the things that I talk about on this site. We are not perfect, and we make mistakes. But, all in all, you have to live a little along the way.
We have a beach trip coming up in June. So, we saved for that to purchase the trip. We will have family coming from four different states on that trip, which should be great.
If nothing else in this post was useful, watch the video below to get a good laugh. Oh, how kids change everything…. in my swagger wagon.
How do you let loose? No rules? Or do you have a principle you live by when spending something for fun or that isn’t part of the budget? Leave a comment below.
I consider a bed a necessity since I love getting a good night’s sleep. That “issue” I had only happened on my Feedly account btw.
And I love companies that will take things away that do not work or malfunctions. My last couch started to rip oddly and the furniture store just came and removed it without questions asked. Sometimes it is worth it to buy things from companies with better warranties.
Glad that it worked this time!
I agree that a bed and a good night’s sleep are necessary items.
I am also a huge fan of companies that honor their customers with good customer service, return policies, etc. Makes me a believer.
The best part of this discussion is you “save up for things”. This is incredibly important. My kid graduated college last week. I started up a UGTM for her when she was 2 and now she is 21. So over 19 years I took 20K and “saved up” close to 50K of which 60% was interest. The final blow to this fund came 1 month ago when after paying for all the out of pocket amenities of college like summer abroad and vacations and trips home and clothes etc I bought her a car to start her life. The payback for this maneuver was amazing. 60% free money thanks to compounding on an expense (college) you can count on happening. Your example and mine are called budgeting.
I have found now that I’m retired I still budget. My allotted monthly is $10K inflation adjusted. My usual cost of living is $7K which means I have $3k per month leeway. If we want something we just save up for it. Trip to Europe? Let’s see that’s $8K. It’s May? We can go in Sept. If some unexpected expense gets in the way we go in Oct or Nov. If we don’t “want” anything the excess just floats and gives me a lower SWR and increased SORR protection. It’s the feature of being retired and properly budgeted, ultimate flexibility. I keep a spreadsheet of just this calculation, the difference between budgeted spending and real spending and I always know exactly where we stand. It’s also the feature of your 10% rule. You live a flexible life while still maintaining constant forward progress in purchasing or maintaining a retirement portfolio.
Having a plan and saving cannot be understated. You can’t save if you don’t have excess (or flex) money separate from your monthly required payments, bills, and lifestyle.
It’s good to see that this can continue to be helpful well into your career.
Great post TTP,
I’m new to your site and can’t say I’ve ever heard the 10% rule before, but I like it. It seems like a good balance between long term financial success and enjoying the moment.
I don’t think I’d consider either of the purchases you discussed a superfluous expense. Sleeping well is a prerequisite to getting anything done (or at least done well) the next day. And as for tires…my wife gets upset with me every time I “waste” money on new tires. But if you’re at 60 or 70,000 miles (which is how long we have been known to stretch ours) new tires are a necessary expense.
Yeah neither one of these were fancy purchases. I’ve definitely used the 10% rule on other things, too. Last time I bought a Nintendo switch to play with the kids and a gaa grill. Not sure what I’ll do in July, but this time we needed these couple of items and it made sense to buy them.
Thanks for stopping by!