Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of money on a lot of crap. There was the hundred dollar robotic dog that my kids swore was the only thing they’d ever ask for again. Robo-dog now resides at the bottom of the toy box. We’ve been suckered into a few similar traps (the mega slip-and-slide that ended up in a wad in the back yard and a gigantic inflatable ball that took my husband four hours on Christmas Eve to blow up). But some purchases have withstood the test of time to be really awesome family investments. Here are some favorites!
11 Family Splurges That Are Totally
1. A projector
You haven’t watched movies like Jurassic Park or Harry Potter until you’ve watched them on a projector. Projectors are cool because you can use them inside or outside for an incredible viewing experience. Inside, you can turn a blank wall into your own theatre. Outside, use a projector to watch the big game with neighbors or friends or host an outdoor movie night.
For around $500, it’s a splurge that ends up being totally worth it.
After my son started dribbling all over the house and used my laundry basket for a hoop, we broke down and got a good one for outside. That basketball hoop has been so much fun for our whole family. And not only our family, but neighborhood kids often roam over to shoot some hoops or play a pick-up game. Even if you’re not gunning for an NCAA scholarship or a future in the NBA, an outdoor basketball hoop is still a solid purchase that your kids and grandkids can use at every age.
This one’s going to get a lot of conflicting views, but in my experience, our trampoline has been nothing but positive. It’s got a net around it for my peace of mind and my kids are out on that thing every single day. They love making up new games on it and I love that it encourages physical activity. A trampoline helps kids get their wiggles out and as long as an adult is there to monitor, a trampoline can provide all sorts of long-term fun.
4. Car dvd player
I often think about my poor parents and how they had to listen to us kids fight, complain, and sing “This is the song that never ends…” on road trips. Today, when we’re 100 miles into a family vacation and there’s not a peep from the back seat because my four kids are quietly watching The Greatest Showman with their bluetooth headphones, I praise the inventor of the car DVD player. It was a $1,000 upgrade and one I’d easily do again.
5. A home pod
Whether it’s Amazon Alexa, the Apple HomePod, or another smart home system, having one is a splurge that is well worth it. Being able to play music throughout the whole house makes work more enjoyable—the kids actually like doing their chores when we can jam out. A home pod is also awesome for verbally adding to your shopping list and asking questions like “How many cups in a quart?” and getting immediate answers.
It’s one of those purchases that you didn’t know you needed, but once you have one, you couldn’t go back.
This is a fun one! For parties, hot summer days, or just a novelty after-dinner treat, a shaved ice maker is awesome to have! Get a good electric one that can give you shaved ice in a jiffy. And don’t forget the flavored syrups!
7. Yeti cooler
It’s hard to imagine spending $300-$500 on a cooler (I mean, it’s a cooler!), but you really get what you pay for with the Yeti cooler. It’s heavy duty—I’ve seen one fall off the back of a truck on the highway once and it didn’t get a single dent—and has three inches of PermaFrost insulation to keep your drinks and food cold far longer than any other cooler. Plus, it’s so sturdy, it can serve as a bench when you’re camping!
8. Hot tub
Some of my most memorable nights include sitting in a hot tub, looking up at the stars. Yes, it’s a splurge, but the majority of people who own a hot tub say they are completely worth it. It’s a great way to unwind at night and create fun family memories (where safety and precaution are practiced).
9. Backyard swing set
Every kid deserves a backyard swing. Growing up, my grandpa built this massive metal swings and slide in his backyard for us grandchildren to play on, and it’s a good thing he did. That’s where we lived spring, summer, fall, and even winter (we’d slide down the slide in our snow pants into the snow piles below). If you wonder whether or not you’ll get your money’s worth out of a swing set, chances are if you have children or grandchildren, you will.
10. Family vacations
My dad was a scrupulous man, never paying more for something than he needed to. But the only area he would freely splurge was family vacations. Whether it was taking us five kids to
Disneyland or the Oregon Coast, he found a way to make it happen. Family vacations are important. If there’s one thing to splurge on, a family vacation is it. We’re headed on one soon to Disney World! We booked through the greatest travel agency, Getaway Today, that saved us a lot of cash.
11. Sports, activities, and lessons
Another area that is well worth forking over extra dollars for, it’s extracurricular activities for your kids. When I was younger, I never gave a second thought that all those piano lessons, softball teams, and 4-H camps actually cost my parents money. But having those opportunities enriched my life and made me who I am today. When it comes to helping your kids discover and develop talents, any money you spend is money well-spent.