What was Your First Big Purchase?

Hello everyone. It’s been slow lately on my end, and in my many daily ventures of reading other blogs and newspapers, I thought about bigger purchases we make in life. So, I wanted to share with you my first big purchase was, and at the same time find out about yours was as well. Call me Mr. Curious, but curiosity is getting the better of me these days. Yet, before I started writing this post,  I searched Google on what people bought as their first big purchase. I came across a lot of lame answers such as concert tickets, memorabilia, and other lame answers.

So I thought I’d share some of my more exciting first purchases and at the same time find out about yours.

First Bigger Purchase

I landed my first job at a very tender age of 14 flipping burgers at McDonald’s. It was a fun job, and had the time of my life flipping burgers, and eating free fast food. The job lasted till I turned sixteen, at which time I quit the fast food business to become a glorified grocery clerk at the local grocery store. Working nearly two years at McDonald’s gave me enough time to save a few bucks, mostly due to the help of my mother. Somehow every paycheck I’d blow on new jeans, CDs, taking girls out and a lot of other stupid miscellaneous things. Thanks in large part to her, I manged to scrounge up nearly $2,000, which came in good use because on my sixteenth birthday I got my drivers license. I was young and wanted to become even more cool, so what better way to become instantly cool during your teen years than get your first car?

So, I pushed my parents to help me buy my first car on the condition that I’d split the insurance bill with them if for adding me as the secondary driver to the household insurance policy.

A few months later, and just months before my seventeenth birthday I purchased my first car. A 1993 Mazda 323 hatchback for a whopping $2,700. It was a big deal then, and it took me nearly three years to scrounge up nearly $3k from my part-time ventures. I was proud of my first big purchase, and was even more fortunate to be one of the first people within my circle of friends to own a car.

Other Bigger Purchases

Since my first car, I managed to buy three other vehicles over the next ten years. Each car was used, and never cost more than $6,000. I mad it through college with no car debt, and by the time I graduated I had already changed three cars and was onto my third. I stuck with my 2000 Saab 93 and 2004 Oldsmobile Alero in the early parts of my career, yet I’ve been very fortunate to never had to finance any vehicle I bought. That changed this year, and for the first time I financed a new-used vehicle.

I’ll be honest (as always) with you and go out on a limb and say that I got a little cocky….maybe confident…possible greedy, but I wanted to treat my self. Technically there was nothing wrong with my 2004 Oldsmobile, except that it was getting up there in mileage, but running fairly well. Knowing that I wanted something better, more luxurious, fancier and newer. So, I purchased a used BMW for just under $20k financed over 4 years. It’s been almost six months since I drove the car home and I haven’t looked back since. I sometimes think about it and wonder if I really needed to go buy another car, then again I’m in a great place with my career, still young and wanted something to enjoy. I suppose that’s the best rationale I could come up with for buying my current car.

Biggest Purchase

Despite financing my first car in my late twenties, that wasn’t my first biggest purchase. I actually my biggest purchase to date when I was 25 by buying a two-bedroom condo, which also happens to be the same home I’m living today. The whole home purchasing was sort of a fluke process for me. I wasn’t a good saver leading up to the purchase, and only managed to save $5k a year before by taking out a RRSP loan through a friend who worked in the financial industry. Then the market crash of 2008 came around, and the Canadian government introduced the Home Buyers Plan, where I can take a portion (in my case all) of my RRSP savings, and use it as a down-payment towards a home purchase. This was one of the things done to stimulate the economy.

So, I took advantage to the HBP, found a Realtor, started looking around and within two weeks found my first condo in an average neighborhood that I grew up in. I settled on a two-bedroom, one bathroom condo that was in dire need of upgrades and some major renovations. I envisioned the final look, and the price of $125k was inviting as well, because it was selling well below what other condos in the building were going for.

It’s been four years since my biggest purchase, and I’m proud to say that it’s been the best decision I ever made. Home ownership has been everything I envisioned, and has been a solid learning curve that I’ve enjoyed along the way.

Now that you’ve learned something about me and my biggest purchases, I’d love to hear now about yours. So, what’s been your FIRST bigger purchase? How old were you?




  1. That is funny because my first job was at 14 and was also at McDonalds. The first big purchase I ever made was when I paid cash for a Honda Civic when I was 16.
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  2. My first big purchase was a leather couch set at age 22. I had my first ‘real’ job and worked hard to save $2100. I lived in a crummy apartment, but with a nice couch set :) It was worth it though because it lasted me 11 years (I just replaced it last week).

    I couldn’t agree with you more on home ownership being a great idea. It’s never something you regret. I also took advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan in 2006. I think it was around before but was adjusted to help stimulate the economy.
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  3. I suppose this depends on the type of purchase you mean!

    I signed up for $17k in student loans during college, so you could say my education was my first big purchase! (Though it was much, much bigger for my parents.)

    As far as objects go, though, the car I bought when I was 23 was my first big purchase – $1k down, $3.5k financed. Other large purchases have been my wedding and honeymoon, a laptop, and some other travel. I’m not really one for objects or expensive furniture and I’m trying to keep my life rather mobile.

  4. My first big purchase was a car – a 1986 Buick Park Avenue I got real cheap in about 1999. It was a good car – ran fine with no maintenance for about 4 years until someone rear ended it.
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  5. My first big purchase was a $200 stereo when I was 17 years old. The next one was my first house for $36,500 (1973).
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  6. First big purchase was paying for a 6 week school trip to Europe. Cost about $1,600 that had been saved from babysitting, birthdays and christmases for about 6 years.
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    • Great job Mrs. I remember school trips we had to Europe at the end of every school year. Unfortunately I never got around to going to any of the due to finances.
      By the way where did you travel to in Europe?

  7. My first big purchase was a school trip to Boston, $350 but well worth it. My biggest purchase was my house last year: $42,000 down and $138,000 mortgaged.
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  8. Good post! I have made my 2 biggest purchases recently… firstly a house back in March and then a car (on finance) a few weeks ago. I went for a diesel Civic… something reliable and with low mileage on the clock (2009 registered). What series of BMW did you get?
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  9. First summer in Canada, having emigrated from Scotland, I worked my ass off at a golf course, and saved something like 97% of what I made. (Frugality comes naturally to we Scots)

    Was really into music back then, and took out about $1,000 and bought a great AKAI stereo system, which lasted almost twenty years.

    Put the rest into Canada Savings Bonds – back when the coupon rate was pretty sexy.
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  10. I bought a computer at age 16 ($3000 back then)!

    It was good and bad (obsolete quickly but I learned so much it helped me in school).
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  11. I wanted a Frogger video game when I was about 8 or 9. My mom refused because it was around $30, so I saved everything for months, sold lemonade, etc and bought Frogger with single dollar bills and change. Not a huge purchase by adult standards, but very eventful as a child. I guess as an adult I took a trip to Hawaii with my sister after graduation from optometry school. It cost around $2K I think.
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  12. I was going to say car, but I didn’t actually get a caruntil aafter university. So, my first big purchase was my education. I’m still paying it off. Interesting how we advocate so heavily against debt but line right up for a student loan or family loan to get through school.
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  13. Eddie, I was 16, it was 1975 and I made $3.25 per hour as a locker room attendant at a private golf club in Waterloo. The CSB rate that year was 8.75% (Makes today’s 0.5% look pretty paltry)

    The previous year, I had worked my ass off outside as a golf course attendant in Scotland, near Muirfield (British Open Course). The work was harder than the next job but I loved it.

    However, I made about 40 cents an hour at that one – so when I came to Canada and found a job paying 8 times as much, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

    I don’t think such wage discrepancies exist now, but it was sure a shock to come here and see how well people lived. My new friends would try to entice me to go to MacDonalds with them after work – (we’d never heard of Mickey D’s)

    I would go, but would never spend any money – frugality was so ingrained in me – I’d say, “why would I spend money when my mum has dinner waiting on the table when I get home?”

    Too bad, I lost those frugal ways as time went on, though my wife to this day will outright call me cheap when she’s pissed at me :)
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