Reader Guest Post: Todd, a Man of Many Hats

I usually don’t do much in the way of guest posts, but reader Todd wrote a fun little diddy that I can’t help but publish. Todd may be the master of delayed gratification (what are you on Todd and can I buy it?), so he fits the FIRE mode very well.

Todd loves hats.  I love hats too, so I’ll warm you up by showing you some of mine:

From left to right: Fake military boonie hat that I bought on the beach in San Diego, a baseball cap that a reader gave me and... crap, you weren't supposed to see that one. Move along now.

From left to right: Fake military boonie hat that I bought on the beach in San Diego, a baseball cap that a reader gave me and… crap, you weren’t supposed to see that one. Move along now.

Take it away Todd!

I am a loyal reader of 1500 Days (I’ve spent the last six months going back and reading EVERY post Mr. and Mrs. 1500 have ever wrote) and recently felt inspired to write a post of my own about a recent purchase.

Our four hats

When I was younger, I had this weird habit of getting a present and seeing how long I could go without opening it. Sometimes I’d last a few weeks, sometimes a few months, and as I got older, I remember letting one sit, still wrapped, in my closet for nearly 10 years (it was an 8th grade graduation gift from the school that I ended up opening when cleaning out my bedroom after I completed college). I guess this is one of those early signs of an individual who would eventually seek out FIRE. Delayed gratification at its finest.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-10-40-35-amHowever, I recently did something I haven’t done too often since really honing in and focusing on the FIRE lifestyle a year ago – I bought my wife and I a present. Even the most stringent early retirement hopefuls have their vices … some can’t let go of dining out, cable TV, or house cleaning services (yikes, we still have/do all three of those … maybe that’s why I don’t have my own blog – not hard-core enough to roll with the bigshots). For me, clothing is definitely not one of them. I’m proud to have some clothing items that I still regularly wear that are more than half my age (normal for a new-born baby, not so much a 30-year-old man). However, I do have one vice that gets me every time. It’s a weird one … no, not that weird, get your head out of the gutter … but nothing gets me excited like a brand new hat. Since I was a little kid, I loved collecting hats from every place I would go. Sporting events, trips to different cities, off the wall restaurants (and even ones that weren’t – I remember my Dad bartering to get me a Boston Market hat from an employee one time to add to my collection). However, despite my infatuation with caps, it’s something I’ve had to curtail, as I have more than enough to last me through several lifetimes at this point.

Kids like bizarre things …

Despite spending the past 12 months diligently shifting to a FIRE mind-set, questioning, and waiting out most purchases, there is one luxury purchase that has been on my radar for quite a while. After scouting out some deals (a 15% off coupon code along with free shipping, 3% cashback on Ebates, and 2% cashback on my rewards credit card), I bought not one, not two, not three (go Lebron!), but four new hats (down from $109.96 to $80.72)!

These presents aren’t for today though, and they aren’t for tomorrow, or even the holidays … these hats are for the two BIG days that await us on our FIRE journey.

The first I’m hoping we can give ourselves in 6-7 years:


While the second pair won’t be taken out of the closet for another 10-12:


I think for most in the FIRE community, both of these don’t need much explanation. I can’t take full credit for the idea – I believe I saw a joking conversation in the comments section in one of the blogs I read that mentioned the concept of Game Over paraphernalia for early retirees … I just actually really liked the idea and wanted to use it as motivation.

So they will be getting wrapped up, to sit on the shelf, in solitude until the day they’re meant to be presented to our future-selves.


I imagine some years they’ll go completely forgotten, while others will have times where I’ll glance at the box and feel like I’ll never get to open these gifts. But I know that at the end of my journey (and a quick pit-stop along the way when we reach the Double-Comma Club), our prize awaits … those sweet Trucker-Style, custom-designed “Game Over” hats. Oh yea, and that whole quitting our jobs in our early-40’s thing and having complete financial freedom for the rest of our lives.

Others can have their new cars, big houses, fancy clothes … I’ll just continue to look forward to the day my wife and I can wear our $80 worth of hats.

Thanks Todd! If this blog is still around when you get to open your hats, how about a sequel post?

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16 Responses to Reader Guest Post: Todd, a Man of Many Hats

  1. I have to ask: what was the present from 8th grade?? Kudos to your self-control with the presents, sir. I would rip them open the second I laid my eyes on them. 🙂

    It’s cool to hear that you’re meeting your FIRE goals! I hope you get to wear your “Game Over” hat quite soon. The hat infatuation is a new one to me, but we all have our little quirks. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…How Complaining About Life Has Saved Me MoneyMy Profile

    • Todd says:

      Ha ha – it was a “High School Prep Kit” – a calculator, pens, a notebook – nothing too exciting.

      Yep – I can’t wait for the day to pop the Game Over hat out of that box!

  2. Team CF says:

    This is too funny, good luck Mr Todd (and DW), we sincerely hope that you are able to put these two sets of hats on quicker than you are currently planning. They are very cool.

    As for you Mr 1500, can we get a photo with you and the “mickey mouse” one on, that would make our day 😉
    Team CF recently posted…How Much Do You Need To Become Financially Independent in the Netherlands (Part 3)My Profile

  3. Mrs PoP says:

    So how long could “toddler Todd” leave a marshmallow on the table uneaten? =)

    I think everyone has their weird items that someone else will find a reason that they are a “waste” of money. But if having those hats in your closet brings you and the Mrs joy, who are the rest of us to judge?
    Mrs PoP recently posted…Real Estate Values Update – Third, The Golden TurdMy Profile

    • Todd says:

      I wish Toddler Todd had the same ability of delayed gratification – at this stage (she’s 19 months) it’s pretty much the complete opposite – everything is MINE and NOW … we’ll work on the whole financial independence/delayed gratification concept down the road – maybe get past potty-training first!

  4. I keep having the ending of the movie Seven running through my mind. “What’s in the box?” I got to know what was the present from 8th grade.

    Damn, hats are expensive. I do love the new additions. I’m a fan of the double comma club. Looking to join it myself one day. Continued success Todd!
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Debt Free – Year TwoMy Profile

    • Todd says:

      Thanks Brian! Love Seven, crazy movie!

      See above comments for the present, nothing too exciting. Getting the hats custom designed was a bit much, but was happy to get the price down to around $20 a hat – I did just buy a new $30 one at a recent concert I attended, yikes! (Like I said in the post, this is probably why I don’t have my own blog, lol)

  5. Awesome, Todd! Love the hats, what a fun idea. You’ll deserve the recognition and celebration when you hit those milestones, good for you for splurging on the hats. Thanks for the guest post!
    The Green Swan recently posted…The Green Swan: Six Months in FlightMy Profile

  6. I had to ditch 10 hats when I got rid of half of the wardrobe in our closet, which looked a lot like the one pictured.

    So long Menards hats, Simpsons Kwik e Mart hat that never fit well, random freebies, etc…

    I’ve still got the NWA style Raiders cap, my Packers Suck hat, and a few others that are in the regular rotation.

    PhysicianOnFIRE recently posted…What if I Quit a Year Earlier?My Profile

    • Todd says:

      Hi PoF,

      First-off, love your site! Keep up the great work you’re putting out, fantastic stuff. and one of my new favorites in the blogging community.

      I do need to go on a hat purge. My wife wanted me to add that she’s in the process of going through that Art of Tidying up process just like I’m going though our finances with a fine-tooth comb, so there is a closest cleaning in the near future!

  7. ChrisCD says:

    I spent quite a bit on socks this year, trying to find the perfect pair for running. I do believe I did, so of course I had to buy a couple pair of them.

    I use to collect hats, energy drink and Mtn Dew cans/bottles, and pins.

    Seems like there could be a Part II for the double-comma hats and a part II for the “Game Over”. Great post. Mr. 1500, glad you let Todd share.

    • Todd says:

      Thanks for the feedback! I’d love to provide an update … the sooner the better! I want to get the double comma hats once our Net Worth gets to that figure, however my wife feels it should be investments only (minus our 529 holdings as well) which would delay it by a year or so. What do you think?

  8. The Dreamers says:

    The hats are great motivator! Mine would say “Kettle Dreams” since we plan to have a pot of money to live out our dreams on 🙂 Must be the Irish in me! Also not as sad as Bucket list…

    The Dreamers

  9. I love that you have a retirement gift already!!! Plus those hats are sweet I bet you can’t wait to reach FIRE so you can rock them everyday!!!
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Is Gold A Good Investment?My Profile

    • Todd says:

      I should start a “FIRE” apparel line (how much of an oxy-moron would that be?) … would have to get enough bulk orders to really drive the cost down though – it was crazy, on the site I ordered from, quantities of 500+ brought the cost down by 60-70%!

  10. Ed says:

    Great guest post. Maybe you should start your own blog….not everyone has to be a frugal penny pincher. Heck, Physician on Fire, while frugal compared to his salary, still does pretty well. 🙂

    I am glad you explained the first hat, because when I saw it, I saw quotation marks ” not commas , ,

    I vote that the hats should be brought out at double commas of investible assets, not including 529’s since you be probably spending that on kids education. Kind of like how 1500 adjusted his goal to pay off the mortgage.

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