I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit

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I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as ShitWell, Amazon Prime Day happened.  I told my wife to stay away from Amazon for the day and not to get sucked in.  I warned her about it.  Unfortunately, nobody warned me and somehow I ended up in the vortex and bought a $35 sleeping pad before the day was over.

I debated it while it sat in my cart and the 15-minute countdown clock was ticking away.  I even deleted it out of my cart and re-added it just to restart the clock.

I contemplated this for 29 minutes and 56 seconds before I pulled the trigger and made the purchase.

Then I just stared at my screen and felt guilty.  In fact, I felt guilty about it for 2 days after I bought it.

A sleeping pad.  $35.

Yes, we can afford it.  Yes, it was $35 and not something like $350.  Yes, there are a million reasons why I shouldn’t feel guilty about this…

but I did anyway.


Me and the Ground Don’t Mix!

I’ve always been a camper since the high school years with my buddies.  I did plenty of camping in the college years as well.  Then I met my wife and we’ve continued to go 2-3 times a year by ourselves or with friends.  And we’ve taken our daughter since she turned one and she’s loved it ever since.

What I learned, however, is that I’m not as young as I used to be.  I’m 42 now and I can’t just throw a sleeping bag on the ground in the tent and call it a day.  I wake up hating life!

A handful of years ago, we switched to an air mattress in the tent.  Everything else is roughing it when we go, but I just can’t sleep on the ground anymore.  Seriously, you saw the picture from my Panama post – I’m an old man who wears a fishing hat and t-shirt in the ocean for Pete’s sake!

I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit
Me and my beautiful daughter playing in the ocean


The Backpacking Trip

I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit - The Backpacking Trip
I’ll try to pose like this on my trip and see if I can look half as cool as this guy does…

I’m actually doing my first backpacking trip in September.  I’ve been excited to get out there a little further in the woods and make things a little bit more primitive.  Although our camping trips are awesome, being able to walk to the car and having neighbor tents all over kind of takes a little bit of the roughing aspect out of it.

Doing a backpacking trip has been on my bucket list for years and every year it seems to fall through.

This year though, it’s happening.  A buddy and I are going to the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania for a 3-day, 2-night adventure.  Just the beauty of the outdoors and whatever we can carry in our packs.

I’ve decided that I probably can’t just walk into the woods and expect to hike all day with 30 pounds on my back like it’s nothing.  I’d make it 500 feet before collapsing.

So I’ve been doing a little training.  If you’re familiar with my fitness routine, you know I fast-walk about a mile and a half 3-4 days a week.  So a couple of months ago, I started wearing the empty backpack (around 5 pounds) on the walk.  I also wear it when I’m mowing the backyard (my neighbors must love me!).

Every week, I’ve increased it a little.  I’m now up to 28 pounds on my back and I’m a sweaty mess when I finish walking or mowing.  Hopefully, I’ll feel like that pack is nothing by the time the trip shows up.

In the meantime, I’m now working on shaving some weight off this pack… less is more, right?

Which brings us back to the sleeping situation.  If I was twenty years younger, I’d plan on sleeping directly on the ground… but I’m not.  So I need to figure something out.


Enter the Sleeping Pad

I already own a closed-cell camping mat.  It’s basically just a foam pad about 0.5 inches thick.  I had never used it before, but I can’t imagine it would be that comfortable.  Still, it would be better than sleeping right on the cold ground.  We already know I hate spending money, so why not use something I already own?

That was the game plan all along during planning… and then I stumbled across this sleeping pad from TNH on Amazon…I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit - TNH Sleeping Pad


I’m no expert on sleeping pads, but the reviews were very good.  It’s self-inflating, rolls up pretty small, and weighs around 2 pounds.  And it was available on Amazon Prime Day for around $35.  That sounds like a good deal!!!

I don’t need it.

But, boy that would be better than the camping mat I have.

I don’t need it.

But, if I can’t sleep for the entire weekend because I’m truly uncomfortable, I’m going to be miserable for the trip and my back will hurt for a week.

I went back and forth in my head like this for a half-hour overthinking everything.

Nevertheless, I finally pulled the trigger.

And I’m glad I did.  I tried out the sleeping pad when I got it and it’s going to be exactly what I what I need for this trip.


So Why All the Guilt?

I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit - So Why All the Guilt?
If I looked like this when I felt guilty, you’d have no choice but to feel bad for me!

Good question.  Like I said, I can definitely use it and will like myself a lot more in the mornings after sleeping on it instead of the ground.

I probably wouldn’t have felt so guilty, but here’s why I was:

  • I have a sleeping mat I could have used.  Sure, it wouldn’t have been as comfortable, but I could have made it work without it being the end of the world.
  • This year we’ve taken more vacations than we’ve ever taken… Panama, Kelleys Island, Tennessee, and then we’re going back to Kelleys Island in a few more months.  To top that off, I have my first year at FinCon in October.  These costs add up, so I shouldn’t be frivolously spending.
  • We’ve been laser-focused on getting me out of the 9-5 job.  Every penny counts.  Moreover, every dollar that I spend could be growing in an investment elsewhere.

Still, what the #$%^ is wrong with me?!  It was $35 and I’m acting like I just went out and bought a new Beamer!


My Feelings Now?

I know I made the right move.  Yes, it was an added expense, but one I’ll appreciate on our backpacking trip.

Sometimes splurging and spending a few dollars is Ok… all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit - My Feelings Now?
Heeeeeere’s Johnny!!!

The important thing is that this isn’t the standard way of spending for us.  I guess a little guilt is a good thing since it keeps us in check and continuing down the right financial path.

Now it’s time to get back to focusing on quitting the 9-5 sooner rather than later!  🙂


Ok, maybe you didn’t buy a sleeping pad, but have you ever made a small purchase that made you feel guilty?


Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

15 thoughts on “I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit”

  1. Brilliant purchase, Jim! Feel no guilt.

    I spent ten years as an infantry Marine. Sleeping mats are AWESOME and a good one revolutionizes each morning spent in the wild. If it’s really good, it’s even useful as a emergency floatation device. This happened once during a flash storm in Afghanistan. I woke up from a dream of sailing and was confused to find myself floating in a large puddle.

    Good find!

  2. Yeah, no need to feel guilty! As I have gotten older I have realized that when it comes to my sleep and enjoying what will be happening during the day, it is WORTH IT to me to sleep as best as I can while I’m camping. I splurged on a Thermarest Luxury Map before a week-long car camping trip in May and I cannot tell you how incredibly gleeful I was to sleep so well that entire time. I have another Thermarest that is for backpacking but this Luxury Map is the Caddy of car-camping mats. AMAZING. I found it on sale for $85 when I think it’s normally $125 or so.

    I feel like if you buy something and feel bad about your purchase, you’re doing saving wrong. No one is judging you but yourself. There was a time a couple years ago when I told myself I would only get coffee while I was out doing my drop-ins if I had my thermos cup or something with me instead of getting a disposable cup. And so I’d be out doing dog walks (I’m a pet sitter) and would be hot and sweaty and want to get an iced coffee and would be like, “NO, Brittany. You don’t have your cup with you because you left it at home” and finally one day I was like, no one is making me feel bad about this but myself. I have enough other things in life that I could potentially feel bad about, why focus on this? And so from that point on I was gentle with myself. Firm when it came to super saving money and using reusable items, etc, but sometimes the world isn’t going to end if you spend $35 on a camping pad. You’re only making yourself neurotic and guilty and for what purpose?

    1. I’m not an expert in the outdoors gear arena, but everything I read pointed to the Thermarest mats being some top notch pads. Maybe if I become a regular, I’ll look at upgrading to one of those down the line. Nice job on finding the great deal on it!

      I’ve always been frugal, but with FIRE right around the corner, the guilt seems to jump out a little more recently. The good thing is that it keeps me in check. True, it might make me a little crazy occasionally, but if gets me to my end game faster, it’s hard to complain too much. 🙂

      — Jim

      1. Yeah, that makes sense that you might have a little more guilt right now! ;o) I get too caught up in my head and make myself crazy sometimes and it’s just not sustainable, lol. And I do save quite a bit of my income but there is always that push to just save a *little* more!

  3. Having the “a little guilt is a good thing” is what will keep you moving toward FIRE. I’ve felt the same way for small purchases but when it’s your health (your back/sleep in this case) – the spend is well worth it. If it was $100 or more – maybe not. We went to Allegheny a lot when we were kids. It’s just a few hours drive – but felt like a “big trip” each fall (usually over Columbus Day.) Glad you are preparing for it – that’s another place where many go wrong!

    1. Good point on the health factor, Vicki… I’m getting too old for sleeping on the ground!

      That sounds like some great trips you had – I loved the camping weekends we used to do as kids as well. Getting away from the regular day-to-day seems to always make for some great memories!

      — Jim

  4. Can’t say I blame you, I don’t like sleeping on the ground either.

    But yes, I feel guilty when I make silly little small purchases (and big ones). Sometimes it takes days to stop thinking about it.

    Mostly I feel guilty because I took the lazy way out and used money to solve a problem. Usually I can solve my problems with far less money than usual if I take my time and think.

    Amazon had that ticking clock on purpose.

  5. Yeap, no need to feel guilty. We’re entitled to some luxuries as we get older, right?
    I can’t sleep on the hard ground anymore either.
    Now, I just need to convince myself to get a new mattress. Our old memory foam isn’t that great anymore…

  6. My grandparents used to live in Tionesta PA so I went to Allegheny National Forest quite a few times as a kid. Love it, beautiful area. I hope you have a great trip and sleep well!!

    Purchases that I regret are often clothing. I don’t buy clothing often, but I have very little sense of fashion. What looks great in the store looks terrible at home. Thankfully my husband is actually pretty good at it. Now I just take him with me. He is OK with that as he enjoys shopping more than I do.

    1. I hear ya on the clothing regrets… I’m horrible at that stuff as well. That’s interesting how you guys have the roles reversed from the norm in the fashion side of things. It sounds like it works out well for you two!

      — Jim

  7. After reading this, I was feeling a bit guilty for buying a $100 sleeping pad. I do backpack way more often that you do. A good sleep is a must when you have 4-5 day backpacking trips. Just like you, my wife and I are laser- focused on financial Independence. So we only spend our money on experiences like travel, hiking, and camping. So I guess, it was a good buy after all. Great read!

    1. Haha, you definitely shouldn’t feel guilty about a $100 sleeping pad as a regular backpacker. My guilt stupidly stemmed from it being for what so far has been a one-time trip. The good news is that I loved it and it worked out fantastic for the trip we took. I like your priorities, Steve – spend money on the stuff that’s at the top of your list and cut the @#$ out of all the rest! 🙂

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