I Just Made the Biggest Impulse Purchase of My Life (but It’s OK)

Yesterday I did something I rarely ever do: I threw all caution to the wind and, as a result, I made the biggest spur-of-the-moment purchase of my entire life.

Believe it or not, I spent $2462.35 on a pair of tickets to see a hockey game.

Yep; I splurged. So sue me.

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

Okay, to be fair they aren’t tickets for just any hockey game, they’re tickets for a National Hockey League playoff game — arguably the greatest championship tournament in all of sports.

Even better, the tickets are for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals; a game where my team, the Los Angeles Kings, has an opportunity to actually close out the series on their home ice and capture the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 45-year history.

Oh yeah, you bet I’m excited!

Anyway, as soon as I pulled the trigger and parted with all that hard-earned money, StubHub sent me an email to explain “what happens next.”

And while the good folks at StubHub deftly described the remaining steps I had to complete in order to receive my newly-purchased tickets, they failed to mention anything about the mental hangover I eventually ended up with after it sunk in that I really spent $2462.35 for two nosebleed seats at a hockey game.

That’s the equivalent of four mortgage payments, you moron.

Yes, it is.

It really didn’t matter, though, because I paid for those tickets using savings from our household’s “mad money” fund, which we tap whenever we want to take advantage of unexpected “pop-up” opportunities like last-minute vacations and once-in-a-lifetime sporting events.

It’s easy to keep a fairly well-funded “mad money” account when you live well below your means, as the Honeybee and I do. That’s really not so hard for us, primarily because we live in a very modest home compared to what we can afford, and we avoid car payments by driving the same cars we bought back in 1997 and 2001.

As a long-suffering Los Angeles Kings fan, I’ve lived and died with this team my whole life. I’ve been to more Kings’ hockey games than I can count, including the one back in 1994 at the Fabulous Forum when Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd goal to break Gordie Howe’s record for most goals scored in a career.

I was also at the Forum for Game 3 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. That happened to be the only other time the Kings made it to the finals. For what it’s worth, after the Kings fell behind, 3-0, they stormed back to tie the score — only to lose the game in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens, 4-3, on a goal by John LeClair barely a half-minute into the extra period. The Kings went on to lose that series in 5 games.

For the record, I paid $550 for two similar nosebleed seats to that game, which is equivalent to about $880 today. That’s significantly less than what I paid for this year’s game, although there is obviously a lot more at stake with the Kings having the rare opportunity to actually hoist the Stanley Cup in front of 18,118 long-suffering hometown fans — including me.

Of course, if that’s going to happen, the Kings will have to beat the New Jersey Devils one more time.

If the Kings don’t win Game 4 I’ll certainly be disappointed, but I won’t have any regrets. After all, they’ll still have three more chances to bring the Stanley Cup to Los Angeles.

I’ll just have to watch the remainder of the series on television like everyone else.

Photo Credit: Cup Canal


  1. 2

    James says

    That is CRAZY. First of all it’s a lot of money. Secondly, the Kings stink.
    Worth every penny though. That’s a great opportunity as you probably won’t see the Kings in the cup final for another generation. As a Leafs fan(and I’m calling you crazy and telling you your team stinks?) I can commiserate with your long wait for a cup, but I still hate you all for 1993. That was a high stick dammit!!! Kerry Fraser you idiot!!

    Have a great time.

  2. 3

    joe pfautz says

    as one of the millionares next door this ia a dumb purchase buy a flat screen and watch it at home.

  3. 4

    BettyMN says

    Good for you!
    Life’s experiences are well worth the price. Financial security and the ability to live your dreams- you have it all – Go Kings!

  4. 5

    Steve says

    I bet that was hard for you to admit but I wish I was in your position to be able to make that kind of purchase. This is a great example of why going into debt limits your future choices. Your lack of debt afforded you the ability to do what most people couldn’t. Enjoy the game Len. Your hard work and financial sacrifices that got you to be in this position just paid a few dividends.

  5. 7


    Hope they win for your sake. If not I’m sure you’ll still have a blast, though you’ll probably question whether it was $2400 worth afterward if there’s no Cup being hoisted.

    My similar purchase never quite happened. When the Tigers made the World Series in 2006, I somehow was able to snag two tickets for game 7 for around $750 total. Sadly, they never got past game 5 so I ended up getting most of the money refunded. Not a possibility for you :)

  6. 8

    Allyn says

    Good for you, Len. Have a good time. :) Personally, if all professional sports disappeared from the face of the earth, I wouldn’t even notice; but that’s just me. I can’t even remember my last impulse buy unless you count the last time I bought a Reeses at the check-out counter of the supermarket. Don’t feel bad for spending the money. What’s a “Mad Money” fund for if not to occasionally say, “I saw, I wanted, I bought.” It’s not something you normally do, and we all have to do something crazy once in a while.

  7. 9

    nansuelee says

    Have a great time! You have done things right and as Steve said it is a great example for the rest of us as to why we should live below our means so we can take advantage of rare opportunities! I hope they win!!

  8. 11


    First of all, I had a pretty good laugh about the comment above where the guy said the Kings stink. Leafs fans sure can be delusional. With the run the Kings are on, I’m pretty sure they will close out the series and win the cup tonight. It is a lot of money to spend on a few hours of entertainment, but it is possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity and the memories will last forever.

    I do hope they sweep them cause it will make me feel better as a Canucks fan. Then we can at least say we won a single game against the team that dominated the playoffs.

    Enjoy the game Len!

  9. 14


    It is a lot but it sounds like it’s worth it to you – all that matters. :-) Have a kick ass time!!! Oh, and never beat yourself up…Mr. BFS and I are leaving a $750 mortgage payment with taxes (we’ll be renting it out for $1200) for a $2000 one with taxes and everything just because we want a McMansion down the street…so, your splurge is hardly anything. :-)

  10. 15

    Oscar says

    Wow, interesting to see you brag about a purchase that indicates you are a 1%er on a blog targeted towards budgeting and fiscally responsibility for the 99%.

    LOL, Just messing with you. Maybe.

  11. 16

    Michael in SoCal says

    It’s your mad money to do with as you please Len, so enjoy the game tonight. I too am hoping to watch the Kings win tonight (at home), after following them through their last Stanley Cup debacle (what McSorley was doing with that stick I’ll never know). Gretzky’s goal # 802 was a 21st birthday memory for me, and I remember watching the Purple & Gold at the Forum from my early years.

    GO KINGS! Bring the Stanley Cup to LA. Tonight preferably, to make the impulse buy totally worth it!

  12. 18


    As a fellow Angeleno, I too am a fan, although I have trouble watching the game. It is a little too fastand the puck is so small on TV. So I watch and switch away and come back. I am still routing for them to win though. As far as the amount of money, it is an expereince that you probably will remember forever!

  13. 23

    Len Penzo says

    Thanks everyone, for the words of encouragement.

    The Kings lost 3-1 last night so, unfortunately, there was no Stanley Cup celebration last night. But the Honeybee and I had a GREAT time anyway. The game was a real nail-biter all evening long and (for the most part) remained tied until the final four minutes.

    We had a lot of fun, met a lot of great people, and enjoyed the party atmosphere and pregame festivities outside the Staples Center at LA Live.

    As expected, I’m extremely disappointed we couldn’t enjoy a post-game celebration last night, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

    If the Kings are fortunate enough to get to the Stanley Cup Finals again next year, I’ll probably be going again. So I guess I better start saving now!

    As for this season, hope springs eternal — the Kings still have three more chances to win one game and take the Stanley Cup — but I’ll be watching the rest of the series on TV.

    • 24

      Michael in SoCal says

      Onto game five. Happy for you that you got to go and enjoy the game and the environment. Bring the Stanley Cup to LA in 2012!! GO KINGS!!

  14. 25


    I can’t completely rag on you because I totally would purchase 2 Steelers tickets if the occasion arose. Also, I find your car comment quite interesting because my car has had its second issue in the last week and it is my BELOVED HOOPTY – 1991 Buick Century. So I may have to “splurge” on a new set of wheels and give up my cheap as dirt monthly car insurance payments. Best of luck with your purchase my friend!

  15. 26


    I do believe I’m detecting a bit of budget guilt. :) Even here, there’s still a tendency to associate budgeting with withholding of life’s pleasures. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel it necessary to lay the groundwork of how your splurge is budgeted lest you be painted as a spendthrift.

    Would I spend over 2 grand on tickets to a game? No, but then I’m not that in to sports. On the other hand, I know people who easily spent that kind of money every year traveling to Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions like Comic-Con in San Diego or DragonCon in Atlanta, and they weren’t nearly as careful with their budget as you are.

    Have fun!

    • 28

      Len Penzo says

      … and it would have been one HUGE celebration had it happened. Dang. My eyes are tearing up just thinking about what could have been! Hopefully, I can watch the Kings celebrate from afar on Saturday for Game 5.


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