Alternatives,  FIRE,  Life

My Worst Financial Decision So Far

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Dear all.

Don’t buy a house with a pool.

That is all.

No really, the financial cost of owning a pool far outweighs the derived benefit.

Seriously, how many times are you going to be swimming? And no child’s laughter is worth having one damnit!

OK so I might be feeling ranty tonight cos it’s ticked over midnight and I’ve just finished “fixing” our pool pump.

Rather I came home around 9ish to the sound of a staccato of noise you would not believe.

I thought it was an odd hour for the neighbours to be using a chainsaw… until I realized the sound was suspiciously close to our backyard.

“Oh, it’s the pool man – don’t worry I found him on Airtasker”.

Turns out, it was the pool pump sucking in air because get this… there wasn’t enough water in the pool.

Of course, I didn’t know this at the time, being a first-time pool owner – so cue mild panic, I tried desperately to turn the bloody thing off.

Thing is, I couldn’t find the “off’ switch.

“Cue face palm”.

Who woulda known the issue was because I had to add some more H20!

Then it got me thinking, it’s been over 3 weeks since we have settled into the new place – and I’ve jumped in the pool, what, once, maybe twice?

But the amount of time and effort required to maintain it, not to mention the cost of liquid chlorine, ph stabilizers, algaecides and other assorted knick-knacks has surely ticked over beyond what is reasonable.

Couple that with the ELECTRICITY and WATER bills which are yet to come…

Which led me to do some research, which led to this blogpost.

Cost of Pool Installation

In Australia, swimming pools can vary from the el cheapo inflatable version for a couple of hundred bucks, to some fully-hectic-bro pools costing well over SIX figures.

Watching The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – you’re doing it right.

It all depends on the size, depth, shape, material and style.

A typical in-ground pool, costs anywhere between $25,000 – $45,000.

Thank fook we did not install this sucker, would probably drown myself… oh wait, the water level is too low for that.

Pool Equipment and Maintenance

Of course, you need to have the proper maintenance and equipment required to keep the pool clean, and with a salt-water pool like ours, to properly balance the ph levels.

This can be tricky because you could get a standard pump for a few hundred, or one with all the bells and whistles in the thousands.

I checked our model, and it costs an eye-watering $1,051 brand new.

Then you have all the other accessories. Y’know the chlorine and ph balancers, pool nets, filters et al.


A word of advice, don’t buy a pool with trees next to it.

And certainly don’t buy a pool with trees OVERHANGING it.

That’s the scenario we are facing. We’ve got quotes, and are looking around $5kish all up to cut down multiple trees in our front and backyards.

Worst nightmare. Note the rubber ducky just chillin’.
Pool Cover

Again, this one isn’t necessary but it’s definitely nice to have.

With all the leaves and branches dropping into our pool, a pool cover was high on our agenda.

MrsFrugalSamurai was in charge of this one, she sourced a decent one for a couple of hundred dollars – which is far better than the mechanized state-of-the-art premium $8,000 she was quoted for another, which was “cheaper than the $12,000 one”.

Pool Heating

Now we come to the nitty gritty end, and one which we “gulp” have yet to fork out on.

For heated pools, it really depends on what you’re running. As a very rough guide:

With solar, expect to pay $100-200 p.a.

Electric heating costs around $250-$750 p.a.

Gas costs anywhere from $500-$1,500.

Pool Pumps

The biggest killer I think, has got to be the ongoing electricity costs to run the pool pump and chlorinator.

As a very rough guide, the pump is around $0.25-$0.50 per HOUR. And the chlorinator works out to be around $0.04-$0.07 per HOUR.

During summer, we were recommended to turn it on for at least 6 hours, and at least 2 hours during winter.

So that works out to be around $800-$1,000 p.a.

Just look at this… W T F is going on.

And of course, the biggest factor for me, is time.

Time spent cleaning and maintaining the pool.

Time which you can never, ever get back.

Sure you could hire someone, but there’s a cost right there.

Although, to be honest – I have this weird liking to cleaning out the leaves using the pool rake.

It’s almost meditative and kinda zen-like with the back and forth motions… so I actually don’t mind it too much.


To be fair, MrsFrugalSamurai was never for buying a house with a pool in the first place.

It was I who championed this idea.

I’d thought going for a swim after a long hard day at work, or just frolicking with MrsFrugalSamurai would be quite nice.

And the dream would be to teach MiniFrugalSamurai how to swim in our own backyard.


Boy oh boy… if you saw me panicked and flustered just then, fumbling in the dark with the trusty torchlight from the old iphone6 running out of juice, sweat perspiring whilst the mozzies had a field day, turning the pump over and over (pretty sure I broke it) and stepping through all sorts of nasty critters…

Well, it just doesn’t seem worth it does it?

MiniFrugalSamurai or no MiniFrugalSamurai.

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  • Aussie Minimalist Doc

    Didn’t want to burst your bubble when I initially saw a pool in your new house update. It is probably my number 1 deal-breaker for a home 😉 Just make sure no frogs jump in, lay hundreds of eggs that turn into tadpoles which proceed to clog up the pump. It’s a real problem.

  • Steveark

    Just join a health, tennis or golf club with a pool for the ages your kids actually want to go to the pool, which won’t be all that many years. That way they have others to play with and the maintenance is someone else’s problem. At least that’s what we did and since we were also tennis players it turned out to be basically free to us.

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