A Lesson In Value: Loving the Idea More Than The Reality

fire pit, loving the idea, backyard fire pit

I found myself at a big box hardware store over the weekend, looking at materials to build a fire pit in my backyard. Others in the neighborhood have semi-permanent fire pits built with rocks, patio blocks, and even concrete. They look really cool, and we’ve enjoyed sitting around a fire with neighbors roasting marshmallows and shooting the breeze on numerous occasions. A few years ago we even purchased a metal fire pit that we use on our patio every now and then.

We thought we wanted to drop some cash on building a fire pit in our backyard. Then we saw how much it would cost.

At first, the cost seemed fairly reasonable. We just needed a metal fire ring, and some patio blocks to put around it. It would look nice, and the cost was about $170. Then we got the idea of  constructing a paver stone circle around for chairs to sit on. That added another $350 to the cost. The employee then told us that they don’t cut the blocks for us, so if we wanted a circle, we would need to rent a wet saw and cut them ourselves.

The cost, and the use of an unfamiliar power tool had us re-evaluating whether a fire pit was really a good use of our money.

Fire Frequency

My wife and I tried to think of how many fires we had last year. We both remembered two.

The Smoke

One of the reasons we don’t have fires very often is because my wife likes to close all the house windows to prevent smoke from going into the house. That means that regardless of how nice it is outside, we can’t sleep with the windows open because the fire will usually smoulder over night.

The Worry Of Fire

My wife never sleeps well the nights we have a fire. Despite dousing the fire with water, she worries about it flaring up and spreading, eventually leading to our home catching fire.

We’re Not Fire People

We realized we were prepared to drop over $500, and a ton of do it yourself effort to build a fire pit in our backyard that we would seldom use. We had fallen into infatuation with the idea of having a fire pit, but the reality was we are not fire pit kind of people.

A fire pit would not be a good use of our money.


Image courtesy of franky242 at

We walked out of the hardware store sincerely believing we had avoided wasting a fairly large chunk of money. We all do this from time to time. At a specific moment, we love the idea of having or doing something, but when we actually execute on it the result is very different.

Have you ever bought something because you simply like the idea of having it, only to find out it was a financial mistake? How much did it cost you?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • We are building a new home and when shopping for the fireplace, we happened upon fire pits at the same store. They instantly appealed to us and we considered for a long time where to put it, whether to do a log or gas pit etc. Eventually, we came to our senses and decided that for the most part we would not sit around the pit and it probably was just something we wanted that the neighbors might not have. We set aside that elitist idea and plan to spend the $2000 on something we will use much more frequently.

  • @Clarisse – as a person who runs 5 times a week and is training for a marathon right now, your comment makes me wince. LOL. I can understand it though…..the best laid intentions and all that – you bought something because you wanted to become something that maybe you aren’t quite ready for.

  • @Kathy – $2000!!! Now I know how much (approximately) it would cost if we hired someone to build it instead of doing it ourselves. 🙂 Glad to hear you discovered the same thing I did before it was too late!

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