Breaking the Endless Upgrade Cycle

Alright I admit it. I used to be obsessive about technology toys. In my younger days I wanted the fastest computer and the coolest new gadget. At one point I would have been already buying a Blu-ray player and getting the next generation DVD’s. Now I just don’t care.

Why? Simple, I’ve realized the marginal increases in performance only produce marginal degrees of happiness, so I’m often spending my money on other things than new toys that are only a step removed from my last one. That’s not to say I don’t spend money on new toys, I’m just much more selective about what I buy.

For example, I bought a wide screen format LCD flat panel TV last year and I love it. Why? Because almost every movie I own in wide screen format. So buying a TV for that improved my happiness with watching my movies dramatically. Yet going to a Blu-ray player right now seems excessive to me. I personally don’t notice a huge difference to my happiness watching a movie on blu-ray versus a DVD (and yes I’ve watched something in high definition so I do know what I’m missing).

So how do you stop the endless upgrade cycle? You decide on each case, is this really a useful upgrade for me. In some cases it might be worth the money, yet most of the time we just do it without much thought to why and is it worth it.  Another method used by many is putting items on a 30 day wait list.  This forces you to determine if you sort of want it or REALLY want it.

The result of doing this myself has been interesting.  For example, my desktop computer has a LCD monitor (I like having the extra room on my desk) but runs Word 97 (it’s word processing folks – you can’t improve all that much between editions).

So how do you handle the endless upgrade cycle and what do you love the most about your toys?

4 thoughts on “Breaking the Endless Upgrade Cycle”

  1. We must be on the same wavelength b/c I have a post coming up about “gadgets”. I admit that i’m a gadget geek.

    What I try to do is not buy the “top of the line”, but good products that I would use often that are dropping in price due to “next gen” products being released.

  2. I always wait until I can buy it off the ‘bleeding edge’. As I get older and take a larger interest in personal finances, the desire to get gadgets decreases. Having a spouse who doesn’t care about the latest gadgets will also decrease that ‘desire’.

  3. While I like my “toys”, something I recommend is lagging behind the technology cycle by a few years. By that time, the technology is much more commonplace and affordable. In many cases, you can buy items on clearance or second-hand that were cutting-edge a few years ago .

    As an example, I do not currently own a HDTV. I will likely purchase one in the next two to three years. The technology will hopefully stabilize by that time, i.e. 1080p, and should be much more affordable.

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