This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
One thing that has saved me a lot of money over the past few years is slowing down my addiction on the newest “thing”. I haven’t stopped wanting the new iPhone 4s, or an iPad (or a myriad of other exciting new toys) I have just stopped buying as many. My television is a 75 pound monstrosity that I bought about 8 years ago. There are significantly nicer (and better) televisions out there, but mine works fine and I don’t really watch it enough to warrant the purchase of a new one. The same thing goes for my cell phone – I would really like a new iPhone, but for what I use my cell phone for – texting, checking Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail at work, my 2-year old Palm Pre works fine.
The problem when you start buying new gadgets is when do you stop? Do you (for example) upgrade your cell phone every 6 months to a year when a newer or better model comes out? Do you continuously upgrade your computer in order to keep up with the best graphics out there to play games?
Sometimes, I’ll give in and upgrade some of my “toys” I sold my ipod touch (second generation) and bought a used 4th generation ipod from kijiji, the difference being around $100. I tend to “allow” myself to upgrade if I will get enough use from the new gadget. I listen to my iPod anywhere between 8 and 12 hours a day, so the $100 seemed to make sense at the time. Most times though, I seem to want the newest toy just to have it and will not get enough use out of it to make the cost worthwhile.
I think the bottom line for me is to be satisfied with what I have – I make sure that when I make a purchase, or in the case of a cell phone sign a contract I acknowledge at the time that this purchase is for the long-term and I need to be able to use the item for a set period of time. Where I (and most people) get in trouble is when you look at your toy and look at someone else’s and you go back to your 7-year old jealous self who wants the newest stuff. The problem with being an adult is that you can usually afford the newest toy, or sign a 3-year contract costing you a measly $55 + tax for 3 years (over $2,000 for a term) and you can have that toy.
What’s your policy for buying new toys for yourself? Do you just not buy them, or how do you fit them into your budget? Admittedly, this whole conversation is completely a “first world problem” – I’m sure there are many people in the world and North America that don’t even think about cell phones, tablets and other things that really have no use other than entertainment. These toys and the decision whether or not to buy them is a constant battle as it is an addiction to shiny gadgets, which I think I share with most people.