Gadget Junky

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.

8 thoughts on “Gadget Junky”

  1. I have a weakness for gadgets as well… getting better in the last few years. I have an Ipod Touch that is four years old now – but the new Ipads make me weak in the kness when I see them in Best Buy. MUST. BE. STRONG.

    A Slingbox was a recent purchase though – a miracle device that let’s me watch and control my home PVR while I am anywhere in the world. Amazing.

  2. our tv is kind of large also. My husband has been wanting to replace it and I’ve been resisting. I think we’ve compromised that we’ll save for a new tv and keep this one until it breaks.

    Other than that, I’m not much for gadgets. I don’t know where my ipod is. I’m hesitant to get a tablet. My phone is pretty fancy(my touch) but I don’t visualize myself upgrading. When it breaks/contract ends I’ll probably downgrade to a simpler plan and a simpler phone.

  3. one other thing. . . we don’t spend a lot of time in stores where they sell these gadgets. A lot of the pressure comes from tv ads and coworkers. I think if people can avoid the advertising and the status-symbol toting friends, they’d feel less of a need to constantly upgrade.

  4. For me, it’s easy to avoid because I don’t like to change something when I know all the ins and outs of how to work what I’ve got. It’s the “devil I know”. I’m still regretting my switch from the old BB to the new HTC Incredible. Totally miss that BB keyboard. Also miss my 14 y.o. old jeep that got totaled 2 years ago. Have to say that the (new to me) SUV I bought this year is definitely going to be a long and loving relationship though.

  5. Cellphones have no allure for me… I’m a luddite in that respect.

    Our HDTV is a 180 lb CRT monster bought circa 2000 because the flat panels were not quite ready for primetime back then. I look at some of the newer models and am tempted, but this space-heater-in-disguise is still going strong.

    Computers… limit myself to a new one every three years.

    Tools can be a weakness for me, but I think I’ve got all the tools I want. Now it’s a matter of trading out ones which no longer meet needs for ones that do.

  6. No interest in getting a cell phone, Ipod, Ipad, or blackberry. My car has manual windows, the ones you operate with a crank, just like the ones in all the card I ever rode in growing up.

    My last VCR died a year ago and I have not replaced it. Yup, I’m a Luddite, but one who is retired for 3 years when I was 45.

  7. Usually… I’ll keep using my gadget until it either doesn’t work at all anymore (TV or cell phone) or if it cannot perform the tasks I need it to (computer that can’t handle certain functions).
    I have found that my cell phone usually stops working just after the end of my contract, at which time I’ll shop around for the best contract at the time and get a “free” phone in exchange for a 3 year commitment.
    I have an Ipod Shuffle (first generation, when the only color was silver) that was a gift to me that I use in addition to the MP3 player that is on my phone.
    I’ve convinced myself that I can’t have most things with touch screens, as I have long fingernails, and just can’t use them :/ (yes, I have “tried” to get used to them, not happening)

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