I can’t calculate how much money I must have saved through the years by not needing the newest technology.
I learned my lesson a long time ago. I wasn’t even twenty. I bought a VCR. Yup. And VCRs were the new thing. That was back when they had the Betamax—which was a far superior type of video recorder and player, however Sony, the owner, refused to license their product to other companies. When the VCR brand did, the various companies could easily lower their prices.
But that hadn’t happened yet.
I was so addicted to television, plus I liked collecting movies, I had to have one. And I had to have it now. It cost me about $1200. I used an Online Inflation Calculator, that calculates that would be about $3465 today.
I had no business spending that kind of money when I was that age. I bought it.
And soon the prices were dropping. A lot.
If I had only waited a few years I wouldn’t have had to spend nearly that much.
I don’t regret it. But it did open my eyes.
I was watching a Sprint commercial today and it talked about how if you joined this certain plan it made sure you got the newest phone every time it was updated. Like this was a some big hairy deal. But then I thought about people I know who do absolutely have to have the newest phone.
What is so fripping important??
I’ll step back a few years to flat screen televisions. When they started coming out they were thousands of dollars. I stuck with my old big-assed-take-a-lot-of-room television.
And then it happened. One of those flat screens that at one time was going for something like three thousand dollars was on sale at Wal-Mart for less that four hundred dollars! All because the technology has changed. It used to be LEDs and now it’s something else. Or visa versa, I don’t know.
“But see,” my old supervisor said, “after about five or ten years little pieces burn out on the screen and you have a bad picture! This new technology doesn’t do that!”
This is what I asked: “So how often does the average television last before it starts to go bad? Isn’t it about five to ten years?”
He paused. He nodded. “I guess….”
“So you’ve had your three thousand dollar flat screen about two or three years?”
“And there haven’t been any burnout sections yet?”
He paused. Shook his head. “Ah, no.”
“So if you wait a few more years, until that happens, won’t the price of this newest technology start to go down? Because there will be something new?”
He admitted I was right.
And then he went out that weekend and bought the new flat screen. And admitted he was addicted to technology.
I am so happy that I am not addicted to the new technology. It stuns me that even when my writer friends, who are brilliant, must have the NEW iPhone, often when the last one isn’t even paid for yet.
“But this one has more pixels on the camera!” or “This one has a better battery. It lasts four minutes longer.” or “But then new one is five ounces lighter and that’s a lot!”
I just bought my very first android phone a little over a year ago. It cost me fifty dollars and my monthly limitless minutes calling plan is $45. Sometimes I can’t get reception. People with the newest iPhone raise a knowing eyebrow, give me a slight smirk, and say, “What do you think now, Mr. Smartie Ben?”
I think I did fine for my long life of not having a cell phone at all—just like mankind did for thousands and thousand of years. I think that if my phone isn’t quite as good as their phone that I am still pretty amazingly blessed to have a divise that allows me to make calls at all, AND, lets me link to the Internet pretty much whenever I want. I think I am so blessed it is mind-boggling. And I am betting Surya Das, the little Indian boy that I sponsor, doesn’t have a cell phone (along with not having a bedroom, running water, or a bathroom) and I bet he doesn’t care.
I guess we all spend out money on the extravagances we like best. And that’s okay. I know a lot of people who would just stare at me blankly because I had to buy the new Stephen King in hardcover. They would wonder why I didn’t just get the ebook or wait a few months and get it at Half Price Books for a lot less. Or hell, they’d wonder why I would even read a book let alone buy one!
So we all have our differences and doesn’t that make the Universe beautiful?
In the meantime I am grateful that I myself don’t need the newest technology. I wonder at the thousand and thousands and thousands of dollars I’ve saved.
And nod to you and say I am happy for you that you have what you want.
The Universe really is a perfect place.