I am not a huge video game player, but I really do like turn-based strategy games. I was very excited when a new game,Civilization 5, came out about a month ago . I bought the game, got home with it and found out that my computer was too old to play it.
I bought my computer in April of 2007, which replaced a very old model that had gotten me through University. At the time it was a top-of-the-line custom-built model put together by a local company, but now for computer games it is essentially obsolete. It seems like a waste to replace a computer that does everything that I want it to do, other than playing games (even though it’s a game I would really like to play). I returned the game the next day for a refund, as I hadn’t opened it before comparing the system requirements to what was inside my computer. If I wanted to play the game, it would cost around $500 to upgrade which seems pricey for just a game.
I think most electronics work this way – with the rate of change seen something that’s top of the line this month pales in comparison to the next generation technology that comes out. I have a relative who continues to buy televisions every 8-12 months in the search for the next biggest and best models. They are always shopping and constantly feeling buyer’s remorse comparing what’s hanging on their wall now and what they could have bought now.
Personally (over the past couple of years), I’ve taken to waiting and being satisfied with the spending decisions I have made. With the computer game example, I may have to wait a few years to play it, but I will eventually have a computer with enough power, and by then the game will probably cost about 50% less than it does now. With video games, I wait for a year or two after they come out and buy them at 1/3 of the original cost – this works well for me right now because I really don’t have a ton of time to play and have “fallen behind” on games that I normally would have played as they came out.
With electronics, I’m more willing to be a generation or so behind. My television is around 7 years old, a 36-inch widescreen tubed monstrosity that weighs approximately 80 lbs and has been a pain to move the 3 times it was needed. I’d like something newer, but the one I own is working fine and it seems like a waste of money that could be spent somewhere else.
One thing that I do get excited for and will buy new in the first week are books, especially books that I know my public library will either not get, such as Jacob Fisker’s “Early Retirement Extreme — A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence “ or the newest book in a fantasy series that I have been for over a year to come out (The Wheel of Time if anyone’s interested – I’d highly recommend the series if you’re into that sort of thing). These things I won’t wait for, but amount to only 3 or 4 purchases a year.
Do you go for the cool toys? Are you constantly upgrading your gadgets to get the newest or best? Do you have any “policies” on these type of purchases?