People have gone mad in the past weeks with the new iPhone version release. I know people in my country who can’t afford it, but are willing to get into debt just to sport a new gadget when they go out in the city. Not to mention that data plans are NOT cheap in Romania, but who cares?
Some make fun already of my old LG Cookie phone I got 3-4 years ago. It’s scratched, ‘uncool’, but it stills works like a charm. And my non-data monthly plan for the mobile phone services is just 3 Euro.
Do you think about how much it costs to keep up with the trends?
I used to work at a friend of mine. She had an advertising business and I was the designer there and would also do some small management tasks. She and her husband liked to have the LATEST phones. When Nokia released something new, they’d go and pay a truckload of money for it. Then, 2 months later, as LG for instance released a new cool phone, they’d sell their phones as ‘second-hand’ gadgets (at a fraction of the initial price) and spend more money on the new phones.
They were both being supported by his father, who’d just ‘bleed’ money into all their whims and not ask questions. I was supporting my family and trying to make a living. And, to be honest, just knowing how much money I could have wasted like this, makes me cringe.
First I thought we’re poor. Then I realized we’re doing what a normal person would.
When I was a kid we weren’t doing too well money wise. My folks had invested all their money and efforts in my education, so we didn’t have too much left for ‘luxury’. Back then I was ashamed. I had to wear my jeans till they ripped, my shoes would be worn until they didn’t look too good anymore, our TV set, fridge and everything were older than me.
Then I grew up and started earning MY money. I tried to make sure we have everything we need (from a new car to all the things a household needs). I replaced the TV with a new ‘flat’ one, we have a new fridge, washing machine etc. All new, all of excellent quality. I even got myself a lot of things I wouldn’t normally need, wanted so badly: a camcorder, a DSLR, a tablet, 2 laptops (small and big) etc. Even a new phone when I felt the other one wasn’t working properly anymore.
But I don’t try to keep up with any trends.
My car is 4 years old. Looks new, smells great, runs excellent. I’ll probably drive it for at least 10 more years. I don’t care there’s a new Corsa released this year, so my model is ‘older’. It’s a great car and I took very good care of it. I don’t plan on sinking thousands of dollars just to be cool.
My laptops are 2 years old and my better half keeps on nagging me to replace them with new ones. Do they work? Yep. OK, then we keep them. My first laptop lasted for 6 years. It paid for our meals, my car (partially), my business taxes etc. I let it go when it was no longer safe to work with it. Surely, it was severely outdated as specs are concerned, but it did a great job. I plan on using this one at least for 2 more years, even if I could replace it at any time.
Same with my DSLR camera. I own a Nikon D5100 which I LOVE so much. It’s one year old and again, the better half tried to convince me to get a new one. As long as it’s working, I don’t plan on using anything else.
The phone is a similar story. My last one didn’t charge properly anymore and was doing a lot of ‘weird’ stuff. Since communication is actually important, I decided to get a new one, pretty cheap even at that time. It works great. Sure, most bloggers and people who work online laugh at me for not being ‘cool’. I don’t even have ‘internet’ on my phone, as if I needed it. A phone to me is just a phone, so I don’t plan on wasting money on something I actually don’t need.
The iPhone release showed again how different most of us think. Many people who are now getting ready to pay top dollar for a phone that’s not really revolutionary from the latest version do have an iPhone 4S for instance, which cost them a small fortune in 2011. And, even if it’s perfectly functional and could last them at least 3-4 years, they’re willing to sell them for crap dollar, just to buy a new version and brag about it.
Since being my own ‘boss’ I started being more careful with my spending. I have invested a lot of money in our travels, since they’re far from being cheap. But I’d rather have our experiences and the amazing things we learned all this time, than ‘block’ hundreds of Euro in a phone that doesn’t make me happy, since I won’t ever use it at its fullest capacity.
So I choose to be the weirdo who doesn’t buy a new phone, just because the entire world is raving about it.
How about you? Do you like to keep up with the Joneses or just don’t care? Should an object be used until it needs replacing or should we not miss all these new gadgets?