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autarch (914)

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Journal of autarch (914)

Wednesday May 01, 2002
12:50 AM

What am I missing here?

[ #4569 ]

So I've been reading journals for a while and I notice an awful lot of people talking about making what I consider rather big-ticket purchases such as expensive PDAs like the Zaurus ($500), new laptops ($1500+), etc.

And they talk about them like they're at least somewhat impulse buys. "Sure, I have a laptop but that one year newer model is irresistable."

So how the heck can they afford this? I made a fairly good income last year (more than $50k but less than $100k) but I _still_ have a lot of debt to deal with. Part of that debt is because I got married last year and my wife had been a full time student almost all of her life until last April, and had racked up a bit of credit card and student loan debt. The other part is because until recently we ate out a lot, bought lots of DVDs, and so on.

But I never bought really expensive items without serious forethough. The last big purchase I made was a DVD player back in the fall, and that was under $300. Before that I had bought a new desktop for under $1000 back in the summer.

So what are these people doing that I'm not?

Maybe they have very low expenses cause they live in shack and pay no rent. Or they never eat out cause I know that can burn through serious cash. Or maybe they're just racking up credit card debt like crazy.

Hey, crazy impulse buyers (you know who you are), tell me what you're doing that lets you have that much available cash for "pleasure" purchases. If there's a way to do that I'd be happy to know what it is.

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  • We struggle to make ends meet every month. But there's a reason. During my high flying dotcom days we bought a house, a much larger house than I would have otherwise.

    I have friends who make the same amount as I do who always say things like "I hope my new TiBook has been delivered when I get home." When I'm happy with my Thinkpad 600 (p2/266).

    The other piece, at least for me, is that I have two kids with one on the way. They are Dual Income No Kids.

  • Are very infrequent. I went completely banannas in January and bought a two laptops: one for myself, and one for my brother. But I was still somewhat restrained: I bought refurbished ibooks.

    I eat out too much, but I'm changing that. I don't have any debt at all, so I can afford an impulse buy once in awhile. I try to always sit on an idea for awhile until I feel comfortable spending the money, and I always call up my father and ask his advice so he can talk me out of it. :) So while I have impulses a

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • Last fall I bought a laptop, my first ever. I was really tempted by the $1500-vicinity models, but I ended up getting a $1000 Toshiba Satellite, and I am extremly pleased with it. I wiped XP off its 20Mb hd and installed SuSE Linux, and it does everything I want it to. I figure, for an extra $500 I get -- what? A DVD burner and another 100 MHz of cpu? No thanks.
  • I'm convinced that most folks are digging themselves into serious pits of debt. (Not me, though.) Staggering debt is the American way, apparently.

    It's not just new electronic gizmos. I'm looking at all the McMansions going up, and all the Lincoln Navigators, etc. Now, certainly there are some well-paid lawyers, CEO's, etc. But not THAT many. I think it's debt, pure and simple.

  • Mostly impulses seem to fall into the second category, so if you can ride out that initial urge, perspective takes care of the rest.

    Maybe that's why my after-hours support from home is *still* being done at 33.6k on a P-100, I dunno... or maybe just my impluses happen on things other than technology.

    Other "money eaters":
    Credit card interest: avoid at all cost. At least with a car loan or a house loan you have something tangible to show for the expense (and possibly a tax break).

    Kids: But worth it IMHO.
    • I should clarify. I don't have a huge impulse buying problem. I probably bought more DVDs than I needed over the past year and I like to go book shopping, but I never made big ticket impulse buys (computers, stereo equipment).

      Now, my wife and I are on a more strict path, with less eating out (which was a big money waster for us). And last month, the first month we started being strict, we agreed to spend absolutely no money on non-food/rent/gas things, so no clothes, movies, concerts, etc. We did keep
  • We're DINKs with no debt and I don't feel like I could afford to go out and buy a new sports car. Perhaps there's a sugardaddy, sugarmamma or a trust fund somewhere lurking?