Sometimes people, we just have to spend money. You can hem and haw. You can do without. You can do with less. But sometimes, you have to face the fact that you just have to spend money AND sometimes you just have to pay full price. That’s being a realist, which is oftentimes, exactly what I am.
I’m a frugalist by birth. A consumerist never. A minimalist almost never (but I loathe clutter!) One thing I am most assuredly NOT, is cheap! I don’t keep up with any Joneses. I just try to live the best possible life I can on whatever income comes our way. I wouldn’t say we live below our means. I would say we live AT our means. Over the years, I have tried to keep our lifestyle within our parameters. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose.
I’ve been thinking lately that I have been spending entirely too much money over the last year. Rule of thumb: if you think you are spending too much, you probably are. Between paying off the newish Florida condo furniture and taking on an RV, I think I have lost my mind somewhere in-between. After a lifetime of intense frugality, why, at age 66, am I being so nice to myself lately?
I very rarely indulge myself. I’ve been wearing thrift clothing for like decades. I clean my own home. Sometimes I cut my own hair. I wash my own cars. I do my own repairs. You literally have to force me to spend any money. On myself. At the beginning of this summer, I thought I had an appointment in NYC, so I bought myself new shoes (on sale, of course) because I didn’t want the person I was seeing to see the actual shoes I really wear. They’re white canvas grasshoppers that I bought 4 years ago at a discount chain and they have a serious rip on the side. But I whitewash them with shoe polish and cut off the strayed and ragged edges the rip sometimes causes and for me they look and work just fine.
Well, that NYC appointment never happened. And all summer long, I never got to wear my new shoes. As you can see, they are still in the box. Oh, I will eventually wear them soon enough. Just as soon as my white grasshoppers completely fray and become unwearable. Also, over this summer, I did NOT buy myself one piece of clothing or any accessories. What I have is good enough, wearable enough and as long as people don’t see me every day, they’ll never know I have about 3 outfits and I just wear them over and over and over again. Sometimes I cringe when I see different photos of myself at different functions because (gulp) I’m usually wearing the same exact outfit in the picture. Most of my clothing is several years old.
Hubby is almost about the same as me. Unfortunately, however, he is very hard on shoes, so he gets at least two new pairs per year. And he is very hard on clothes, so he gets a few visits a year to good quality thrift shops (if there is such a thing!)
We owned our last TV, a 19inch Sony Trinitron (remember them?) for nineteen years. Guests would come over our house and be stunned we didn’t have a flat screen TV. Once that Sony died, however, we’ve since bought 4 flat screen TV’s, the last one being a 60inch Vizio for our condo living room. As I said, I’m a realist. I knew it was time to spend money AND buy the best we could comfortably afford. After nineteen years of frugality, we deserved to finally experience new, modern technology.
Which brings me to the point of my post today. I’m an Apple Computer geek. I owned my own store for four years and was privy to the latest innovations Steve Jobs spewed. When other women were buying clothes and makeup and sneaking them into the house while their husbands were gone (plus hiding the charge cards) back in the middle 1990’s I was buying scanners and printers and software and displays and sneaking those inside my house and hiding them under the bed so hubby wouldn’t know. I turned my fetish into a career but once I closed my business, I reverted back to my cautious, frugal self.
Apple products really don’t have to be bought every single time another new product is introduced. My laptops can last five to six years. When the iPhone first came out, I waited until a few models were under Apple’s belt. At the time the 5 model came out, I was able to buy a 4 for only $99 (vs the $350 original price). By the time the 6’s came out, I could afford to buy a 5s (for those who don’t know the iPhone 5s came out in 2013. I bought it in 2015 at the reduced price of $250 vs the original price of $450).
Ditto for my laptop. I purchased it in 2010 for $900 and it is still going strong today in 2017. The laptop has however, almost reached the end of its line as it can no longer be upgraded nor can it have the newer SIRI technology. To a geek, such as me, that’s a big deal. To a frugalista, it’s just unnecessary noise.
Which brings me to today. I had to make a choice. I’ve become involved in my photography hobby and if I wanted to learn, progress and become more professional, I had to up my game. I had to take on the newest technology in order to fully experience all that the world has to offer me. This is where my realist personality steps in. I had to bite the bullet and buy the latest and the greatest Apple Computer (free standing, no more laptops) if I was really going to be serious about my hobby. That decision cost me $1604. No sales haggling. No discounts. That’s what it came to. No buying a PC or different brand. No buying a discount model or a leftover. I had to buy the latest and the greatest.
Next came DH’s and my iPhone 5s. They’re all paid for and work somewhat fine BUT if DH and I are to continue onto our chosen paths (he: his career requires that he keep up with technology. me: I’ve expanded onto vlogging and I need a larger screen for when we start traveling on the road). Our four year old, technology- lagging iPhones were becoming obsolete for what we wanted to do in our future lives. (if we just stayed still, however, there would be no need to upgrade BUT DH and I are somewhat progressive when it comes to real life).
Apple Computer is coming out with iPhone 8 this September. That means the current 7 is scheduled to go on sale. It also means that our 5s will no longer have any resale value if we wait too long and the 8 comes out. This was a very difficult decision for DH and I to make. Our current cell phone bill is only $80 a month. Buying two iPhone 7s will bring our bill up to $135 a month, plus tax.
In this instance, DH and I decided it was time for us to spend the money. Because the newest model is coming out next month, our carrier gave us a discount of $100 per phone. I’ve posted our invoices. It shows the original price of $870 for an iPhone 7 Plus (me) and $750 for an iPhone 7 (he). When our monthly bill comes, there will be a $200 credit issued and included. Our provider also waived the $25 each activation fee, saving us another $50. We also got $75 each back from another reseller. So, instead of paying $1,620 for both iPhones, we are paying $1,220, saving ourselves $400 in the transaction.
I had to sit back, look at the numbers and take all of this in. We’re ‘spending’ $1,220 on cell phones. That’s a heck of a lot of money! Think about that. Remember when we used to pay Bell South $14 for a rotary phone and that thing lasted for decades? Or when cell phones first came out, you could buy a left-over, flip model for only one dollar? Granted yes, today we are getting interest-free financing and that comes out to $25 (he) and $29 (me) per month BUT we have to pay that charge for the next thirty months! Is it any wonder why most cellular phone companies, such as Apple have become the biggest, most profitable corporations in the universe?
But I digress. There are things DH and I want to do in our lifetime and sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, and pay. And pay and pay and pay. Thankfully, our data plan is still viable and appropriate, so I see no increase in that. For $54 more dollars per month (plus tax) DH and I will be utilizing the former greatest and latest, once September comes and the new iPhone 8 rolls off the assembly line. In any event, our newish phones will be a hellava lot better than the 5s 2013 technology.
Am I being a consumer? Am I cheating on my frugal beliefs? Am I bucking the minimalist trend? No. I think I’m just being a realist and if DH and I want to be part of the 21st century, continue to work and expand our horizons, we have to be realistic.
In the interim, you can check out our soon-to-be YouTube vlogging channel, ‘The Adventures Of Cindi And Nick‘ by clicking here. I haven’t uploaded any videos yet BUT Nick and I are getting ready to record our RVing travels. And NOW we can! Stay tuned.
That’s what it’s all about.
Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.
my current shoes: grasshoppers. with & without polish