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Do You Really Need to Keep Buying New?


This article was written by Ashley over at Money Talks. She is passionate about helping you get the most from your money so you can live the life you deserve. You can subscribe to her newsletter or follow her on twitter and facebook.

This Best Buy commercial is pretty funny (link above). I actually like it a lot. But there is something about it I really dislike. I hate the attitude that what you have is only good if it’s the latest and greatest. You buy something and it’s great and then something new comes out and your item isn’t so good anymore. What’s up with that? That concept is costing you a LOT of money… if you buy into it that is.

I know it’s pretty easy to get sucked into that type of thinking. I recently had a brush with it myself. Now, I don’t buy a lot of electronics. And when I do they aren’t usually the newest model on the market. But a few years ago we got a great deal on a fancy camera. I loved this camera. I thought this camera was awesome. Sure, it’s been knocked around a bit over the years. It’s scratched and dented from a few falls but still takes the same quality photos that I thought were amazing 4 years ago.

Then on a recent family vacation to Yellowstone I asked a stranger to take a family photo of us as a group. They did and then as they were handing me back my oh-so-awesome camera asked if I could return the favor. Of course I agreed and they handed over their camera to me. Wow! I was embarrassed that they just had to use my dented piece of junk camera. Their camera was AWESOME.

Now I don’t feel so swell about my camera anymore. I thought it was so great… now I’m not so sure. I mean, it has been nearly 4 years since I bought it, which is a lifetime in electronic years. It got me thinking, maybe we do need a new camera?

Do we really though? Before I realized there was something better I thought our camera was just fine. I’ve never complained about the quality of pictures this camera takes. It doesn’t eat up batteries or miss the moment. It’s fine. I never thought it needed to be replaced at all until I saw a new fancier camera. Our current camera meets our needs perfectly. In fact, I’m still finding new features. I just realized that it takes movies a few months ago. (The fact that every piece of electronics has to have 1,000 different features is another rant in itself.)

So how do you keep from falling into this trap of needing the latest and greatest?

Know that just because something new comes out that does more doesn’t mean that your item does less. A faster computer doesn’t make yours slower. A bigger TV doesn’t make yours smaller. A thinner laptop doesn’t make yours fatter. Of course eventually technology will make items obsolete. But that doesn’t happen for a very long time. My dad still has a VCR and tapes! If he can get by with rewinding his movies you can make it another year with your current iPhone.

Don’t buy the newest thing on the market to begin with. Then if something newer comes out it doesn’t matter as much. You will pay extra for that “I’m better than you” feeling anyways… and you don’t need it.

Know your needs. If your phone, tv, camera, laptop, ipad, etc fit your needs then why do you need the new thing? Find a product that fits your needs and don’t worry about it. Only upgrade if your needs aren’t being met. For example, our wireless router in our house was terrible. At first I was just happy to have wireless at all, but eventually I couldn’t take the spotty signal anymore. When we finally upgraded there had been many advances and now we are happy with the wireless in all rooms of the house.

What do you think? Do you feel the desire to upgrade as soon as something newer comes out? Do you like your stuff less when you know it’s not the “best” anymore? Let me know in the comments.

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. An early adopter I’m not. My Ipod is used (Ebay) and the iMac is 5 years old.

    • I don’t mind buying stuff used. Cars, for example, can cost a great deal of money new. Buy them used and you’ll often pay less than half the initial cost.

      • I don’t mind buying stuff used either—however, some things give more bang for the buck when bought new. Especially since products are created with planned obsolescence in mind….when you buy something used you have to understand that you may be getting a very short life span on it.

        • Good point Jon. Sometimes technology fits the mold for your argument. It becomes more advanced and the prices on new items continually goes down. Often, it just makes more sense to buy new in this case.

  2. Once you realize how easy it is to get high quality used items for low prices its much easier to keep doing it. I was hesitant at first, but now I always look for bargains on used items for many purchases (but not all, some things I still want to buy new).

    • Used doesn’t mean “crappy”. Many people often get this misconception. While I think you have to be careful with what you buy used, there are tons of great deals out there! I have had my used laptop for almost a year now. It has completely operated this website and side projects, and only cost me $100! By using it, I have made thousands. It has been worth it 100%.

  3. I have had 2 laptops in the last 12 years. My second one just died and is not able to be repaired. So I will have to get another one. I will probably get new but middle of the range and try to keep my cost about $600-800. I, of course, will hope to keep for at least 4 or 5 years.

    • Sounds like you’re handling your finances quite well! Great job cashflowmantra!

  4. Great post. There are tons of things that I have acquired second hand- a lot from family. If the item is still functioning and in good shape, I say save your money and go used.

    • That’s what I say! If the item still works, there’s no need for a new one. 🙂

  5. I don’t know if it age or maturity, but I have no problem waiting! I usually only replace when broken or worn out. My last computer was ten years old before I replaced it. I am certainly not the early adapter!

    • You must be very mature krantcents, and typically, maturity equals wealth! 🙂 Congrats on being able to wait!

    • I use everything until it literally cannot function or costs more than it is worth to fix. Cars and electronics mostly, but the mindset applies to everything. My computer is 4 years old (got it when I was 18) and I am assuming I’ll get a few more years out of it, and my first car lasted 5 years (I feel this is a somewhat impressive feat for a 16-year old).

  6. Nice post! Funny, I was thinking something similiar today at work. I saw a co-worker who has, I believe it’s the ipod? (apple’s thin, shinny, mp3 player). I feel so out of date when it comes to these devices, because I only buy something when I need it, not want it. I still have my old mp3 player that works just fine, it’s not flat and shinny, but it does the job. An extreme example of how I only buy something when the current object I have does not serve the purpose anymore is my car. I have had the same car for 11 years and running. It doesn’t even have A/C and I live in Florida. Most people ask me how I survive. 😛 When I was much younger I bought all of the video game systems – GameBoy, GameGear, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64… then I woke up one day and realized that this was getting too expensive and stopped this behavior. Games alone were $60. I also worked as a teenager and had a better sense of the value of money than most my age. I would rather have a large amount of savings and be able to sleep at night than to live paycheck to paycheck like a lot of people that buy all the newest and latest devices.

    • I was always caught up in video games as well! I always had the new system, paid buko bucks for the latest games, and then wasted my time playing them all! I have replaced my video game time with this website. It has been just as fun, I have learned a lot, and I now make an income with it rather than it costing money! It has been a great trade-off! 🙂

  7. I agree, the trade-off of putting time into a website is a great experience and something I also prefer over videogames. Hope you guys are enjoying your vacation.

  8. I often wait to upgrade to the latest and greatest (I don’t have a smart phone, yet). I, too, have a camera that’s old. I’ve had it for about 5 years, but it still works great and takes great pictures. I think the key for me is to buy stuff less frequently, but to go for quality when I do decide to buy. I spent a good amount on my camera knowing that it was going to last me more than a year or two. That way, I don’t have to get the latest and greatest thing all the time.

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