Accessories and Upgrades: The Arch Enemies of Frugality

by David Bakke

In this world that we live in today that is dominated by technology and the concept of “keeping up with the Joneses” we are constantly bombarded with the apparent need for upgrades and accessories.  Advertisers everywhere are always telling us that it’s time for a new computer, a bigger flat screen TV, and the need to “accessorize” our personal appearance.  For those of us trying to live frugally or trying to get out of debt, this can be a very slippery slope.

The first thing you need to understand (when trying to live frugally or get out of debt) is that you march to the beat of your own drummer.  What am trying to say is that you and you alone should determine when you  upgrade one of your technology products, or which personal accessories you really need in life.

What I found during my journey out of debt is that these are two areas that can really make or break you financially.  If you follow the lead of the world of advertising, you would constantly be upgrading your cell phone, your personal computer or any of the other personal accessories that you choose to have.

One thing that sped up the pace of my journey out of debt is eliminating (or at least postponing) these upgrades and simply eliminating a lot of the personal accessories that I chose to have.

A lot of this is a matter of personal choice, but if you can eliminate a lot of these things, you’ll find that you’ll have that much more money to put towards the goal that should be more important to you: getting out of debt.

In the area of personal accessories, let me tell you what my current choices (or non-choices) are:

  • I do not wear a watch
  • I do not wear any jewelry whatsoever
  • My clothes wardrobe is “bare-bones” minimum  (I rarely buy new clothes)

The only thing that I can tell you here is that if you choose to use (or wear) any of the above accessories, I would stick with what you have until you are where you want to be financially.  Unless of course it is a gift to yourself of some sort for reaching one of your financial goals.

Technologically speaking, I have these facts to offer you:

  • The laptop we have was purchased two years ago.
  • The PC we have was purchased three years ago.
  • The flat screen TV we have purchased four years ago
  • We do not have any of the following: IPods, blue tooths, Blackberries, etc.

When deciding to buy one of these items for the first time, the biggest question you need to answer for your self is this:

Do you really need this item?

When considering an upgrade, these are my thoughts.  Whenever we buy a technology product for the first time, we usually go with about the latest, most advanced model that we can find at the time, at the very best price we can find, and we stick with it till it is no longer useful for us. Do not succumb to all the advertising out there that will tell you that you need a new laptop or flat screen every year or so.  It simply isn’t true.

One of the biggest steps out of debt for me personally was to eliminate all unnecessary spending.  Well, considering the hole that I was in, it didn’t take long to figure out that all accessories and upgrades, to me, were unnecessary.  This didn’t mean that I had to give them up altogether, just until I was out of debt.

A hard review of your purchasing choices, I would imagine, would bear out close to the same conclusion.

As always, you feedback is appreciated below.

{ 2 comments }

1 Khaleef @ KNS Financial July 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Good post! It can be easy to let those types of purchases hijack our plans – especially when we fall for all of the advertising and enticements around us!
.-= Khaleef @ KNS Financial´s last blog ..Why You Need a Budget- =-.

2 David/yourfinances101 July 3, 2010 at 1:47 am

Khaleef

You are right on point–thanks for commenting

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