Monday, September 22, 2014

Money, Money . . .

Based on the numbers I heard on the news the other night, credit-card debt is pretty astronomical, and in many cases it's coupled with a complete lack of retirement savings. Scary.

I have a theory that says electronics have seriously messed with people's spending. I'm old enough to remember when not every family could afford a TV. Then VCRs came out, and everyone had to have one. Stores popped up all over the place renting TVs and VCRs. And of course everyone was renting movies, and some were buying them too.

I remember being wheeled to the operating room for some minor surgery I had, and the two orderlies—ignoring the patient completely, of course, engaged in an animated discussion about all the movies they owned. That was at the start of the video revolution.

These days, we've come so far from VCRs. TVs have gotten huge, and often hugely expensive. The smaller ones are relatively cheap, but not many people want smaller ones. We are offered 3D TVs, smart TVs, DVRs, laptops, tablets galore, and smart phones. Of course this is coupled with data plans, DSL charges, and cable bills. This can add up to megabucks, but still there's a prevailing feeling of entitlement. Not only does everyone want to "keep up with the Joneses," as we used to say, but they want their kids to have all this stuff too. It's no wonder so much of the country is in debt.

My own bottom line is that I'm grateful to be frugal. At this point in my life, I don't know how I'd manage otherwise.


crystal said...

Hi Susan,

I have two credit card bills I'll probably be paying on even after I'm dead ;) I had to use them for things like fixing the heater and especially vet bills when my cats were old and sick. I've been watching movie DVDs on this computer my sister is loaning me - it works pretty well :)

Susan said...

Your circumstances are different from what I was describing, Crystal. I think a lot of people have "need" and "want" confused.

My post probably sounds like I'm anti-electronics, but I love them myself. :-)

crystal said...

It's true, electronics seem addictive ... now that I have a kindle, I keep wondering what else like that there is to buy :)

Mali said...

I agree. I love my iPad and my smartphone and my internet connection and laptop, but I can't understand people buying iPhones or iPads when they can get something that is as adequate and costs a fraction of the price.

And I think back to my university days - I had notebooks and a backpack. These days they have tablets and/or laptops and smartphones as a bare minimum.

We're frugal in some ways - we drive an old car for example - precisely so we can spend in other areas. But I would never go into credit card debt to get something as unnecessary as an iPhone or big data plan.

Helen said...

I find the world a very scary place these days. It feels like we're living in an orgiastic house of cards that is about to collapse, catching us all with our pants down.

Indigo Bunting said...

I have to admit I finally broke down and bought a big flat-screen TV (probably the last person in my neighborhood to do so). It's the first TV I bought in 15 years and only the second I've bought in my life. I am trying to not have a crush on it, but I do. Still, it astounds me what it costs to own/use TV, Internet, phone, cell phone these days. I didn't get a smart phone until nearly two years ago. I am without question a slow adapter. And Helen's comment alone makes me wish I could read her often again (hint hint).

Susan said...

Yeah, why isn't Helen writing? Or is Helen secretly writing a book? That would be good.

My post probably sounds like I dislike electronics. The truth is, I love electronics! I don't watch much TV (I got used to having no reception for years), but I have a nice flat one in the living room that will get some use in the winter, and a very cool smaller flat one mounted on a post in the kitchen. Plus an older TV in my bedroom that I hope will get no use this winter because I turn it on only when I'm sick.

I have a Kindle (present from my son) and a Nexus 7 tablet (present from me to me), and several digital cameras. No smart phone, which is good because I spend way too much time at my computer as it is.