Reason Prevails over Spending Temptation
You may recall that Mr. ToughMoneyLove had a little cell phone vs. water episode during last week’s vacation. After a brief period of anxious withdrawal, I enjoyed several stress-free days of life without a phone in my pocket.
So I took a trip to the AT&T store to have them confirm that my three-year old phone with the weak battery was in a terminal condition. It was.
The Spending Temptation
At that point it would have been very easy for me to utter the magic words “iPhone 3GS,” plunk down $300, and be done with it. My wife owns an iPhone and loves it. It now has decent integration with our firm’s network resources, and has all of those cool “apps” available. Believe me – I was tempted. But I decided to look at other options. I gathered information at the AT&T store and then headed to Best Buy. They have most of the phones that AT&T sells and often has deals that are better.
I found a touch-screen LG phone on sale – for $50 – that was very similar to my deceased phone. It was a Windows Mobile device just like my old phone. It integrated 100% with our firm’s network and application resources, even better than the iPhone. It was smaller, had full voice commands (which I love), pocket versions of all Office applications, and integrated WiFi and GPS. It was not as “cool” as the iPhone and no gigantic “app store” was available. But I had done fine for three years with a Windows Mobile phone. Did I really need to spend an extra $250 to have access to features and apps I didn’t actually need in my pocket?
Before I finally answered that question, I asked the Best Buy sales person to power-up the LG phone so I could test it. Alas, they had none in stock. I had to leave town on business the next day. Was this yet another a sign that I should pull the trigger on the iPhone?
The Spending Decision
Again, I resisted the temptation. I dropped my SIM card in an old flip-phone that my son had used until the display failed. But I could place and receive calls with it. It bought me some additional time to resist the temptation of the iPhone.
Upon my return, I visited another Best Buy that had the LG phone in stock. I tested it and found it acceptable. For some applications, a stylus would be required but I am used to that. I bought it and put it right to work. Had it synced up to my office in ten minutes. So far, so good.
Does part of me still wish I had an iPhone? Sure, the gadget freak part of me does. But I believe I made the right call.
When making a spending decision for a product like a cell phone, it seems you have several choices at the interface of behavior and personal finance. In this case, the choices might be: (a) proudly telling yourself (or your friends) about having bought the latest $300 iPhone with access to 250 cool apps; or (b) proudly telling yourself or your friends that you found a $50 phone that has everything you need plus you have $250 leftover in your pocket. I resisted the temptation of (a) and chose (b).
If you are an impulse shopper (which I try not to be), you never really consider (a) or (b) at the pre-purchase stage. You buy now and maybe later you start thinking about it. That rarely works.
Finally, I need to throw a quick shout-out to son #1 for recently having made a similar decision. He is also a gadget guy and really wanted one of the new iPhones. Instead, he found a fully featured phone offered by Amazon – for free, with service activation. He resisted and saved big. Good for him. We need more of that discipline at all stages of our lives.
Do any of you have similar stories?