Hello, I’m a Mom with 4 hats and I loathe technology. I know i’m not the only one out there, but sometimes I feel that way. When everyone jumped at the cool new iphone, I shrugged. When Hubby said that we just simply had to have the Wii, I told him he was silly. When I am dragged to Best Buy, I cringe. I just don’t get it. And, well, new technology and electronics costs money. Usually lots of money, and I hate to part with money. Yes, I know that’s very “Scrooge McDuck” of me, but hey, that’s what I’ve grown up to become. Frugality is my way of life and technology is for the birds.
Or so I thought. When Frugal Dad posted that he and his family were saving up for the Nintendo Wii, I applauded his efforts but still thought, how will that save in the long run? Not realizing that his family would not have to spend money on outside entertainment, thus saving even more, I scoffed a bit at the idea. And then when Lynnae on Being Frugal posted about that deadly phrase, “You Deserve It!”, I knew that my thoughts on technology and staying frugal were warranted. But still, that little devil on my shoulder, better known as my husband, nudged and nagged at me to “upgrade my status.”
So, thats what we did. I finally gave up my 3 year old cell phone and got a brand new one and I allowed my hubby to get me the desperately needed Toshiba laptop he had been studying for almost a year. I still had to ask if the prices of these new items would be recouped in the long run. That should be the first question asked when purchasing new electronics on a tight budget.
This is what I asked myself for the few weeks after I received my new toys. I kept a mental tally of how many tasks done on my cell phone and laptop were tasks that would or did produce funds for my family.
With the laptop, I was finally able to do school work while Hubby could do work on the desktop. We used to have to take turns, thus losing money while waiting. Since I get paid over 500 dollars a month from the military to be an enrolled college student, it is imperitive that I get my school work done on time and efficiently. With sharing the desktop, I always felt like I was constantly behind. Once I had my own computer, I never felt that again; I started to feel ahead and like I was truly providing for my family. Oh, and price-wise? We recouped the money that we spent on the laptop within the first month of getting my veteran’s check for school.
I can also print as many coupons as my little heart desires. With the desktop, they just wouldn’t print, and I was missing out on good stockpiling opportunites at my stores. Not anymore! My internet coupon cup runneth over.
Lastly, I have been able to continue with my paid survey opportunities, such as cash crate, ebates, inbox dollars and now pinecone research. I have been able to attain around 50 dollars a month just from participating on these sites, putting us in the black when it comes to the laptop. It is officially making us money.
Now with the cell phone, I was plesantly surprised at how many aspects of it is actually making us money. The total package for my samsung blackjack was about 236 dollars. When I saw that receipt, I just about fainted. Hubby had to remind me that my old phone had become unreliable, not charging, missing calls and not waking me up at the times I tried to set the alarm for. These were things that just could not happen in our household, especially since our cell phones are our contact with not only each other but our families, since we don’t have a landline.
Once he pointed that out, I was determined to find a way to make this high-cost purchase produce funds. I now use the task list right on the phone to produce my daily to-do list and when we are out and about, I can check off whatever I have accomplished. I learned how to connect the phone to my laptop and have been putting my grocery lists on it, as well. Such a time saver! While I view the online ads, I can type in what I need and from what store. This has also saved us on paper and printer ink.
The biggest savings from my phone recently has been apartment shopping. While Sonny Boy and I are out, I constantly see places that I would love to contact later in the day, but I couldn’t jot down the number while driving. Now, I leave the cell phone screen on the task list, and when I see a phone number of an apartment or rental house that interests me, I can type the phone number right in my task list during a red light. Its instantly placed on my phone’s to do list. How has this saved us money? We have found 5, yes 5, places that offer more space for our family but are 300 dollars less than our current rent. So, after paying our first month’s rent in our new place, we will recoup the money spent on the phone.
Oh yeah, there was also a 100 dollar rebate on the phone. Can’t forget about those rebates!
So, even though technology is for the birds, I guess I may be one of them now. I kind of get the idea, but don’t expect any big electric purchases from this weird bird anytime soon. Except The Wii. Hubby says we gotta have the Wii.
Now how about all of you? Has new technology or electronics helped or hindered you on your road to frugality? Have you purchased any new electronic that you regret?