Words from writer John Scalzi after the break.
6. Don’t have the cash for it? You can’t have it.
To reiterate, the reason that Americans are as generally economically screwed as they are at this moment in time is because they bought into the fundamentally insane idea that buying tons of shiny crap they didn’t need on a high-interest installment plan made any sort of rational sense at all. And as completely idiotic as it is for the average American, it makes even less sense for a writer, who often doesn’t know when or even if they’re going to paid again. Committing to a non-essential monthly cost when you don’t have to is stupid. You need somewhere to live, so a monthly rent or mortgage payment makes sense. You don’t need a monthly charge for two years to pay for that 42-inch 1080p TV. Use your brain.
But you want that 42-inch 1080p TV! I understand; I want it too. What you do is save for it. When you save for something, it’s like you’re making a payment on it, except that you don’t have an evil credit card company charging you 19% for the privilege. I realize it’s condescending to put it that way, but, look: If people actually knew this, they wouldn’t have thousands in credit card debt, now, would they? And yes, it’s true that while you’re saving for that HDTV (or whatever), you don’t have it, and we as a nation are no longer used to the idea of not having what we want now now now now now. Well, get used to it, you insolvent jackass. Otherwise some bank owns your ass well into the next life. Really, that’s all I have to say about that.
And in the meantime, there’s always the local sports bar. Pay your $3 for a beer and watch the game on their massive HDTV. That’s why they put the HDTV there in the first place. And while you’re packing away the money to buy the 42-inch 1080p widescreen TV, there’s likely to be a bonus, in that the cost of that TV is likely to come down a bit, because that’s what happens with so many consumer goods over time. It’s like getting cash back on your purchase.
The other advantage of having to save for things, incidentally, is it makes you ask yourself if you really need it (or, at least, want it so much that you’re willing to part with your money for it). You are likely to be surprised at how many things it turns out you don’t really need if you have to wait to get them, and can actually see the mass o’ cash you’re laying out for ‘em. And that’s all to the good for you.
Boldfaced emphasis at end added by me.
I get ragged on all the time for not buying something.
Big damn deal.
In all the time I haven’t bought stuff, I haven’t wasted that money because better stuff has since come out. And I’ve made do without having the stuff I thought I absolutely needed to have.
Right now, it looks like I won’t have an iPad until the next-gen one. That’s fine by me. It might have a better screen — Retina Display, please! — and camera. I won’t have any regrets over waiting.
All of you who are addicted to your things — and haven’t grown up to the point of distinguishing wants from needs — you’ve got very sad days ahead.