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Old 04-23-2014, 02:27 PM   #21
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I too go through the hesitation period. But, these days, splurge it while I can (have my megacorp job) or enjoy it while I am able usually wins out.

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Old 04-23-2014, 05:23 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
This sort of thing happens to me quite a lot. I haven't been to see a film in a movie theater for several years. Recently, a documentary came out that I would really like to see. The matinee is only $8.50. Although I live on a fairly low income, I wouldn't even miss the $8.50 - I'm not that hard up! Yet, the same thing is happening. I made plans to go see this documentary in the next few days and now, at the last minute, am experiencing much diminished desire to do so. I saw a similar documentary on the same subject (by a different filmmaker) online some months ago, have seen the trailer for this film, and have done much reading online about the subject. I'm telling myself that I don't really need to see the film after all, and am about at the point where I now am not at all bothered whether I see it or not. In this case, it's obviously not about the money, as it's only $8.50 - there is something else going on.
We see less movies, too. I think it just has to do with having Netflix, Prime and a big screen at home. It makes going to the movies less of an adventure.

Have you checked out the library Discover and Go Passes? The partner places include lots of cool day trip stuff stuff to do like the Academy of Science, the Hornet, Aquarium of the Pacific and the Oakland Museum and it is all free to card holders, plus free music downloads and streaming from Freegal.

Or one annual, tax deductible membership pass from Berkeley Gardens and that gets you into many of the gardens and museums in the Bay Area and beyond for free for a year, beyond the Discover and Go places.

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Old 04-23-2014, 05:31 PM   #23
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NW-Bound...that was ME that recommended Living Stingy.!!!!!!!!!!!

After I read a lot of his blog I REALLY began to rethink all major purchases!!!!!

But I can still dream cause that's still free!
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:33 PM   #24
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OK! Why, my superior memory fails to tell me who recommended that blog. Interesting reading, by the way.
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leo Tolstoy
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #25
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I have the same issue sometimes, it seems. I try not to think of it as "paralysis by analysis" but DW and I both think things through a lot (AKA cost/benefit analysis) before making any major purchases. But that's also why we're able to be retired and not struggling to keep the wolf from the door like so many others.

Given that you're the only one who will suffer any buyer's remorse on the purchase I'd say go for it. You've certainly thought it through so it can hardly be called an impulse buy.

And what's the worse that can happen? You don't like it and you sell it for a loss and as my Dad used to say "Chalk it up to tuition".

That's how I justified buying an airplane when I was 25 and single. Expensive yes, but a lot of fun, but not something I would ever have asked a wife to give up so much for unless she was as into it as I was at the time.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:34 PM   #26
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Great and thoughtful responses - so much more interesting than anything I read on my Facebook account . Please forgive me if I don't reply to each post.

HFWR - I don't think we have a theater that cheap here (SF East Bay). I remember going to a second-run theater in Sparks, NV about 25 years ago, and that was $2 - $3 back then. More recently, there was a theater in LA when I lived there about 5 years ago that was $3, but it has since closed down.

2soon2tell - agreed about the middle road.

FIREd - I am currently living vicariously through you, with your new ownership of an X100S! You are perceptive - I believe there is actually some denied gratification going too. Your choice of the word puzzling almost took me aback, as that is the effect I think I have on others from time to time, in the way I can change from strong enthusiasm to fairly indifferent in a short space of time.

NWBound - Well what can I say? Jambalaya sounds so good right now. I should know better than to post when I'm hungry.

daylatedollarshort - Good point about having to buy some stuff eventually. I am not a complete Luddite though. I do love the modern world we live in, and like to support the economy by buying products from which I will get much value and pleasure. Of those products and services, I think my computer and internet connection rank pretty close to the very top. Thanks so much for the Discover and Go tip. I wasn't aware of that, but just signed up with my Oakland Library card. My SO has always wanted to go to the Asian Art Museum, and I wouldn't mind another visit to the California Academy Of Sciences. Thank you.

Retire2013 - not quite true, as I did indeed buy an engagement and wedding ring once. However, you are right on the mark with your assessment of my current dyed-in-the-wool bachelor status. My ideal relationship involves SO and I living in separate places, which is the arrangement now.

Jager - Oh my gosh - Leica gear. The frugal side of me just went into cardiac arrest! But yes - there is a fine line between prudent frugality and self-denial. Perhaps I do need a shrink.......(but they're too darned expensive )

H2ODude - I'd take you up on that offer were it not for the fact that the X100S seems to offer a very worthwhile step up over the X100, particularly in the areas of the menu arrangement and the AF.

Walt - Good point. As you say, the worst thing that can happen is I sell it and lose a few hundred. Actually, the worst thing that could happen is that I love it and am out ~$1650 :-)
ER, for all intents and purposes. Part-time income <5% of annual expenditure.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:18 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
Thanks so much for the Discover and Go tip. I wasn't aware of that, but just signed up with my Oakland Library card. My SO has always wanted to go to the Asian Art Museum, and I wouldn't mind another visit to the California Academy Of Sciences. Thank you.
You are welcome. I love the Asian Art Museum. After DH left the megacorp job, the Asian Art Museum was one of our first new found freedom, week day outings. We saw a traveling exhibit called The Splendor of India that included jewels and a silver carriage -

MAHARAJA – The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts, at the Asian Art Museum | San Francisco Sentinel

You can also collect library card from surrounding cities and sometimes they have a different set of Discover and Go partner attractions to pick from.

The NARM, ROAM and AHA memberships with a Berkeley Garden membership are a good deal, too. It is $125 but then you get in free at over 700 museums and 270 gardens in the Bay Area and beyond -

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley ::: Garden Membership

Throw in a couple of Entertainment books on sale for half price restaurant meals and some Goldstar event tickets now and then and we're set for entertainment for the year without spending much money at all.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:25 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
Walt - Good point. As you say, the worst thing that can happen is I sell it and lose a few hundred. Actually, the worst thing that could happen is that I love it and am out ~$1650 :-)
Have you thought about putting your pictures up on site where you could earn royalty income -

5 Sites Where You Can Sell Your Photos

Maybe you could have a self funding hobby or even an enjoyable side gig. If you have a photography business your equipment may be a tax deductible business expense.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:30 PM   #29
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I know what you're going through Major Tom. I've been wanting to upgrade my camera for a few months now. I keep thinking that I'll pull the trigger if I scrape up the money, but still haven't even after paying the taxman less than expected. Now I don't expect to upgrade my camera for a few years until I get my skills to the level of the camera. Same thing in other hobbies - I've created a few woodworking jigs/ workarounds that have saved me from spending hundreds of dollars on equipment that I can do without.
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:37 PM   #30
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One of my fears about retiring was would I be able to start spending some of the money I had saved over all those years. Saving my money was always so natural for me, especially when I started thinking about retiring early. I knew my goal was to enjoy retirement but I didn't really know how to spend money like that. My DH and I now have a "spending plan." We have a pot of money that is just discretionary money and we take 4% (always 4%) out each year (based on Jan. 1) and spend it throughout the year. This year we're getting some new French doors and windows for the house and maybe some landscaping. At the end of the year if we have money left over in this fund then we can be a little more generous to the kids/grandkids, fund college accounts, larger donations to charities, whatever. Of course, if it's a really bad year financially then I assume we wouldn't take as much.

We came up with this plan when my father-in-law died. Turns out he had a sh*tload of money saved/invested and wouldn't spend a dime! No one knew. He lived with my SIL and never contributed to her household. Everyone always pitched in to help pay for his share of family vacations and holidays. He told us how bad he felt that he didn't travel more when his wife was still alive. It's nice that we've inherited a nice chunk from him but we really wished he would have enjoyed it more while he was alive.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:20 AM   #31
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Thanks to the OP, you helped clarify my current struggles on the same issue, one I've been slowly modifying since the mid 80s.

> Unspent money represents potential to me - and I like the thought of all those possibilities just sitting there.
That value was firmly wedged into my brain by my parents who entered their teens in the Great Depression.

> I begin to cease feeling the desire to actually do it. ... This process doesn't leave me feeling unhappy or frustrated.
For me what killed the want (desire is too strong of a word) was a rational assessment of how much use or fun I'd get out of the purchase.

Then 3 wake up calls began pulling me away from this value system.

First was my passion for sports, specifically snow skiing and off road motorcycle racing. Except for safety related items, I started with low cost equipment which was unfit for my skills or obsolete. Friends said equipment was holding me back. I took their advice, skills increased. More importantly, my enjoyment increased because I was no longer fighting my gear.

ER meant making taxable accounts last. Spending less was embarrassingly easy. Second wake up call was the January 2013 version of the chart below. It tracks what I could and did spend per day without emptying the taxable account. Result was a 35% spending increase over the previous year, mostly on travel.


The third, and maybe final, wake up call was realizing I turn 60 in a few months. I ERd so I could enjoy retirement while most of my body still worked most of the time. I've wasted too much time because of reluctant spending. Let it begin - in a considered but fulfilling manner.

First target is an Olympus OM-D camera and some high quality lenses. Hong Kong is said to be the best place on the planet to buy new and used cameras and lenses. Round trip airfare is less than $300, visiting is on my bucket list and Olympus has a global warranty ....
ER Oct 2008 at age 54. An expat mostly settled in Thailand.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:54 AM   #32
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I am one of those people seeing those movies. In fact I just went to see Winter Soldier. I love blockbusters on the big screen. But now time is more important than money since I can't get away rarely to see a movie. Last one was Avengers? Was that last may? Date night is far and few between so I try to do something that taking my kids too impossible. We never watched movies in theaters before kids. Always rented at home because we figured we'd save the money. NOW we can't watch with kids at home and we rarely watch tv/movies period. So color me indulgent.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:34 AM   #33
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I have the same butterflies/second thoughts as Major Tom as I'm coming up to a major purchase (usually photo or computer gear). I also do extensive research and often delay the purchase for months (even years). This is driven partly by my fear is that I'll run out of money, but second biggest fear is that I will be too frugal and become a miser not willing to spend on anything that brings enjoyment.

However, I realized a couple things:

(1) Even though the equipment is expensive, I use these items all the time and get many many hours of enjoyment. 2k for a laptop is a lot, but amortized over the time I use it, it doesn't turn out to be much.

(2) I don't spend much money on anything else. I have no interest in fancy cars, expensive wines, luxury hotels, gourmet dinning, etc. This means that the very few things I want, I can purchase them without blowing the budget.

(3) I don't like to see numbers go down in my bank accounts after making a big purchase. So I play an accounting/accrual game where I start building a reserve for planned purchases which I add to monthly. When I make the purchase it just comes out of the reserve and doesn't impact the net worth number.

(4) I've also coveted the x100s. But I've delayed getting it because I'm not currently in a location that's great for street photography. I'm also waiting a bit because I want to see how the full frame mirrorless (e.g. sony A7R) and upcoming high MP full frame cameras from canon evolve. I suppose Fuji will also release a successor as the x100s has been out for a while.

(5) I always sell my old camera / computer gear when I upgrade. For computers and digital camera bodies, I can usually recoup anywhere from 30-50% of the purchase price even for stuff that is 5 years old (apple computers have high resale prices). For lenses, I've actually sold some for more than the purchase price after several years of use (pro-grade lenses keep their value exceptionally well, kit lenses however don't sell for much -- perhaps 50%). This significantly reduces the overall cost of ownership.
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:55 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
Have you thought about putting your pictures up on site where you could earn royalty income -
I casually considered it a few years ago, but the amount of thought and effort I would need to put into it vs the amount of income I'd be likely to receive would make it not worth it to me. It would feel too much like a job!

photoguy - Your points struck a chord. Like you, I have few other items of significant expenditure. I derive a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure from my cameras. The last one I bought was in 2005 and I expect this next one to also last me quite some time. I also play the accounting/accrual game. Hey - whatever we need to do to justify the purchase and fool ourselves eh?

I have enjoyed reading every single post in this thread.
ER, for all intents and purposes. Part-time income <5% of annual expenditure.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:58 PM   #35
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When I was growing up I would ask my mom for something and she would say, "Let's wait until next week and see if you still want it". It was a perfect lesson in delayed gratification that I still retain to this day. The general thoughts about purchases is that buying stuff ultimately won't make you happier. Purchasing experiences can or will lead to happiness.

So is buying your camera buying stuff? or is it buying experiences? Going on vacation is buying an experience. However, I've found that a camera can give you an excuse to travel places in which you would take pictures. My motorcycle gives me an excuse to explore parts of the Bay Area I've never been to before.

Since you are in Oakland I will say that there are lots of free events on the UC Berkeley campus. Check out their events calendar.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:20 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by martyp View Post
Since you are in Oakland I will say that there are lots of free events on the UC Berkeley campus. Check out their events calendar.
Funny you should say that. My SO just scored free tickets from the radio station on the UC Berkeley campus for us to see a classically-trained Japanese pianist by the name of Yoshiki play at the Davies Symphony Hall on Monday.
ER, for all intents and purposes. Part-time income <5% of annual expenditure.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:51 AM   #37
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Tom -- I do a lot of woodworking, and occasionally a good tool can make all the difference. While I know little about photography, it may be similar to playing with wood: great tools can sometimes make a difference.

But when I want to buy a new tool, I sometimes conclude, after a good bit of reflection, that I just want a new toy to play with. If I can use one of my current tools to get the same end result using a bit more work/patience than the new toy might require, I stick with the old tool.

If you can take an exquisite photo with your current camera(s), will the new menu on the Fuji camera and the extra megapixels really materially make you a better photographer? Maybe you should focus on using the tools you already have to meet the challenge of making a few great photos, rather than spending more money.

To reward yourself for not buying the camera, go to the movie!
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:19 AM   #38
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Tom, I think it is pretty much a given that most people on this forum go through similar type emotions when it comes to spending money on things one wants but doesn't necessarily need. For some strange reason I get as much enjoyment out of researching and looking for the best deal for any kind of discretionary purchase. Once I find what I am looking for I usually wait two weeks, and after that time if I want it, I buy it. Fortunately my toys are relatively cheap as compared to others.
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:25 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
An RV or a boat is something one should definitely do a lot of soul searching before buying, particularly if it is new. I just read the following entry of a blog that was mentioned by a poster on a recent thread. It should be a required reading for boat and RV buyers.

See: Living Stingy: Hobbies Run Amok!

and this: Vehicle Madness - Knowing When to Unload

The above said, I have really enjoyed my second-hand class C motorhome. People said I was crazy to buy an RV + toad after having bought a 2nd home which cost more than my main home. However, for the motorhome I paid only a bit over 1/4 of its new price, and it had a mere 25,000 miles.

Once I discovered that I liked this traveling mode, I thought often of upgrading, but in the end decided against that. What I already have works great, turns out to be of the right size for me (25'), and I know it inside and out and already spent a few $K for upgrade and customization.

Yes, sometimes we have to make a jump and spend some money. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

This reminded me that I need to change out the coolant in that RV and its engine oil. The travel season is but a month or two away. Spanking new set of 6 tires was already installed.

Thanks for the links to my blog.

To get back to the OP's conundrum regarding the $1600 camera, my advice would be to wait around a bit and look for a used one. If it is a nice camera today, it will be a nice camera tomorrow, but only $800 by then.

I wanted to try making some videos using a GoPro camera, but they were very expensive. I found one on eBay for $200 (GoPro Hero 2) with all the accessories, which is where the real costs are. I made a few videos on YouTube and had fun with it. I might end up putting it back on eBay as I realized that I am no Martin Scorsese. Probably get a hundred bucks for it.


Now, granted, it was "last year's model" and all, but it worked OK, and frankly, it satiated my interest in making videos. I am not sure spending $500 or more would have made the experience more satisfying.

I have seen again and again where people decide to take their hobby to the "Ultimate" level and end up unhappy as a result. There is a law of diminishing returns, and the more you spend produces less and less satisfaction. You don't have twice as much fun in a boat or an RV that costs twice as much. In fact, they can be less fun, as you worry more about the costs, depreciation, and getting a scratch on an expensive toy.

Sometimes less is more. I'd rather use my money to LIVE (and not have to work) than to own things.

Possessions are slavery.

P.S. - when it comes to RVing, towable RVs (trailers) are far less costly than motorhomes. Anything with a motor in it depreciates by about 50% every five years. A well-maintained trailer, on the other hand (bought used) can hold its value for many years.

[mod edit]

If the theme of this site is "early retirement" I can only say that owning THINGS is the largest obstacle for most folks in seeking early retirement.

And I say this based on experience. [mod edit] I had two homes, four BMWs (three of them convertibles!) two boats, an antique tractor, a pickup truck, a 1948 Willys Jeep, and a host of other "stuff" that was costing me a lot of money (not to mention recurring subscription-service charges like cell phones and junk).

I was making "good money" (the vaunted six figures) but not getting anywhere. And my retirement savings was nowhere near enough to sustain such a lifestyle in retirement.

I realized it was a see-saw. I could cut my lifestyle and retire on a lot less money, or run the hamster wheel until I was dead, trying to pay for it all. And I realized that owning "things" wasn't making me happy, but in fact was a horrendous amount of work.

[mod edit]

Today, we have one house, no boats, two cars (one still a BMW convertible, now 15 years old!) and our little RV (which is also 15 years old!). We can't afford to retire completely just yet, but we do take about four months off a year to explore in our little camper.

It is so much nicer than owning "stuff".

So, buy the camera - but look around first and see if you can find someone else who bought it first - and decided they weren't using it as much as they thought they would. Chances are, you'll get that, with a camera bag, lenses, tripod, accessories, for about half what you'd pay for the camera body alone, new.

And it if turns out that owning a fancy camera wasn't what you thought it would be (and it will likely turn out that way) at least you aren't out much money....

Good Luck!
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:03 AM   #40
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I study things I want forever, then when I get some unexpected money, I still delay buying it. I put the cash into savings instead. I've been doing this for years over getting an IPad. I couldn't pull the trigger. Imagine my delight when my husband won one at a conference and gave it to me! It's a new IPad Air. Lucky, I waited.😉

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