FIRE and purchase decisions


Recycles dryer sheets
Jul 9, 2002
I am happily FIREd and am in need of a TV. Options range from picking up a used 25" TV for $120 to a new 42" wall mounted plasma/LCD screen. Also consider a used car(don't NEED it, but again a luxury).

Being naturally LBYM minded I have a tough time pulling the tricker on the high end - (the money are there - but looks so much better growing in my broker account :D) so in order to facilitate a DECISION I thought of turning it into a portfolio-performance based decision(PPBD) - since I am anyway a big fan of gummys' "sensible withdrawal rates". I/we already do it to some extent; spend less in bad return years (hmm...even bad return MONTHS in my case he,he) and more in good.

I have not figured out the details but something like: if my portfolio within a given period (from now till max 31st Dec.) have grown with the same amount as the 42" I can buy it. Or maybe DOUBLE the amount? If no growth/loss from now then the $120 TV will be it (or whatever I decide to be the lower range acceptable).

I am not talking groceries or stuff like that - I am talking luxuries or at least things that can be bought at different price levels - and that are not needed urgently.

What do you think?

The year end rally is looking good so far. You will probably wind up with the big one with that system. :)

My thoughts are that tvs are bought so seldom, that I would get the one I liked the best. I walked around in the showroom for about an hour, watching each television in turn. Then I went home to think about it, before going back to get my selection. You may be watching the same screen for 10 to 20 years.

Just make sure it is the set you really want, and you haven't fallen prey to advertising hype.
Can't you get a used one for free from friends or relatives who want to purchase the 42 high end stuff and that you'll help getting rid of the old one (you deserve a drink) they do not want any longer ? or any other free / low cost options ?

Then go short the euro, purchase some US tech (in USD) or more Japan stocks and enjoy the ride better than watching rubbish on tne TV ? :)

This is a tough question.  When I purchase an item that should last 10 years or more, I like to buy something of the highest quality.  So I figure out what features I need to have and go to ConsumerReports and figure out what features I might wish to have.  Then I shop around a little bit for best price.  Then I bargain for a lower price.

Recently though, I bought a LCD HDTV and I didn't get exactly what I wanted because of mis-information on the web and in the store.  I actually bought a model about $800 less expensive than one with the features I wanted.  This is the first time that I've done that.  However, I am having second thoughts.  Everytime I watch this TV, I think "superb picture", but it just is missing that something that I wanted.  I thought that I would not miss the extra features, but I was wrong.  So it's starting to become annoying.   I am going back to the store today to look for a different model with the features I want.  If I can find such a TV, I'm going to take my new TV back and upgrade.

So my advice: life is too short to worry about this.  You saved enough already and what is that money for anyways?  Go get the 42" wall-mounted.  You will love it.   Digital wide-screen is the way to go. And at least state-side you can always take it back if you have second thoughts.
Ben, I like your way of deciding. How about calculating your portfolio returns for the rest of the year, deducting regular expenses you have, and then use up to the remainder to splurge on the TV or car?
Boy, I thought I was frugal. I say go for the 42" job. It will last for years anyway. Depreciated over 10 years.......average cost per year makes it look pretty cheap. Thats the way a number cruncher like myself looks at it.   :D
What about cable TV, which runs about $50/month? I don't watch much TV (the Internet is far more interesting), but when I do, it's infuriating to deal with the signal over broadcast TV.

As a bit of background, I live in a condo community that doesn't allow external antennae or Dish Network on the outside of windows. Set-top powered antennae haven't done the trick either.
Have Funds said:
Broadband and HD-CATV - $130/mo...  :'(

My point exactly. Much of cable TV is filled with commercials, so why should I pay a minimum of $600 a year for advertising? I'd rather it be like satellite radio -- flate rate per/month with no commercials. I'd also prefer to have cable TV on an a la carte menu -- I buy only the stations I want. Unfortunately, the cable companies will never agree to do so.
Jay_Gatsby said:
What about cable TV, which runs about $50/month? I don't watch much TV (the Internet is far more interesting), but when I do, it's infuriating to deal with the signal over broadcast TV.

You don't need cable if you the local stations broadcast in digital.  Just about all the channels in my area broadcast in HD digital (is that redundant?), so the picture is absolutely superb. The TV should have an ATSC tuner for the digital broadcasts and an NTSC tuner for analog broadcasts.  In the 3 days I have the TV, I simply stopped watching the analog broadcasts.  I am 44 miles from the TV broadcast stations and have an old attic antenna that brings in all the digital stations at 4 bars without a problem. (Thanks to info from REWahoo!)

And if you watch DVDs you will be awed.
My problem is that I rarely watch "broadcast" channels; prefer FoodTV, HGTV, Discovery, History Channel, DIY, etc.
Have Funds said:
My problem is that I rarely watch "broadcast" channels; prefer FoodTV, HGTV, Discovery, History Channel, DIY, etc.

There's higher quality programming on such channels as compared to broadcast TV. The problem is that it's not worth $50/month for just a handful of channels -- which are invariably stuffed with advertising anyway. As for the DVD route, I have Netflix, and they pretty decent on a 4:3 aspect ratio TV I've had for a few years.

The antenna issue is the main problem. No rooftop/attic antenna = lousy picture (no matter how good a TV).
Ah but getting OUT of Bangkok is a luxury for sure. I have lived here for a few years before and a car actually often came in handy (going shopping when raining/golf early in moring and so forth) on top of the trips out of BKK, But I digress; purely an added luxury - but what else to do with all that cash!? :D

Nords said:
A car in Bangkok?  Yikes.
When it comes to purchasing luxuries, procrastination pays off. Wait for a:

newer model

Give yourself a chance to change your mind. DW does it about every 2 seconds :)
Nords said:
A car in Bangkok? Yikes.

There is a city that is in desperate need of a population getting around by bicycle to cut down the horrible traffic congestion and pollution. (cough cough cough) :dead: :dead:

More later on my Thailand visit.

MJ (still hibernating from jet lag)
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