Tuesday, May 26, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Keith Richards & Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones

Don't get me wrong, I like nice things, but am not an overly materialistic person -- and I don't like to accumulate clutter which is what would happen if I bought everything that popped into my head. At the same time, when I need something I don't hesitate to get it.

When buying a product gives me pause, it's usually because I'm tempted by a good price or feature ... but I don't necessarily need that item. I either already have something comparable, an older version, or I probably wouldn't use it very often -- but having it " just in case" is appealing.

Every winter I wear a pair of black UGG suede boots which my feet adore! They are incredibly comfortable, toasty warm and ultra stylish when paired with jeans or dresses. And boy, do they hold up. Even after five seasons, they still look terrific. But they DON'T look brand new. So when I passed a shoe store that offered my UGGs for $50 off, temptation reared its ugly head. I nearly bought them on the spot. In the end, I decided, "no," because, 1) I'm not ready to throw out the old pair, 2) I have plenty of boots, and 3) I don't need another pair (not really). It took discipline, but ultimately I saved $110 by passing on the sale.

Now I'm going through the same temptation over buying a new printer. I have a compact Hewlett Packard deskjet that sits neatly in the corner of my room. It prints beautifully, but that's all it does. Lately, I wonder if I should get an all-in-one printer. If I needed to fax, copy, scan and crank out photos frequently my decision would be an easy "yes," and I'd replace my old inkjet in a heartbeat. But the fact is, I mainly need to print. On rare occasions when I need to copy, I have a drugstore across the street that charges five cents a page. Another drugstore on the opposite corner develops photos. And, my low tech printer shows no signs of wearing out. So the dilemma is, do I get what I want "just in case?" Or save $150 plus by keeping what -- so far -- fits my needs? What kind of a buyer are you? Do you over buy? Or under buy?

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