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Does Waiting a Few Days Before Making a Purchase actually Save you Money?
My mp3 player, a Creative Zen Microphoto, died last week. It was acting funky and I tried to upgrade the firmware and it completely stopped working. All I get now is the dreaded "Hardware Problem" message when I can get it to come to life at all. It did not take me long to realize how much I used that thing. My office is so quiet without it and I can not imagine working at Panera without using it to blur the chatter around me.
On a course to excess
I immediately started investigating replacement options for my Zen. My wife has a Zen V (it’s nicer than my Microphoto was) which she likes well enough but she does have complaints about it, mostly surrounding the user interface. Since I’ve always heard the hype about how great the iPod interfaces are, I thought I might check them out.
My first mistake
I started by checking out the price of the iPod Nano which I didn’t think was exorbitantly priced. I then did what every responsible shopper does, I asked some friends if they had any advice (it seemed reasonable at the time but turned out to be a mistake). A friend from work told me that his wife used to have a Nano and that he now had an iPod Touch and was adamant that I needed to get one too. Too expensive I said so he told me to look into one of the 8 GB models.
My second mistake
Now came a big mistake…I went to the store and played with one. I am not one for hyperbole, but man, that touch screen interface is awesome. At this point, I’m checking the price at various places and quite interested in buying one of these iPod Touches.
My third (and biggest) mistake
The next morning, my wife and I were in Panera which just happens to be next to the AT&T Wireless store (you see where this is going, don’t you?) Without thinking it through, I said, "Hey, let’s stop in next door and let me show you the iPhone because it has the same interface as the Touch." Well, after that….of course, now I want an iPhone (and so does my wife!) It’s strange that the iPhone actually costs slightly less than the Touch but naturally you have to buy it with a two-year contract for cell phone service. A comparable plan, even with unlimited data for the iPhone is only a few bucks more a month than our current plan, so it is feasible. But it would mean that I’d have to move mine, my wife’s, my mother-in-law’s, and my father-in-law’s phones all over to AT&T since we have a family plan.
Finally some sanity
Discussing it that evening, my wife gave me some excellent advice. She told me to just do nothing for a week or so. "Aren’t you always talking about Dave Ramsey or somebody – didn’t you tell me he says that you should wait a few days before making any significant purchases?" To which I naturally replied, "BUT IT"S SO QUIET IN MY OFFICE AND I NEED AN MP3 PLAYER…RIGHT NOW!" But I knew that she was right, even if I didn’t want to immediately admit it.
Of course she was absolutely correct and I have heard that piece of advice from multiple sources. Dave Ramsey specifically states that you should always wait overnight before making a significant purchase. And on a related note, he also suggests that you never make a purchase of more than $300 (or whatever you set it at for your family) without consulting with your spouse. I think this is very, very good advice (even though I didn’t really want to hear it at the time) and I would definitely recommend it to anyone in a similar situation.
So I begrudgingly decided to do nothing and see how much I really need an iPhone or Touch or whatever later this week. I am putting this oft-repeated technique into practice to see if it enables me to make a level-headed and informed decision. I will let you know how it goes.
Two things I’ve learned from this experience. First, at some point, my wife has actually listened to some of the financial talk I’m usually spouting off to her! Second, and listen closely to this advice: if you do not want to buy an iPhone, do not ever play with one!