What do you believe is worth spending money on? What is the right price for some of the items you value? How do you determine this?
2) Things that save me time and make my life more convenient. Often this means services vs. products e.g. paying someone to do work around the house I don't want to do. I'm a sucker for convenience.
3) Good food. Because I love to eat.
4) Experiences e.g. travel. For some reason paying for something that will provide a lifetime of memories always seems worth it.
I'm not particularly price sensitive. If I perceive what I'm buying as worth it I'm happy to pay. For example, if I'm buying a steak at the butcher I'll pay more to get a really good ribeye vs. a cheaper cut.
In general I'd rather have less stuff but really enjoy what I have.
Hear hear. Less, durable, long-lasting high quality things > more cheap crap.
But I'd add cookware to the list - pains me to see people struggle along with cheap and shoddy knives, small chopping boards and weak pots and pans.
My mother still thanks me and it has been over 6 years since I gave her a set of Wüsthof.
I bought mine in Germany and carted them back through China. Gives you a special appreciation of them when you've carried heavy knives and a wood block on your back for a couple of months to get them home!
Plus standard geek staples: iPhone, solid computer for coding, writing and designing. Nothing surprising in the tools department.
A lot of people suddenly become frugal when confronted with the price tag of an amazing holiday, but are perfectly happy blowing £50 on a night of drinking. It always seems like a false economy to me.
Still a fan of the dead-tree variety. It's not so much paper vs e-ink, more that every new book is a new physical object with its own size, shape, weight and (sometimes) smell.
The digital version is good for archival and portability, but the first time through a good book feels like it should be with its most authentic representation.
These things are priced all over the map. At the very low end, you get crap that ends up limiting your creativity. At the very high end, you're paying for a name or features that might be nice to have, but not having them isn't going to prevent you from going from amateur to pro if you want.
I buy the things in the middle of that spectrum. The sweet spot for musical instruments seems to be about $1000, although you can arguably get by with $500 instruments and be happy.
For computers, I buy the lowest priced one that has the features I want, usually wireless, decent graphics card, etc. Every computer produced since 2002 has had the power to do everything I need to do, minus high-definition video editing (nothing will ever be fast enough) and playing Starcraft 2. I have an $800 desktop for those two things, cheap laptops running Linux for everything else.
The best money I've spent recently was on singing lessons. Not a "thing," but finding the right instruction for something you want to do can be extremely valuable. For the rest of my life I'll be a better singer, which is great.
Eventually, I want a collection capable of measuring any attribute of anything I come across. On my list: lightmeter, wetness-ometer, electron microscope (when I hit it big), soundmeter, and smelloscope.
Or this, a finished, working one:
Making an electron microscope is probably a more expensive task for the homebrewer, because you invariably need a vacuum-proof chamber with a door that can be opened and closed, and the pumps to evacuate it...
Now, if we are talking about items for myself, not necessarily of great importance, I do indulge on certain things, but I have rules.
I have no problem spending money on well designed items that look, feel, and function properly with the quality I desire. Examples include Macbook Pro with Mac OS X, Apple Cinema Display, Water Field Designs Muzetto and I'll tell you why.
First, the Macbook Pro. I used to do Linux as my platform of choice, loved the whole idea of open source, freedom, the platform, the options, and it's abilities. However, I would spend countless hours gettings thing like sleep / hibernate working on my laptop, wireless card setup correctly, tweaking my Fluxbox settings, among other things. It got the point I started to really value my time spent working (this was before I actually had a career) and doing other things I enjoyed. I didn't have much desire to use Windows for my main system, so I grudgingly invested in my first Apple, a Macbook Pro v1. It was hotter than heck, but I loved it. Things worked! Wireless! Video! And most important to me was sleep and hibernate were flawless! it was amazing.
For the Apple Cinema Display, you wouldn't think it would be that big a deal, but it made my desk nearly clear of cables now and the extra power connector made it worth every cent. This is the 24". Since I have this nice display now, I had now qualms purchasing the 13" Macbook Pro this time with it's smaller screen (and price). I love the portability of this little guy and not having to take out the power supply and just keep it in my bag, pure luxury. The screen is gorgous too!. My other display is a Dell U2711, I have delegated it video games.
Finally, the bag, as many call it, a nearly $300 man purse, the Water Field Designs Muzetto (with sleeve of course). Quite simply the most beautiful bag I have ever owned or seen. I love it to death. It looks great, feels like a tank, is easy to just pick up and go. It gets a little cramped with my iPad, power supply, and Macbook Pro, but that's good otherwise I would jam it full of excess items. It forces me to travel lite. I got the cream. It attracts all sorts of people and I get comments almost everytime I'm out and about with it.
That got a little long, so I'll leave it at that.
edit: on the plus side I love Gnome DO.... I can't believe I found something better than win7 start autocomplete or OSX Spotlight...
Gnome Do is an all round boost to productivity.
I've given up. Bought a Mac Book Pro 13" and it is wonderful. Has the unix I need and everything just works.
- your bed
- your desk setup if you work at one, including the chair
- the people closest to you (roommates, family)
I have a real hard time buying stuff that doesn't fall into those two categories for myself.
Always buy the best:
- Kitchen Knives
- Development tools
- Toilet Paper
All the above can be skimped on, but they'll make you unhappy. I've spent enough of my life sawing onions in half with a squirrelly 99 cent Ginsu clone, trying to get Eclipse to autocomplete anything at all and letting roommates bring home a 60 pack of Welfare Brand Flims-E-Paper. Now that I've got two dimes to rub together, all that stuff is a thing of the past.
seriously. i would have answered this question, with those same three things in that SAME ORDER! (LOVE my henckels!)
no really. have you been talking to my wife?
While prep cooks will use stock kitchen knives, most chefs will use their own tools, which tend to be pretty expensive.
Roughly in this order of priority ...
(1) Think about cost in terms of the work you had to do to buy it, not just the sale price. You are (most often) buying X with post-tax income so add your tax back on.
(2) Think about the opportunity cost of making the purchase, or "what can't I afford if I buy X?"
(3) Consider whether you are just buying X because it is a status object and whether there is a cheaper alternative (do you really need that merc when you can get from a->b in a honda? and so on).
In choosing what things are important to spend money on I'd generally echo others comments - people looking back over their lifetimes tend to value experiences they had more than junk they bought so spend your money buying experiences.
Having struggled with noisy, underpowered, no fun, front wheel drive Toyota's & Hondas for years I would be hard pressed to give this up.
However if you just buy something like this for the badge, you need your head examined.
If this post reads smug or pious it wasn't my intention, you can bet I will be right off the wagon as soon as the new project is up and running...
Food - We have an excellent butchers in the town, and it's game season, so I am looking forward to getting a brace of Partridge and cooking something up.
Travel - it really does expand the mind. I did not realise how educated I had become from being 'dragged' away 5 times a year by my Mum. Even if I can only go 100 miles away for a weekend, it's still wonderful.
And the deviation from everything else I have read so far on here:
Exercise: I really value the money I spent on my MTB. I love my Bouldering gear (shoes, crash mat and chalk really), and I wouldn't be without going to Muay Thai twice a week. Doing all of this makes me feel like I have more of a rounded life - Yeah, I get to be sedentary for 14 hours at a time tweeking stuff on various VM's, but I also get to test my body to (what feels like) its limits, and I get physical camaraderie from the boxing, or the biking that just isn't the same from a book.
Eg, books, education, travel, new skills (be it Haskell, spelunking, or Spanish), good times with friends, family, and significant others, etc. And good health makes it all possible (or rather prevents it from becoming impossible).
Things, only insofar as they facilitate the above, but not for the sake of having 'cool' stuff or the latest 'must have' gadget.
2) Something I want, but only if it performs its principle function correctly, operates reliably, and is cost effective. I'll buy a Honda over any Mercedes for example. (I could cars in this category even though I need one for transport because I could always go el cheapo used car for my actual needs).
3) If I have time or opportunity, luxury items, but only one or two per year -- they don't have to conform too tightly to the cost effective idea but I have to make sure I can use it. If I buy it and have no time to mess with it, then it's a waste. These usually take the form of travel once or twice a year.
Other things I believe in spending money on include education (although I do think that my university fees are unfairly high), good food, make-up and shoes (makes a big difference to how I am treated by others, unfortunately), kitchenware that lasts forever, a laptop and phone that work without causing me to stress, and bright, colourful things that make me happy. I also like shiny things but the price is normally too high compared to how much I like them.
I've found my attitude changing from "can I afford this?" to "do I really want to be burdened by this object"
During my last move I put everything own into a storage unit, and cherry-pick the few things I actually need/want as I need them. Next time I move I'm going to get rid everything left in storage. I figure if it's been in storage for that long I probably won't ever need it.
Incidentally, this is exactly the same strategy I take with my computer. Once or twice a year I'll backup everything, reformat, and only copy back over what I need, as I need it.
The question is how to make an objective judgement on whether a spend is beneficial in terms of the larger plan or not. For myself, I have learnt to do it over time, and know where to draw the line. (Not that I don't make on the spur expenses, but have noticed that these days, my thumb rules applies itself 'in the background' even when I am making an on the spur purchase)
2) Games/entertainment -- must give me a lot of hours of fun for a low hourly cost (like 50 cents an hour or better.) Video games that I'm going to play to death fall into this category; movies at the theater do not.
3) Family -- I'm willing to give up an awful lot of money so my son can grow up with his grandparents (and great grandparents) around, and so I can hang out with my brothers and sisters as they all grow up and start families.
Oh, and that copy of Snow Leopard required to grab the iOS SDK. =/
Technology - phone, iPad. Bed, desk chair, food.
On the flip side, I've also been getting rid of everything I don't need or haven't used in the last 6 months (100 Things Challenge). My motto: own less and only things you need, but for those, buy the best quality.
2) Good pair of running shoes and a tennis racket
3) Food - Not often, but nice restaurants when I can
Other then that, I don't care as much about what I drive, what I live in, etc. I do care - but as long as I'm living in an interesting city I'll be fine.
"What is the right price of some of the items you value" --> India has double digit inflation right now.Not of much significance to people on HN,the cost of certain food items has doubled in India, over the last couple of years!
Have been recommended to read "Wealth of Nations",Adam Smith, have the book,but havent got around doing that.
Maslow's heirarchy of needs( Google it) ,is a good rule of the thumb- which determines what your needs would be, depending on which "level" you are.