1) Cellular Phones
This one tops the list for several reasons.
First, you have the fact that cellular phones are built better than they ever have been and with much more sophisticated and long lasting processors. While the cell phone industry wants you to believe that you should buy a new phone every year, the fact is that phones these days can last years.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at how they advertise new phones. It is seldom about phone speed and now has become about tiny features like an upgraded camera or the ability to fold your phone in half. They do this because phones are already very fast and it is hard to upgrade a chip enough to justify an upgrade The gimmicks still sell though, unless you do not fall for it.
Next, you have the sheer cost of a new cellular phone. Gone are the days of upgrading for one or two hundred dollars. Phones now go for well over 1000 dollars and some like the Samsung Fold comes in at almost 2000 dollars.
Don’t fall for the hype and hold on to that phone for an extra year or two.
What goes for cellular phones also goes with computers. Computers are often replaced far before their usable life is over, but the case for replacing a computer is admittedly a bit stronger. Computers do tend to slow down over time, not because they are getting older but because the programs they are asked to run get more complicated and bloated. Luckily, there is a fix for this that can allow you to keep your computer for another year or two.
Replace the RAM. A RAM upgrade can give your computer the ability to run larger programs. Best of all, this fix is cheap, costing as little as 40 dollars with companies like Crucial. Even better, the upgrade is easy even for those who have never worked on a computer. Just pop open a case, unsnap the old RAM and insert the new RAM. Simple and very effective.
Everyone likes a new couch, but that does not mean you have to replace your furniture every year. With the entry price for a living room set coming in at roughly 1500 dollars, this is a potentially huge expense to take on every few years. But what if your furniture is worn out? Well, don’t let it get worn out in the first place.
The lifespan of an upholstered couch should be a minimum of 10 years but sadly, most do not make it that long. The problem is lack of maintenance. Have it cleaned and it will last much longer and the cost is probably a lot less than you think. You can have the average sofa cleaned for around 100 dollars. While this is extra money out of your budget, paying 100 dollars every year or two is a lot cheaper than the 1500 dollars or more that it would take to buy a new set.
Take care of your furniture and it will last two to three times as long.
While this is similar to furniture, I listed it in a separate category for a good reason. The industry itself is telling you an untruth with catchy slogans like “replace every 8”. Some makers will even pitch a replacement of every 5 or 7 years. In fact, there is not need to replace your mattress even that often as long as you do two things.
One, buy a quality mattress. Quality components are long lasting components and you only need a little extra money to pay for them.
Second, from day one you should have a mattress cover protecting your bed. No, they are not just for kids with potty issues. A mattress cover protects your mattress from building up dander, dust mites and helps them from just getting gross. They can also easily be cleaned with a simple toss into the washing machine.
If you buy a quality mattress and use a good mattress cover, there is no reason that your mattress can not last well over 10 years.
Finally, let’s talk about your car, truck or SUV. What’s what wrong with the last vehicle you sold? If your answer is nothing, then there is a problem and a very expensive one.
The desire for a new car is a strong one, but a costly one and we can attribute it to one of two things.
First, you have the advertisements that we are constantly seeing for new vehicles. They keep shoving them in our face and making us want something new and flashy. Who doesn’t love a new car, but we have to realize that it is only new for a few months and then you have a used vehicle again.
Second, there is the reliability factor. Once the warranty is over, we often feel like it is a risk owning a vehicle. This is particularly true for those of us who grew up in the 80s and early 90s when the vehicles on the market were just awful as far as reliability goes. This is no longer the case however and while in the past it was rare for a vehicle to get over 100,000 miles, now it is rare for a vehicle not to.
The fact is that today’s vehicles are built for the long run and if you trade in your car or truck too soon, you are probably wasting money.