Why I am SO Not Buying an iPad 3

This is Mr. Money Mustache’s computer. Look carefully, because this is how advanced the iPad 3 will look to you in just a few years.

Mustachians are a tech-savvy bunch. From what I’ve heard, engineers and other professionals are way over-represented in the audience compared to the general population. We may think we’re pretty smart, but we are actually some of the biggest suckers out there when it comes to the unfortunate condition known as gadget addiction.

I’m right there with you. I am a recovering gadget addict, which is similar to a recovering alcoholic in the sense that you never really cure the addiction, you just learn not to indulge it. I have gone over a year since my last electronics purchase of any type, but if you put a Newegg catalog in front of me, my heart will speed up, a column of drool will start to hang from the corner of my mouth, and I will read and memorize every word of every product description in there, and fantasize about buying it. Thankfully, I will then proceed to buy nothing.

I wasn’t always so successful in non-buying of electronics. As a six-year-old I used to string miles of colorful wires between a grid of bent-over nails stuck into a board and pretend they were an advanced computer. In 1984 I saved up $25 of cold hard cash and blew it all at the local Men’s Accessories store on a big nerdy “calculator watch”. Later I bought an AM radio watch at that same store and briefly entered Heaven when listening to a scratchy rendition of Toto’s Africa on it late one night.

By age fifteen I had over a thousand dollars of stereo equipment piled up in my bedroom, and a couple of computers as well. I bought one of the world’s first, and crappiest, digital cameras in 1997, and I’ve owned six more since then. Even after cutting my inventory, I still own at least eight pairs of speakers and four amplifiers. Parents and former roommates have commented to me that the most lasting memory of having me around is the cardboard boxes filled with wires and connectors that I seem to generate and then leave behind when I move. And we haven’t even talked about computer upgrades yet.

So yeah, Lady Gadget and I have had our time together. But in the last few years, I have really gotten control of the situation. And it feels great. Even better than continuing to indulge the addiction.

This week, one of the most significant gadgets in history is being released for sale. The Apple iPad 3. It’s a tablet computer that incorporates every electronic feature and technology that has ever been invented by the human race, all in a glossy and paper-thin case that is beautiful and sexy enough to wear as a bikini bottom.

I’m not going to pretend to you that I don’t have an irrational desire to own one. I have had detailed fantasies which involve me kicking back on the couch and luxuriously fingering my way through fascinating novels with the feather-light device effortlessly palmed in my hand. Later I’d be hunched over the iPad at a bar table, surrounded by beers and friends, as we put the finishing touches on the world’s best hip-hop track. At other times, it would be cradled in a home-made wooden stand on my kitchen table as I use a wireless bluetooth keyboard to write MMM blog postings like this one. Later that night, the Mrs. and I might fire up Netflix on it to watch a documentary in bed.

Would I enjoy it? Sure. Is it convenient? It seems so. Can I afford it? Definitely. Am I going to buy one? HELL NO!!!

Why? Because the iPad 3 is just another one of Lady Gadget’s classic siren songs. It is the most advanced example yet of Hedonic Adaptation at work. While it may sound confusing to the more Junior Mustachians among us, I am not spending my days searching for immediate enjoyment, thrills or convenience. Instead, I am gunning for the much more elusive goal of lifelong happiness.

So when deciding whether I want an iPad 3, I don’t ask myself if it would be fun or convenient. That’s the wrong question. I ask myself, “will this thing really increase the level of my lifelong happiness?”.

This is a very interesting question for me, because I am already super, duper, ridiculously goddamned happy these days. I’ve worked and studied hard to attain this happiness, so I have learned that for me it comes from freedom, my family and friends, hard work which features both mental and physical challenges, a chance to help others, and constant learning. I’ve also learned that my less happy days are the ones where I become addicted to playing with gadgets and computers, and I end up missing out on the things that make me really happy.

From what I can see, the iPad offers a compelling distraction, but it’s not going to get me out on any more camping trips, and it also won’t help me meet any more great people than I would otherwise meet. It would make my computer life better, and my real life worse.

I’ve also developed another trick to help ease the desire for new electronic toys: I take out some of my obsolete electronic toys and look carefully at them. Just a few years ago, these things were brand new and amazing. I wanted them just as much as I want the iPad. But now they are clunky and junky. Many of them broke after a very short service life, or didn’t work as well as I had hoped.

My 2007 Asus EEE pc netbook lost the ability to type the letter “l” and the headphone jack cracked. My 2010 Nikon P100 digital camera has always taken awful outdoor pictures. My Black and Decker home energy consumption display was never accurate and it constantly drops its connection to the outdoor unit. After a lifetime of getting annoyed at obsolete and broken electronic things, I finally learned that the problem is not with the gadgets, it’s with the guy buying them. So I stopped buying them.

For most of us, there’s yet another reason to avoid buying the new iPad: we already have stuff that does everything it does. I have a desktop computer. I have a laptop computer too*. I even have a pocket computer (an Apple iPhone 4) that fills in the remaining small gap in functionality that the other two left unfilled.

Even with this antiquated set of devices, I am a goddamed computing machine. I can read, write, communicate, and take and edit pictures, movies, and sound from almost anywhere on Earth. If pressed, I could jack into a sound system as I whip out a virtual turntable on the telephone, and mix an impromptu rave for the entire population of Europe, who would dance below my podium on the main balcony of the Vatican. With only a few minutes’ notice. How much more gadgetry could I possibly need?

And if I have this many options open to me with my 7-year-old computers and dusty previous-generation telephone, who the hell are these people who bought the iPad 1, the iPad 2, each of the iPhone versions, a couple of Kindles, and are now Jonesing to get their hands on the Three when it comes out on the 16th? (I actually know a person like this).

They are people who are deeply in need of a Punch in the Face from Mr. Money Mustache, if you ask me.

Sure, there are still a few groups of people for whom an iPad 3 purchase might be reasonable. If you don’t own any other Apple stuff, and have only a big beige desktop computer with a squeaky fan: investing in a tablet might actually help you get more work done. If you’re a wedding photographer and you need the full 2048×1536 resolution of the new iPad to tantalize high-end clients during your pitches to get celebrity wedding gigs, it might be reasonable as well.

But for the rest of us, I think a much better goal is to live with the smallest number of gadgets possible.

If you haven’t even reached Financial Independence yet, the decision is really easy: you can’t yet afford frivolous gadgets – get back to work, and save that money instead. It’s Maximum Mustache March, for goodness sake!

But even if you are infinitely wealthy, dig deep into your soul, and make a list of what you want to do more of between now and the day you die. If one of those activities really is surfing the web even more than you do now, then go ahead and buy the iPad.

But if not, let go of your desire and let’s go out for a bike ride instead. I can see it’s a beautiful 72-degree day and I am closing up this very old computer right now.



* Thanks to a generous MMM reader, I now have a functioning laptop computer again! My old one died last month, and I made a point of not buying a new one, figuring there were surely plenty of old, free ones that would do the job. The one she sent me is missing the letter “B**” (I have to press the rubber nub where the key used to be to get that letter), and it came with a few scratches, cracks, and even bread crumbs. Because of these flaws, it is an absolutely perfect way to get my work done with less risk of gadget addiction. Thanks again friend!

** I will probably be gluing on a new letter “B” eventually, although I do like the idea of the word “Badassity” requiring some actual badassity from my index finger every time I type it.

  • Matt G March 14, 2012, 6:06 am

    You can get a replacement key for about $2-4 for that old laptop.

    • joseph3000 March 14, 2012, 6:21 am

      or you can be extra mustachian about it and pop off that lesser-used ~ key (or another of your choice) and put it in the b spot!

      thanks for this post MMM, i too suffer from gadget addiction (especially concerning the ipad), but i’ve been reprogramming my brain to realize i have other things to cover it’s usefulness (imac, ipod touch) and this post was a good reinforcement!

      • October MacBain March 14, 2012, 6:24 am

        Great Mustachian Minds Think Alike!

        • joseph3000 March 14, 2012, 11:22 am

          yes! haha! the insert key is an even better choice, i actually hate hitting it on accident and overwriting some typing!! i used to remove it just to avoid this.

      • cdub June 9, 2013, 10:43 pm

        Or if you ever do need to replace your computer – say goodbye to microsoft and get a chromebook… used off of craigslist of course.

        they are awesome – long battery life, very fast boot, zero need for backup, zero need for virus protection, and it gets FASTER with every FREE update.

        A Chromebook might be the most Mustachian computer out there. :)

  • October MacBain March 14, 2012, 6:22 am

    When the “P” on my laptop broke, I replaced it with the Insert key, which I never use. Even cheaper than the $2-4 Matt G suggested.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 7:00 am

      Yeah.. $2 bucks is more than this whole computer cost me! It would seem a shame to ruin my “perfectly free computer” accomplishment by spending so much on a “B”. However, I did pop off the B from an older broken laptop and it looks exactly the same. A tiny dab of epoxy glue should work nicely.

      So far, however, I am enjoying pressing the rubber nub.

      • Caroline March 20, 2012, 11:07 pm

        My first and only laptop which has survived 5 years of heavy usage from me is missing the V key. I had to do a double take when I saw the picture of your keyboard!

      • TAO March 23, 2012, 9:39 am

        Careful- without a key, eventually the rubber nub will stop working and you will be reduced to either copying and pasting or remapping your keyboard to create an alternate b. Then you’ll have to change all your passwords so they no longer include a b….

  • Kathy P. March 14, 2012, 6:24 am

    I’ve never bought any Apple product – which I refer to collectively as iThings. When I finally decided to indulge and get an MP3 player, I looked at the iPods (and the price) and settled on a SanDisk Sanza for about 1/4 the cost. That little lower-case ‘i’ is one of the world’s great advertising gimmicks but as far as I can tell no iThingy is enough better than its competitors to warrant the inflated price. IOW, paying extra bucks for iThings is based on the “cool factor” but that’s not a good enough reason for me to own one.

    Someday, when I can see a real use for an iPad I might buy one. But as you said, I already have pretty much all the computing and digital capability I want now, so until I can see a compelling need for one – that is, I need to be able to do something that only an iPad will do – I’ll pass.

    I thought the new iPad was released last week some time. Or was that a different iThing? If there’s a new release coming up this Friday, are people sleeping on sidewalks outside Apple stores yet? [rolls eyes]

    Then there’s the issue of e-waste. According to the EPA, in 2009 over 2 million TONS of electronics were ready for what they refer to as “end of life management” but only 25% were recycled. And “recycling” this stuff often means shipping it to 3rd world countries where people are paid slave wages to disassemble it with no haz mat or environmental protections whatsoever.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 7:08 am

      Yeah, Kathy! I made the same choice as you a few years ago when buying the MP3 player to play through my homemade construction radio. The Sandisk Sansa Fuze seemed perfect at the time. It was 40 bucks, with great functionality and reviews, and a much easier method of adding/removing songs than apple products which require you to run the awful iTunes.

      The Fuze is still kicking to this day. The display is foggy and has specks of sawdust under the glass, but the key is in the simple interface – I only ever need to press one button on it. Press it once to play the music, and the same button to pause the music. The device slowly winds its way randomly through a batch of 2500 songs, whenever I’m working. When I run out of songs every few months, I erase everything and refill it quickly with different songs.

      • Jason Simanek March 15, 2012, 9:21 pm

        I don’t know. My 7-year-old iPod Mini runs like a top and I was able to recently upgrade the original 4 GB micro HD to a 16 GB compact flash card for $50 recently. Great, great products that last much longer than most people find them useful.

        Plus, open source folks have reverse-engineered the older iPods so that they are compatible with free music management programs. For example, I only run Linux systems at home.

        And for anybody that likes to avoid spending money on new electronics, using Linux is a great way to get a fresh, new, snappy computing experience out of older equipment. I can’t recommend it enough.

        • Oh Yonghao August 18, 2014, 1:21 pm

          My 6 year old laptop has ran Linux on it since about 6 months after buying it with Windows Vista. I got fed up with stupid troubles it was giving me and just wiped it and have never looked back. I plan on upgrading the 72Gb spinning drive to a SSD eventually, it does feel a little sluggish, but I have done so many programming jobs on it, from corporate software to websites.

          I bought a used iPod on Craigslist for my wife not knowing anything about iPods. Turns out it had a hard drive that was spitting up SMART errors and about ready to die. I replaced it probably similar to your iPod Mini. Total cost so far has been $85 including buying the iPod (classic 5.5g), the CF converter, the CF itself, and a new battery. Now it has only 32Gb instead of the 80Gb it came with, but lasts longer, is lighter, and has the cool hack factor.

  • Health plans NC March 14, 2012, 6:36 am

    I would suggest taking the old laptop that does not work anymore and sell the keys on ebay. I bought a key for my 2007 dell laptop for $5 (S&H). Found out later, I could have bought the entire keyboard for about $20 and could have sold all the other keys. I still have what the guy shipped me for when this laptop bites the dust, then I will squeeze a little more money out it one more time….Live and learn.

  • Jimbo March 14, 2012, 6:38 am

    In the last weeks I sold a bunch of Electronic Devices on Kijiji (a Wii, a Nintendo DS) from my olden days and that I didn’t use anymore. My main objective was decluttering and netting a little money, for sure.

    But I sure as hell remember thinking : Do I want MORE opportunities to waste my time on video games or LESS opportunities? The answer was crystal clear.

    This week, I was also GIVEN (could you imagine?) an iPhone 3GS by a mac addict who already has two newer versions of the phone… I am entertaining the idea of reselling it for profit, or using it as a wifi Ipod with phone service (in emergencies). I cannot get myself to sign a 3 year data plan… And frankly why would I?

    • Steve March 14, 2012, 7:00 am

      Put a prepaid sim in it and use it for a regular phone and surf the net with wifi.

    • Luke March 14, 2012, 7:00 am

      I just sold my 3GS on Ebay for $185 + $10 shipping. FYI.

    • Melissa March 14, 2012, 10:48 am

      Jimbo, I haven’t looked yet but do you find that kijiji is better for selling electronics than Ebay?

      • Jimbo March 14, 2012, 11:03 am

        I dont know… Kijiji/Craigslist is definitely less hassle (because no shipping) but I wouldn’t be surprised if ebay was more profitable, because of the bidding war.

        I prefer less hassle, though, and shipping is expensive where I am (Canada).

        I managed to get good prices for my things… But I was a motivated seller, I think.

  • Mike Key March 14, 2012, 6:54 am

    Switching to Apple products actually cured my gadget addiction. I used to build custom gaming PC’s and was always upgrading things endlessly.

    Now I’m down too 3 devices. IPhone 4, MacBook Air, iPad 2. And since I’m a programmer/web developer/app developer I can justify all 3 for business because they do help my business.

    No need for the iPad 3. My MacBook Air is a dual core and a few years old, and still works great.

    I think the gadget addiction can be worse for non-apple users. I have a friend who buys a new Android every 6 months it seems. But most Apple users I know continue to use the same products for long time. Two developer friends I know still run G5 Mac Pro’s.

    Seems like only the trendiest people who pretend to have endless disposable income upgrade every product cycle.

    • vwDavid March 14, 2012, 9:51 am


      Although I have always been an apple nutter (20 years now) my macs have always lasted way longer than my PC friends which seemed to endlessly be needed to replace their PCs.

      My last G4 tower ran for 6 years before I couldn’t stand it anymore and my current imac has been running 4.5 years- I don’t see why it can’t outlast the previous record with a little MMM encouragement!


      • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:01 am

        Nice longevity record. But I believe the “Apples last longer than PCs” thing is a bit of an urban legend. They have the same components and are made by the same contract manufacturers. I’ve researched it a bit recently and seen evidence on either side.

        For example, I have an 8-year-old PC laptop that just came back to life after just replacing the $20 hard drive.. good for another eight? And my desktop computer dates back at least seven years (I did upgrade the motherboard/CPU for $100 at some point, but that’s a lot less than a new PC, and can you even upgrade the MB/CPU in a Mac?

        I’ve never, ever had a PC or laptop run less than five years, although Mrs. M’s previous Dell laptop came close, dying just after its 5th birthday (IMO Dell is a bad brand for many reasons).

        • Jimbo March 14, 2012, 10:05 am

          I own a 2004 Dell Laptop running Windows XP that I use for everything…

          Still runs smoothly, but I do regular maintenance. And I sure don’t plan to replace it (although we do have another laptop with newer/fancier graphics).

          I am not replacing them until something explodes AND I can’t repair it…

        • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 10:25 am

          very interesting. This past Fall we replaced our old Dell tower with an iMac, first step to the dark, er, Apple side.

          We seemed to replace PCs every five or six years as they got slower and slower.

          This time we were donating the PC to a teacher pal. It took me about six months to find a guy to wipe our old machine clean of personal data. Cost $50. Am I the only guy who’d pay $50 to give something away??

          Anyhow, after its wash, rinse and dry cycle it thing ran like new. But I already had the iMac……

          so far, we are underwhelmed with the whole Apple thing. That might be because we only really need the basics. That might be there is a learning curve that is a PITA we don’t need. Might be the emperor has no clothes? Heresy, I know.

          • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:32 am

            Good point – one way to drastically improve PC performance in just a few minutes for free is to pop in the original Windows CD, format the hard drive, and let it reinstall itself from scratch. Since I never keep personal stuff on the PC itself (this lives on an external drive in a safe location on my home network with automatic backups), there would be nothing really lost.

            • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 10:49 am

              that’s something I should learn to do.

              where do you save your blog articles? Only on the host or also in your external hard drive?

            • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 1:23 pm

              Hey JL.. the blog articles are mainly stored on Bluehost, which claims to have pretty good backup and recovery. But every month or so, I download the whole blog as a big file and put a copy of it on my own server as well.

              The easiest way to have stuff safe on your home network is to buy a “NAS” server (Network Attached Storage).. should be under a couple hundred bucks for one with a 1TB drive installed. Once you plug it in and do a very quick setup, it then just appears as an extra hard drive, clickable from your desktop. But really, it’s somewhere safe and perhaps even fireproof.

            • Lennier December 5, 2015, 5:12 pm

              The safest way to store your personal info is to print it out, and store it in a thick stack of paper near the floor. Even in the hottest house fire, stacks of paper regularly survive with only the edges and top layers burnt beyond use.
              You can probably also compress the information down using G-Codes or something.

          • Jamie Forrester March 14, 2012, 12:07 pm

            wow $50 to wipe a PC. All the guy did was put a CD in and boot off of it. The CD runs for a few hours and wipes the HD. I did about 300 of them last year for the federal government as part of a contract. It takes 10 minutes each and most of that was triplicate paperwork that an average job wouldn’t have.
            The software is always changing but free stuff is available. Just some time on google will save you a bunch the next time you need to dump a PC.

            • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 12:58 pm


              makes sense, but this whole tech thing is all black magic to me.

        • Chrissy March 14, 2012, 10:28 am

          IME one of the longevity benefits of Apple products is that they often handle more generations of OS upgrades than their PC counterparts. Because it’s all part of the same ecosystem and Apple product development involves hardware and software working together, older machine usually support new OSs with fewer issues. Conversely, we previously had an HP laptop that had to literally sit on ice packs after upgrading from XP to Vista. It was sold and replaced before Win 7 came out, so I don’t know if that was less system intensive.

          Yes, you could argue that the ability of the hardware to support new a new OS is irrelevant, because you could swap out bits and pieces, but I wouldn’t consider that a like-for-like comparison, especially since people do hack and swap innards of Macs (though admittedly more so with towers/desktops than laptops). Also, it’s added hassle, and I don’t like fiddling with hardware :)

          • Dancedancekj March 14, 2012, 5:38 pm

            I have an iPhone 3G. It can’t run any of the iOS 4.0 without chugging and crashing (I had to switch back to the iOS 3.0 series), and it has now gotten to the point where most applications won’t run since the operating system is so old. I don’t think your assessment is correct in all cases regarding Apple products.

        • Mike Key March 14, 2012, 12:50 pm

          It’s becoming more and more of a non-issue these days in regards to upgrading as more and more people move to laptops.

        • BobTX June 18, 2013, 12:07 pm

          Reading through the posts from the beginning, thought I’d throw in some anec(non)data:

          My last dell laptop lasted from 2003 to 2012, with no repairs/replaced components over its lifetime (although I did add some RAM). It still is my field research computer, so I’m not risking my newest Dell, which I hope lasts anywhere near as long.

          My old computer could still:
          *Surf the internet as well as any current computer
          *Do everything I needed it to do (spreadsheets, moderate graphics editing, word processing, old games).
          *Was not much larger or heavier than current ultra-compact laptops when its upper portion was undocked (most of my use of it). People still oohed and ahhed over it up to last year as such a fancy small laptop (it was fun to tell them it was about a decade old and watch the confusion).

          My wife and I have been pretty happy with Dell so far. Our new laptops (this decade’s one big electronic update so far) are amazing.

    • Chrissy March 14, 2012, 10:00 am

      Also, the resale value on Apple products is fantastic if/when you are inclined to upgrade. It’s like buying a Toyota instead of a Ford. I’ve always sold my slightly used devices when buying a new device, and have made money on iPhone upgrades (people will pay a huge premium to buy out of contract) and have paid little more than £50-100 for any laptop upgrade. DH has seen the same when upgrading from iPad 1 to 2 (he won’t be getting 3, because unlike the other change – which offered a built in camera we use for Skyping friends/family in different parts of the world – it doesn’t have any upgrades we’d utilise much). I haven’t got a junkyard of old gadgets, because they’ve all been sold!

      TBH, I’m the same with most things – shoes, gadgets, kitchen devices. We go through our stuff periodically and sell/donate what isn’t being used, anytime we buy anything new (particularly something spendy), it’s on a one in, one out basis.

      • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:05 am

        That’s a pretty good compromise – force yourself to sell any previous gadgets before you’re allowed to buy a new one. Cuts some of the cost and environmental toll, and adds a psycholgical barrier against buying the new one, because it now takes more work.

        • DaveRB40 March 15, 2012, 8:30 am

          Excellent idea MMM, and if you are lucky it will take you a few weeks to sell your old iCrap, and by then the new iThingy you are coveting is 1/2 the price because they just announced the anticipated release of the newer/better/faster/cooler iThingy.

  • Steve March 14, 2012, 7:09 am

    I am not the iCustomer that these companies are looking for. We tend to upgrade every 10 years or so. The only thing I upgrade faster is my phone, but that’s because they take a beating.

  • Poor Student March 14, 2012, 7:21 am

    I haven’t bought an iPad yet but I have also wanted to since I realized they weren’t just a gimmick. Alas I will not be buying this iPad either. I, like you,realize that if I bought it it would just make me spend more time doing things I don’t feel good doing.

    there are ways it would help me but I know that I would either use it when I should be outside enjoying the company of real people or I would neglect to use it and the money would still be spent. Neither way seems like it will make me happier.

    A man can dream though.

  • Kevin Meyers March 14, 2012, 7:29 am

    Hi, my name is Kevin, and I’m a recovering gadgetaholic. I winced a little bit reading this, because I have owned the iPad 1, the iPad 2, and each of the iPhone versions. I also have a MacBook Air and an Apple TV (maybe I should buy some stock). The truth cuts deep. Luckily, as a born again Mustachian, I sold my iPad 2 on eBay, and have vowed to keep my trusty iPhone 4S until it falls apart in my cold dead hands. I saw a dude on the train a few weeks ago using an ORIGINAL iPhone from 2007. Now that is a badass mustachian.

    Thank you for this post. I am going to bookmark it and re-read it whenever my willpower falters. Especially love the last few paragraphs. I should print that out and hang it on my wall.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:10 am

      Uhh.. using the original iPhone isn’t badass Mustachian. Using a flip phone with a black-and-white screen would be a little closer.

      I am amazed that the iPhone 4S sold any copies to the upgrade market at all. I have the #4, my first and probably only Apple product of my lifetime, and it lacks nothing. In my opinion, the phone needs no further improvement, unless they want to make it waterproof and put a stereo studio mic on it :-)

      • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 10:28 am

        ah crap. just checked. my flip phone has a color screen. failed again.

        • CG Morton March 14, 2012, 11:08 am

          If you’re like me, you got that phone for free from the phone company, and it was the worst one they had. I guess there’s not much room for badassity in the cell phone market. Hell, I’ve never paid for a cell phone device in my life, and yet I’ve also never had a cell phone without a camera in it.

          Life sure is crazy!

        • Marlene March 20, 2012, 6:22 am

          Ha, I think my sister beats us all: she even uses a mobile phone that still has an antenna – oh and the screen is yellow-grey.

      • Melissa March 14, 2012, 10:57 am

        I am one of those people with an old flip phone. It still makes calls and I can text (although I only pay $5 for 250 a month instead of $30 for unlimited) so I am not getting a new phone until this one dies.

        Also, we only have one desktop computer in the house. It is a Dell and we have had it for 7 years, replacinv only the fan. Everyone says with 3 kids we should get another computer. For now I think it forces everyone to have good time management skills. Maybe when they get into high school and have more research to do

      • lurker March 15, 2012, 3:51 pm

        hey are you making fun of me and my flip phone?!!!! my daughters just taught me how to text….LOL

        love your blog and lifestyle.
        just got my bike tuned and am loving that too.


    • BDub March 14, 2012, 3:22 pm

      Yep, you should have bought stock, you would be a lot richer:


      Table is only updated through 04’10 so you would need to take all of the stock values and multiply by ~2.7 (tilde key!) to get the up-to-date numbers. Stock is $590 today vs. $220 in 04’10.

  • Matt March 14, 2012, 7:32 am

    It’s worth noting that Apple products are not entirely horrible. Considering the fact that I’m a mobile developer I may end up purchasing a used iPad3 in a few months once they come on the market*. Since I develop iOS app, Apple essentially keeps me paying the bills.

    For what it’s worth I had an original iPhone until the iPhone4 came out. New gadgets while nice, don’t always need to be upgraded with the previous version may do just as well.

    *I also wont be buying an iPad until I’ve finished paying off my remaining credit card debt. If i buy one I will buy it cash.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:12 am

      Good plan! Credit card debt is not compatible with Apple products, or any form of luxury.

      • AA June 19, 2013, 3:36 pm

        Funny you mentioned credit cards… I have a credit card I run as many household bills through as I can to accumulate points on it. After about 7-8 years of doing so, finding nothing I actually wanted to spend the points on, I accumulated enough to acquire an iPad 3.

        I basically use it as an e-book reader and to play a dumb Simpsons game for 5-10 minutes a day before bed that is free to download but keeps begging me to spend money to play but I never do. (I’ve been told it is something like a Simpsons Farmville, whatever Farmville is.)

        You can “go to” other players’ “Springfield”s. It makes me sick to see players that have clearly spent upwards of $100 on “premium items” that are just an entry in a database on a server run by EA somewhere.

  • minhus March 14, 2012, 8:01 am

    Love this post!

    I’m not a gadgetaholic, so the iPad mania is a little lost on me. Since I have a laptop and I *really* don’t need to be on the internet any more than I already am, I see no appeal in this device. I’m sure it’s cool enough that I would love it if I tried it, which is why I’m staying far away! Like you said, the gadgets I do have often lose their appeal after the initial flush wears off and they never last as long as I’d like. And I *really* don’t understand standing in lines to shell out that kind of cash for the latest version.

    I also don’t have a smartphone for the same reason (no more net time needed) and while I love my iPod nano, it’s a second or third gen and is still running (although I have the white screen of death, it works, but you can’t see anything.). Yet none of this feels like a big sacrifice.

  • Joe O (arebelspy) March 14, 2012, 8:07 am

    The Cyanide and Happiness today is a fun one:

  • Chris March 14, 2012, 8:16 am

    There is something very addictive about tech products. It must be the initial “high” you get by researching it and then buying it. However, most of my gadgets have ended up in a drawer, neglected and unused after a couple of months. I’m pretty much down to a Sony laptop (two years old) that survived an Afghanistan deployment, an older ipod nano and a Sony Digital camera I bought through Amazon about 6 months ago, used, for about 150 dollars. If I really want something these days, I try to pick it up slighty used through Amazon for a better price and as a bonus, I don’t feel like I have to “baby” the product since its not new.

  • Geek March 14, 2012, 8:18 am

    DH is a bit of an addict. I’m a casual indulger. I figure I’ll sell the ipad1 and buy the 3, as the 1 has been a lot of fun so far, and the retina display should be game(ha!) changing.

    I am pretty ashamed to say we have a wii, ps3, and xbox 360 though. :( PS3->most expensive blu-ray player EVER.

    • Questionable Goatee March 14, 2012, 8:45 am

      I’m guilty of buying a PS3 as well, but it was my first ‘gaming console’ purchase, ever. That and the original NES round out my entire collection, and that bad boy was a parental gift to my grade-school self (and my sister). Depending on when you bought it, the PS3 wasn’t all that much more expensive than blu-ray players, and it also functions as a very convenient and compact HTPC. As an added bonus, it uses<100W even while gaming, which is much less than most gaming PCs.

      /cease gadget-buying justification attempt

      • Geek March 14, 2012, 9:19 am

        We *did* wait a while before buying, but I don’t feel much better. My excuse/justification is “I work in the games industry! Competitive research!”
        It’s just an excuse though. :) One can experience 90% of popular games, Netflix, whatever with 1-2 devices in a family vs. our (several) PCs, tablets, and consoles. At least we keep or sell the old ones so we’re not just throwing them out… but I’m feeling no need for mustache wax over here…. :/

        • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:14 am

          wii, ps3, and xbox 360.. Why do these products even exist!?! PCs can play amazing games already! There are thousands of them available, most of them virtually free in the used market because people keep upgrading to even newer games! (and that’s without even having to resort to thepiratebay.se ;-)

          • Emmers March 14, 2012, 11:08 am

            Hey, I bought my Wii from a guy who realized he didn’t need 3 consoles, so I’m not complaining! ;-)

          • Questionable Goatee March 14, 2012, 12:57 pm

            I was a dedicated PC guy for quite a long time – hence the gap between NES and PS3 – but after years of living with somebody “in the industry” (like Geek) who was extremely pro-console, I was finally convinced the little buggers had one true area of merit: multiplayer games using the same screen. By sharing a screen, and locating said screen in a more group-friendly room (living room vs. office, in most cases), the whole game-playing experience becomes much more social. The location advantage doesn’t apply to HTPCs, so then it only comes down to game selection. Whether the price of a console is worth it to you depends entirely on how much you play this kind of game…and I can very easily imagine MMM’s rebuttal.

            “This is a moot point, because you should prioritize increasing your level of badassity over your game-playing. Get those employees working for you!”

            (Was I close? And by the way, I don’t disagree with your hypothetical response in the least.)

  • Kenneth March 14, 2012, 8:27 am

    DW and I each have an iPad 2. About a month ago, we knew the iPad 3 was arriving soon, and that we would “want” it in the worst way. But we decided to stick to our mustachian guns and keep going on paying off the last of our debt, our home mortgage, which if everything stays on schedule will be done by the end of this year. We are older and the “retina” display may be easier to read for us and we do a lot of browsing in the evenings on our iPads. So we might upgrade to the iPad 4 (skipping the 3) when they come out in 2013, and rest assured they’ll come out every 12-18 months or so..

    • October MacBain March 14, 2012, 8:53 am

      I wanted an iPad, but couldn’t afford one, so I didn’t buy it. I wanted an iPad2, but couldn’t afford one, so I didn’t buy it. I want an iPad3, and now I CAN afford one… but I won’t buy it, because I don’t NEED it and I know I won’t use it enough to warrant the cost.

      I guess I’m waiting for the i-Implant.

  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple March 14, 2012, 8:32 am

    This really spoke to me for a few reasons.
    1. I think it would be really cool to have an Ipad. I could use it, and I can afford it.
    2. I like the idea of having fewer electronic items. Think of how much it could do!
    3. I also have unused electronic items. So while I *like* my gadgets, I don’t actually USE them.

    I have a kindle that was a gift. It’s great. I do use it, but right now I’m busy reading actual paper books that I got for Christmas. Which I prefer.

    I have a Palm. Which I don’t use. I *want* to use it. I wanted to be organized and have my appointments and grocery list and addresses and phone numbers in one place. But instead, I keep my grocery list on a piece of scratch paper by the fridge, and my appointments on a hanging wall calendar. These don’t need to be plugged in every few days to keep charge.

    I have a pre-paid cell phone that I actually use about once a week.

    Any time I want to think about getting a new Ipad, I just need to pull out the Palm. It’s how I can easily fight the lure of the smart phone also.

    • Lennier December 5, 2015, 6:22 pm

      “I have a Palm. Which I don’t use. I *want* to use it. I wanted to be organized and have my appointments and grocery list and addresses and phone numbers in one place. But instead, I keep my grocery list on a piece of scratch paper by the fridge, and my appointments on a hanging wall calendar.”

      As someone who’s chosen to give the Google Borg my metadata instead of Facebook, my solution is add phone numbers etc as google contacts, use Google Keep for shopping lists etc, and Google Calender for the, well, calender.

  • Kimmie March 14, 2012, 8:44 am

    Can I just say…YOU are SO Awesome and quite frankly amazing!! I love your wit and humor and honesty and how you just say it how it is.

    Loved these two comments:
    “I am gunning for the much more elusive goal of lifelong happiness.”
    “will this thing really increase the level of my lifelong happiness?”.

    You are SO right on the money and I have to laugh as my hubby and you are definitely kindred spirits…my hubby took large speakers and wired them into his “walkman” as a stereo system when he was in college25 years ago…we as well have LARGE totes of wires, and old electronic parts from days gone by.

    YES, when it comes down to it, we should “live with the smallest amounts of gadgets possible”….especially if you have a desk computer AND and iPhone and a good camera…what more do you really need for electronics….those things all cover the bases perfectly.

    Thanks yet again, for making it a JOY to stop by your blog…I love your articles so much and they ring true to the way my hubby and I try to live and how we want to live our lives….enjoying as much lifelong happiness as we can through frugality and marching to the beat of our own drum, even if that’s different than what society deems is normal and good…I’m always AMAZED at how marketing gets people suckered into buying things they don’t need with money they really don’t have(or they should put towards other things) to impress people they really don’t care about.

    Enjoy your bike ride on a 72 degree day…sounds like a wonderful thing to do…it’s a balmy 39 degree rainy day in Idaho where we are live right now…however, I should put on my rain gear and at least go for a walk.

  • James Petzke March 14, 2012, 9:23 am

    I used to buy a computer every ten months or so. I figured it was alright since I worked tech jobs and needed nice new equipment. Then I realized that my computers were working just fine for what I needed, and then only thing driving me to get new ones was gadget addiction. Great post MMM, many people, including myself at one point, have wasted thousands on electronics they don’t need.

  • moneyisntlove March 14, 2012, 9:23 am

    My lovely husband made friends with the gadget addict in his office, and everytime Mr. Gadget gets a new gadget, we get first dibs on purchasing the old one which he has to dispose of due to its obsolence. So far we’ve gotten great deals on a flat screen TV and an iPad one. Try to decide if we need his old Ipad 2.

  • Yuriy March 14, 2012, 9:25 am

    I hate gadgets. Smartphones, tablets, GPSs, especially iThings. Even your little fantasy about owning the iPad I find somehow repulsive. You probably aren’t actually going to use it for those things because there are better tools.
    Apple products in particular are all about marketing and making you a nice consumer.

    If I was going to get a tablet it’d be this one: http://makeplaylive.com/ (OK I actually preordered one already to support the project) Nice intro posts here that I think you would enjoy:

    That said, the addiction still has me and I did buy a Nook a few months ago. My rationale is that it will help or motivate me to read more books. Also I wanted to put technical documents on it to save my eyes from a part of staring at fluorescent lights all day (iPad doesn’t help here!). The only thing I’ve ended up actually using it for is occasionally putting something on it that I would otherwise print out on paper. That’s useful, but overall I think even this has been just a foolish toy purchase just like my MP3 player was 10 years ago and like any other handheld consumer gadget invented in the meantime.

    This post was interesting because it reminds me that PC upgrades and speakers are gadgets too. I’ve been slowing down on the PC upgrades but I used to buy (mostly used!) parts regularly. I’ll think of this post next time a newegg ad and a thought of i7 + 4GB isn’t enough crosses my mind.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:22 am

      Speaking of “Making you a better consumer”, here’s one thing about Apple that really makes me love to hate them:

      iPad 3 with 16GB onboard memory: $499
      same thing with 32GB of memory: $599 <-- Excuse me? When I look up 16GB flash memory cards on Amazon, I get a price of about 13 bucks, with free shipping. So the price should be $512 at the most. iPad 3 with 64GB: $699 <- Wow! Now Apple's price for flash memory has dropped to "only" $50 per 16GB. But Apple makes a point of NOT PUTTING A FLASH CARD slot on their devices, even though even the most basic $20 Mp3 player provides this feature, because they find it more profitable to treat their customers like idiots. And it seems to work! Finally, they offer the same product with 4G data connectivity: $829. Wow. So now we've raised the price by $330 over the base model, by adding $26 of flash memory and a telephone circuit worth... a few more dollars? This upgrade price alone could get me two nearly-new laptops on Craigslist, and the price of the entire device would cover decades of computing needs.

      • elai May 5, 2012, 12:00 am

        Android devices don’t really utilize the flash card. There are many apps and other things you can’t unload to the flash card unfortunately.

      • Greg January 28, 2016, 5:01 am

        Well MMM, since they are in business to make money, I’d say this is a good example of why they are one of the biggest companies (in terms of value) in the world. It’s all about pricing for your market, rather than a direct reflection of the cost of components.

    • Jamie Forrester March 14, 2012, 12:27 pm

      I’ve got a kindle and I love it. At first even though I got the cheapest one they have it was an expensive gadget but recently my library made their ebook’s compatible with it. I’ve not gone from reading 4 of 5 books a year to reading that many monthly.

      Amazon also has a huge number of free new e-books available from authors looking to get a following. Some aren’t bad, some are great.

      I use a program called calibre which each morning goes out and gets various newspapers and sends them to the device for free so when I get up in the morning I wait a minute and then can sit down and read a couple of the papers.

      The e-ink screen is much much nicer to read on then a regular computer screen or an iPad. I don’t miss having the paper feel in my hands at all either. The ability to sit back and read a novel with 1 hand is great. The fact that my entire library could easily fit in it will really help save costs when I move soon.

      My only concern about the kindle is how long will the battery last? When it finally won’t hold a charge long enough to read at least 1 novel I’ll replace it. Besides my PC it is really the only device I’m attached to.

      • IAmNotABartender February 22, 2015, 10:51 pm

        I love my Kindle; it’s the only thing that was able to get me back into reading. I’m glad I got it before I found this blog. ;-)

  • Brad March 14, 2012, 9:51 am

    I guess I just look at the ipad a little different. I’m not a current owner, but probably will be.

    Suppose I spend $629 on the ipad +$40 for the cover + 10% tax (I live in Chicago) for $737 all-in. The data plan is $50 per month on the high-end, say $55 w/ taxes + fees. These things have very high resell value, so after 2 years, I can still resell it for $400 which seems fair given the ipad 2 is worth this on Ebay today. Over 24 months, that is only a cost of ownership of roughly $15 plus the data plan, say $70 per month.

    That seems quite reasonable when you compare that to other expenses + what the device accomplishes, i.e. lightning fast internet via the LTE network, reading device like Kindle, TV/cable access via Hulu, etc.

    • Gus March 14, 2012, 11:10 am

      In other words, it only costs you about 1680$ after tax dollars for the privilege of renting this idevice for 2 years?

      Sounds like a deal… Sign me up!

  • Patrick March 14, 2012, 10:34 am

    Reminds me of the time that Trent decided NOT to replace his iPod Touch. I disagreed with him too.

    I think you are forgetting an important factor here: the total cost of ownership, and the value that you get from the purchase.

    My parents sold their iPad 1 about a month ago for $385 on eBay. Their total cost of ownership was under $150. Apple products retain their value extremely well.

    The value that they received from owning that device was insanely high.

    Apple products have one of the lowest costs of ownership, because the resale is so good.

    If you value fun and entertainment, I realize that you can get those things for free, in other ways. But the iPad is so darn cheap, and versatile (your kids can benefit from it, so can grandma looking at pictures on it, etc.)

    At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I would say you are missing out on a good value here. Buy for $500, use it for a year, sell it for $400. Very, very few products or entertainment purchases can even come close to that kind of huge value.

    My 2 cents anyway…..

    • Gus March 14, 2012, 11:18 am

      Do you think that this cycle can perpetuate itself into infinity?

      There is only so many billion humans on the planet. Once everybody has a idevice, who will buy your used one? Will the resale value hold?

      I don’t think anybody should buy anything solely based on resale value since it depends on so many factors outside of your own control. Yes, consider it as part of the decision making process, but don’t make it as the golden rule (e.g., I only buy apple products because the resale value is so high).

      Besides, the resale value is built into the price of the new device.

  • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 10:38 am

    there are not many advantages to being a geezer, but maybe having come of age in a time before technology is one of them. Companies had yet to figure out this whole people will buy shiny new things because they are shiny and new thing.

    Oh sure, every now and again Ug would put a slightly different napping to his spear heads and some would rush to trade for them. Personally, I always found my old heads brought down the Mammoths just fine.

  • Des March 14, 2012, 10:41 am

    Hmm, I think the iPad is just an easy target for saying that buying anything new is un-frugal. A new vanity for my bathroom costs more than an iPad, and my old vanity works fine (it just *looks* ugly and out-dated). A year of data on a smartphone costs as much as an iPad, we could pick on smartphones too, if we want.

    Personally, I have never been a technophile, so I don’t “get” the jonesing for new tech that everyone seems to suffer from, but I do get that people have different priorities. I may not be buying an iPad (or smartphone, or new vanity) but we are looking at getting a small tractor to work our acreage. That will cost many times what an iPad does. Some folks would rather live in a condo with a new iPad, I would rather live in the country and grow all my own food. TETO.

    I would think that Mustacian technophiles would be jumping of joy every time Apple comes out with a new version of an old product, because it makes the older (very nearly as functional) version cheaper. Just *think* how cheap 1st gen iPhones are now! In a couple years, 1st gen iPads will be giant paper-weights. :)

    • Kenneth March 14, 2012, 12:55 pm

      Well put, we all get to choose. Although earlier I mentioned I’m going to wait for the iPad 4, to allow me time to finish paying off my house this year, I won’t have the slightest guilt buying 2 iPad 4’s in 2013. They are quality products and my wife and I use our iPad 2s about 4-5 hours per day each. If you use something that much, I think it IS frugal to get good quality and use the heck out of them. My cell phones are $25 a month each, we have no cable/satellite, I brownbag my lunch to work every day and drive a 9 year old car with 135,000 miles on it. I do allow myself a few luxuries, and a good iPad is one of them!

  • Jimbo March 14, 2012, 10:46 am

    Hey everybody!

    Do you like your eyes? Do you enjoy being able to roam the world and see things?

    Then please stop considering the iPad/iPhone/any backlit screen as a reading device ok.

    If you’re serious about wanting to read, it’s ebook or real book. That is it. (Both available through your local library!)

    Other devices are an unnecessary strain on the eyes and a justification to buy a device you will use to play angry birds, NOT for reading purposes.

    • Des March 14, 2012, 11:03 am

      I’m interested. Cite your source?

      • Jimbo March 14, 2012, 11:09 am

        I don’t have a source at hand, but haven’t you read articles about computer screens straining your eyes?

        I am not talking about the LCD screens, which are not as bad. But Iphone/Ipad are backlit, and these are bad for your eyes. Experience AND science seem to agree on this one.

        I will respectfully suggest to google for a source.

        I own a kindle and i can read forever on it. But 10 minutes of reading on an iPad convinced me not too.

        • Des March 14, 2012, 11:19 am

          You’re right, I can google it. And I did. The first several results revealed that there are no negative long term effects from staring at a back-lit screen. Staring at anything for a prolonged period of time can cause eye strain (even reading) and very bright screens can enhance this, but the effects are only temporary and do not cause long term deterioration of sight.

          From one: “Many people assume increased computer use is the source of these complaints [of eye strain]. But extensive testing in government and private laboratories has not produced scientific evidence that computer monitors will harm your eyes.”

          • Jaclyn March 14, 2012, 11:27 am

            This is off the topic of the original MMM post, but I recently read an article that reading in dim light also does not cause long-term weakened vision (like my grandma always said it would!). All it does is cause your eyes to get tired faster.

        • Des March 14, 2012, 11:23 am

          Of course, my sources could be outdated. Hence my request for yours. I am open to believing it causes harm, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t.

          • Jimbo March 14, 2012, 11:27 am

            No long term adverse effects does not equate to no adverse effects.

            Although I was exaggerating when i put emphasis on the loss of eyesight.

            But still, don’t you get unconfortable reading on an iPad for a prolonged period? I sure do. And I dont when I read a book or ebook.

            Just saying.

            • Des March 14, 2012, 1:23 pm

              I personally don’t get uncomfortable reading my kindle app on my work iPad. The worst I could say is that the lighting keeps me up if I read in bed at night. I guess that could be an adverse effect. Still, I think its a stretch to say that you shouldn’t get an iPad is you value your eyesight. If someone doesn’t mind reading a book on a computer screen, I would think they would be fine with any other back-lit screen.

            • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 1:44 pm

              I agree with the electronic-screen likers. I’ve read loads of books on laptop screens, and even a couple of entire books on the 3″ screen of my iPhone. My eyes are still fine and I’ve never needed glasses.

              In fact, I got an interesting boost to my eyesight when I quit working in engineering. Back then, I did about 10 hours of screen time per day. And I had trouble reading small street signs when driving at night. After I quit, I started using a screen less than three hours a day. My eyes sharpened up and they have remained sharp, even at night!

              Of course, this could also be because I was getting older.. but my close-up vision has not suffered as witnessed by being able to read tiny letters on the phone screen. So I think this just counts as another score for quitting your office job :-)

            • Kay January 18, 2015, 11:22 am

              You may be interested in a related issue, the affect of blue light from electronic devices after dark on circadian rhythms and the quality of sleep. I read on my android tablet but use an app called Bluelight filter after dark to filter out the “daylight” spectrum. Apparently too much of that after dark prevents the natural production of melatonin which helps you relax into sleep. There is an article on Mark’s Daily Apple with study links. You can search the site for blue light.

  • Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple March 14, 2012, 10:58 am

    I read a hilarious article the other day about the REAL people who will benefit from the release of the iPad 3: the kids of the people who will be handing down their old iPad to buy the new one.


  • Mike D in NJ March 14, 2012, 11:12 am

    I happen to really like Apple products, I hate Windows OS and Linux is too much of a bother for me, so Apple is a nice compromise. I NEVER buy new. I’ll either look for something used locally or get it refurbished from Apple.

    I also love Apple announcement events. Generally what happens is they announce a new device, all the devices in their refurbished section of the store drop significantly in price and I can snatch up something on the cheap(er). Case in point when the iPad2 was announced I was able to get a refurbished iPad1 for $349 instead of the $449 they were selling at earlier in the morning. Staying a step behind isn’t such a bad thing, and quite honestly my iPad1 does everything I’d use a 2 or 3 to do. I have no reason to take pics/facetime with my iPad.

  • Jaclyn March 14, 2012, 11:22 am

    I bought an iPad 3 this week and I hope I do not lose my mustache (albeit a very small stache) status over it. In my defense, my laptop is 7 years old and barely functioning. And now that I am done with grad school, I cannot bring my self to spend $1,200 on a new laptop that will only be used to surf the web. I was already planning on getting an iPad when my computer finally died.

    When we got our tax return, I decided to put 10% towards “fun” stuff. My husband is a spender and I like to do little things like this every once in awhile so I don’t seem so draconian. When we talked about what we might want, I said all I wanted was to save up for an iPad. He told me to just get it and that he was fine with only having $150 in spending money. The other $6,000 of our refund was split between savings and debt. I have to admit, though, I have become so disciplined that it made me sick to my stomach spending that $500.

  • Dan G March 14, 2012, 11:31 am

    This is a bit embarrassing, but I’m a recovering gadget addict. Lying around me right now I have my laptop, a Nook Color, an iPod Touch, and a cell phone. I like to tell myself that I’m being frugal about buying each gadget. The laptop was bought at a discount, the Nook Color (rooted with Cyanogenmod installed) was much cheaper than any comparable tablet option at the time, and the iPod Touch/prepaid cell combo is far less expensive than an iPhone. Are they all really worth it, considering the overlapping capabilities? Probably not. To top it off, the motherboard on my desktop just blew. It would cost about $50 to replace. To fix or not to fix?

  • Value Indexer March 14, 2012, 11:56 am

    Seeking greater happiness with your life is a great quest that many can learn from. But I have to wonder, are you focusing on the experiencing self or the remembering self?

    As shown by some recent psychology research and highlighted in a TED talk, your satisfaction with what you’re doing at the moment and your satisfaction with what you’ve done in the past can be very different. For example a long and unpleasant experience can seem better than a shorter experience that gets worse at the end. And there was something about unusually long vacations being good from one perspective and bad from the other but I’m not sure which way that went.

    If you want to maximize your lifetime happiness, there are at least two versions to choose from. I’m guessing some combination of the two would be the ideal.

  • Dragline March 14, 2012, 12:13 pm

    Hmm — I wonder how cheap iPad2s will be now? Although I still can’t say I have and good reason to get one.

    I’ve got some things that are so old they are practically museum pieces — like a Radio Shack speaker phone from 1985. Still works, dammit! (Better hide it again before my DW tries to throw it away!)

    I once let my kids take a sledgehammer to an old phone. Probably the best use for obsolete electronics that I have come up with.

    • Sweta March 14, 2012, 12:40 pm

      Apple has refurbished iPad 1 and 2 on their website: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/ipad

      Refurbished iPad with Wi-Fi 16GB – Black (first generation) $299
      Refurbished iPad 2 with Wi-Fi 16GB – Black (second generation) $349

      • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 1:36 pm

        Wow, that’s an interesting piece of data.. I wonder why people are supposedly paying $400 on ebay for a used iPad 2?

        I find Apple resale value bizarre. If I WERE going to buy an iPad, I would gladly pay at least twice as much to get the version 3 instead of a used version 2.

        First of all, the new device will have much more of its service life left (especially the expensive lithium battery which only lasts a few years). Secondly, the new iPad has FOUR TIMES the screen resolution. In a tablet computer designed to show pictures and books, screen resolution is everything. And that’s before considering increased speed or any other improvements.

        But again, the ultimate improvement is spending more time outside instead. I have been out biking and working all morning now, and I feel better than a thousand iPad 3s!

        • FreeUrChains March 14, 2012, 1:53 pm

          Actually some predeccesor Generations of Ipods are a lot more functional and durable then current generation Ipods. This is why resale is bizarre with Apple Products.

        • steveinfl March 15, 2012, 3:48 am

          Someone who works for me and makes about half of what I do said “i know you will think i am crazy but i just preordered the latest iPad.”. I asked him why since he owns an ipad1, macbook and new iphone. He said because he wants the higher speed processor and the camera. I will wager that faster processors are like hemi-engines- most regular people cannot tell the difference in performance and quality but it sure makes it sound like I have something better than you do (mine is bigger!).

          I told him I’d give him $50 cold hard cash for his iPad1. I’d use it when flying for work, for reading ebooks and web browsing. He laughed me off. I’ll bet he comes back in a few weeks and offers it to me for $50 anyway once he gets his new $899 toy. When that time comes I’ll offer $25. It’s worth $25 to me. Maybe.

  • Carlos E March 14, 2012, 1:35 pm

    What is like to own an Apple product: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple

    There’s a lot of wisdom

  • FreeUrChains March 14, 2012, 1:42 pm

    I am rocking a hand built Forge for entertainment. Nothing better then making a sword from scratch to destroy tossed out electronics to pieces, or watermellon manikins in the Summer. Cutting up Consumerism :) (however, I prefer to reuse when possible)

    Ever seen someone shoot a flaming arrow into a River? Yeah, neither has Youtube yet.

  • FreeUrChains March 14, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Electrical Engineers get to Use other people’s Money for Electronics :) But they have to be enslaved to working for other’s while they do so :( until they find college used soon to be thrown out electronic workbenches…

  • FreeUrChains March 14, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Anyone own an Ebook on How to plant a Tree, lol jk.
    Avoid addictions to MMO’s too! Even if they are free-to-play, your desire to become a virtual God will get you to open up your real-life wallet. Play God with those Ant hills outside..better yet make a First Person perspective wireless nano cam and attach it to one of the worker ant’s heads.

  • Wiiksi Wallu March 14, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Here’s something for badass people who love to tinker with technology: Raspberry Pi (http://www.raspberrypi.org). That’s a computer for $25. Who needs a casing for the computer anyway? Or a hard disk? Or … Like I said, badass! Being a size of a credit card makes it ultimately mobile as well :-) Might not be quite as cool in some circles but extremely cool in some others (us nerds).

    There’s a shortage of R-Pi on the market now as they have only started shipping a short while ago. I will happily wait until they get one shipped here.

    Actually, evaluating devices, planning to buy them, and eventually waiting for the device/gadget to arrive could very well be the best part of the whole illness of gadgetry. The happiness wears off very quickly after the new device gets unboxed and booted up for the first time. Just like with kids on Christmas. Adult toys just tend to be more expensive. And the cure is the same as well: delayed gratification. Makes your life so much easier (and cheaper!) once the kids “get it”.

  • FreeUrChains March 14, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Applying Lifelong Happiness Concept is a must for lifelong relationships. The relationship must generate happiness for the two of you, and this is only acheived with the proper environments and goals set in each of your lives.

  • Shanna March 14, 2012, 2:50 pm

    Your last two posts have been perfectly coordinated. My 15 minutes are almost up.

    Most people I see with the new shiny don’t even know how to work it anyway and just play Words with Friends. So $800-1000 for a Scrabble game, Unnecessary Facebooking and texting while I am talking to you? I would rather talk to my kids who can actually hold a conversation.

    I still yearn for my old flip phone that fit comfortably in my hand and was easy to use. Flip phones don’t butt dial people. Since I am not techy I also want my pictures and movies of my babies that are being held hostage in my old cell phones. (no sim card)

    • Shanna March 14, 2012, 2:51 pm

      Oh, and just this post alone makes you an awesome parent.

  • MyCanadianFinances March 14, 2012, 3:01 pm

    If buying an Ipad did not leave such a dent in the wallet I still probably would not get one. I stopped being crazy over the Ipad as soon as I had used my Iphone for a month or so. Although it would be a fun toy to have, I don’t believe they are functional at all. At least for someone who wants to do any work on them.

  • Triskaidekaphobia March 14, 2012, 3:39 pm

    A great article a year ago the Wall Street Journal covered the economic reason not to buy the iPad. Check out “The $2000 iPad” on March 30, 2011 by Brett Arends. It offers a way of thinking about purchases similar to those on MMM. Here is the URL:


    • Kathy P. March 16, 2012, 5:56 am

      Check out the comments too. LOL! The same hostility that frugal finance people everywhere encounter. Oh well, they’ll learn. The hard way.

      • Kathy P. March 16, 2012, 5:59 am

        “…they’ll learn” –> meaning, the hostile commenters.

  • Fred Ross March 14, 2012, 3:44 pm

    I managed to escape gadget addiction very early on somehow. I think it’s because when I ended up in high energy physics way back when, computers suddenly became commodity units, as in, “By my calculations, I need thirty four nodes and a master controller. Right, line ’em up.” Whatever machine I was sitting at was a terminal to an invisible web of computing power. And that invisible web of computing power isn’t something you dream of expanding because you’ve got to maintain the thing, and the bigger it is, the more maintenance it requires.

    As for an iPad, they’re cute, but after playing with one for a minute or two in the store, I’m always puzzled by what I’m expected to do with it. It’s awkward to type on, so I can’t write. It won’t permit any kind of programming. At this point my content is delivered to my email inbox, so I don’t really browse the web that much. And I don’t like reading on them, or any screen, including Kindles, Nooks, and other eInk displays, nearly as much as a printed books. And between my major city library, my major state university library, my remarkable local used bookstores, and the online used book market I can have pretty much any printed book I might care to read, and my own personal copies of any of those I really liked and want to keep to hand, for a couple hundred dollars a year. I have yet to see any electronic reading device offer me anything like that value.

    Apple’s iThings are iniquitous, and their desktops overpriced, but their laptops are actually very good.

  • carolinakaren March 14, 2012, 4:33 pm

    I don’t seem to suffer from gadget addiction, but I’m not oozing with badassity on the topic either. Our laptop is over 4 years old now and still plugging along. We almost bought a few one in February, but fortunately decided to continue growing our mushtache instead! My brother gave me his iPhone 3G a couple of years ago and for awhile I used my SIM and just surfed wifi. It worked fine that way. I think I will go back to that method soon, as I don’t use the data package very much. This is the best though…. John just did away with his old Panatech flip phone in January. Yup, and it had a black and white screen too! The display was dying. He has a 3GS iPhone now. We really couldn’t justify the newer versions yet, since we are both smartphone newbies.

  • Parizade March 14, 2012, 5:28 pm

    ha, your laptop keyboard looks just like mine! The keys work just fine without those plastic caps, why bother replacing them? I have better things to do.

  • msmo March 14, 2012, 5:41 pm

    breaking gadget addiction is hard to do. instead of selling older or obsolete devices on the internet i wonder if i might not get more value out of them by displaying them all over the apartment, causing me to hang my head in shame instead of lusting after the newest devices. maybe in the living room where i do my web browsing and subject to shiny ads.

  • Fawn March 14, 2012, 6:10 pm

    MMM–just wanted you to know that you have a few non-tech-addicted fans. In my household of one middle-aged parent and three teens, we have one (!!!) four year old Dell laptop, four Nokia flip phones, one Generation 1 I-pad touch bought by the the 13 year old w/ his own money on e-bay and no television, cable, dish-network.

    We do have three persons that make music with eight different instruments (alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet, keyboard, percussion [drums, bells, etc], bass and guitar) and one audience member who pays for the instruments.

    Used musical intruments are easy to buy and sell and provide decades of enjoyment without needing to be upgraded.

    ??? You all don’t buy apples??? We buy and eat apples all the time. Hmmm.

  • Tim March 14, 2012, 6:32 pm

    An iPad is one of those newfangled moving pictures devices, right?

  • bogart March 14, 2012, 6:58 pm

    New here; enjoying the site and the provocative posts.

    You write, “iPad 3 … incorporates every electronic feature and technology that has ever been invented by the human race.” Perhaps (not sure the one I’m going to mention qualifies as ‘electronic’), but it’s lacking a critical one in my book: The Keyboard.

    Just think of the money learning to touch-type back in the 7th grade has saved me now …

    • Gerard March 15, 2012, 10:07 am

      Yeah, bogart, I would have to say my high school touch typing class was probably the most useful learning experience I’ve ever had. And I’m a freakin’ university professor!

  • Jay March 14, 2012, 7:16 pm

    Let me ask the question of purchasing a different way. With your penchant for electronic gadgets, would you change your decision if you knew you had only 3 months to live? What I’m getting at is we don’t know *how long* our *lifelong happiness* will be, right?

    So are you depriving yourself when you are able to afford it for a goal that may be 1yr out or 30yrs out? I believe you’d feel differently if you were aware that your lifelong happiness is 1yr away vs.30.

    It’s difficult to reconcile living in the here and now with posts like this. We are not guaranteed infinite time on this earth. That is one lesson that is not discussed very often here….just an observation.

    • Fawn March 14, 2012, 7:42 pm

      Jay- as someone who hangs out with persons with a life expactancy of 60 days or less every day (I am a hospice nurse), I gotta tell ya, none [let me repeat that] NONE of them are intersted in tech gadets.

      People who know they are dying SOON are interested in relationships and in what meaning their life has had. Steve Jobs might have been an exception, I don’t know. I was not his hospice nurse.

    • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 8:23 pm

      Now this, to me, is a very interesting take.

      Often I find the comments about the sacrificing made to reach FI a bit odd. Never felt that way to me.

      FI is simply one of the many things money can buy. Since it was so important to me I loved “spending” (investing) my money on it.

      If I had the proverbial 6 months to live there is nothing I would buy. But then, I don’t much like owning things. Indeed, I’f likely accurate my divesting.

      But for those who have a burning desire to own something, well, interesting question.

      Take houses. Those who took out these remarkably unsustainable mortgages a few years back have been roundly criticized. But if I were poor and living in some cold water flat and was offered a chance to buy a brand new home…..

      ….even if I knew, and most didn’t, i’d lose it…..

      ..well at least I’d have had the experience.

      • jlcollinsnh March 14, 2012, 8:25 pm

        “accelerate my divesting” is what I meant.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:17 pm

      I’m with Fawn on this one. Pretty much the WHOLE REASON for this entire web site, is that there is No Deprivation Whatsoever from denying yourself these modern luxury purchases.

      Food and shelter? Those are handy. Tools that help you express your creativity, like paint brushes, musical instruments, or even a functional computer so you can have internet access – sure. But duplicate gadgets, clothes, fashionable shoes, and pretty much anything that comes from a shopping mall? I doubt it.

      It may sound like a paradox, but it turns out that buying fewer things makes us happier. It takes a while to realize this, if you’ve spent your whole life buying things. But really, there is much greater pleasure in figuring out how to have a life with less stuff. The simplifying stage can become a healthy addiction as you shed things and start to live more.

      • Jasper March 18, 2012, 6:53 pm

        I agree with you.
        PS I have never even thought about buying an ipad.

  • Huck March 14, 2012, 9:40 pm

    I’m surely not as badass as MMM but I looked into buying a NAS and ended up repurposing a 10 year old desktop PC by putting FREENAS (http://www.freenas.org/) on it and stuffing it full of some cheap drives set up in a software raid5 configuration. No monitor, keyboard or mouse…just a box sitting in my basement serving up files to anyone on our network! The whole freenas system is installed on and runs from a 256MB USB thumb drive (thats right, the one you thought was such high capacity only a short time ago but now feels only slightly better than a 5.25″ floppy disk). Perhaps it uses more power than a dedicated NAS but it was a fun and geeky project. You can set up automatic backups to an external drive that you might store in a fireproof location or off site. And/or you can backup to the cloud using something like Spideroak. There are other free NAS options (OpenFiler is another) but so far I’ve been happy enough with freenas that I have not looked elsewhere.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 14, 2012, 10:24 pm

      That sounds quite a neat hacking project Huck, thanks for the tip.

      I’ve done that with an old computer simply running Windows and doing file sharing (at the time I also had it running web, FTP, and mail servers too since this was back in the days when buying real web hosting was expensive). But this dedicated NAS software sounds useful and simple.

      Another thing you can never do with an old iPad, since they don’t provide general-purpose USB ports or other hardware connectors :-)

    • Gus March 15, 2012, 8:15 am

      I am going to recommend a paid *GASSSP* version of a dedicated NAS software.

      I have been using UnRaid (there is a free version limited to 2 hard drives and a paid for version with unlimited hard drives) for a few years and I am positively satisfied by it.

      Unraid runs on an old obsolete computer of mine and boots from a usb stick. The main difference between UnRaid and other NAS softwares is that it offers redundancy and data loss protection without the drawback of Raid solutions.

      The way it works is that you have as many data drives as you want and you also need a parity drive that must be as large as the largest drive in your array.

      If 1 of your drives suddenly dies (there are integrated tools that tells you if a drive is about to die), you only need to replace it and the software rebuilds your data.

      Even if you do not replace the drive right away, you can still access all of your data. Although this is not very recommended because of the following point.

      If 2 of your drives die at the same time, data loss is limited to what was actually on those drives. The rest of the data is fine.

      You can build 21 data drives arrays (i.e., up to 63 Terabytes of data!) and read and write speeds can be very fast (I get up to 100 MB sustained write and 110 read).

      Sorry about blaberring on, I just find this very cool.

  • Kevin March 15, 2012, 12:29 pm

    Guilty. I’m a total gadget nerd – I think I am pretty good at restraining myself, but every few years I splurge on something new. I will need to remember this post, and re-read it the next time I get the itch, because I think you made quite a compelling argument against me buying a majority of the gadgets I end up talking myself into.


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