Resist the Urge to Upgrade

It’s happened to all of us.

We go to work, school, or wherever, and one of our friends has upgraded their cell phone, laptop, or even their car. They start gushing about their new purchase, saying how much better their life is now.

This causes us to want to upgrade, too. Suddenly that perfectly functional phone isn’t good enough anymore. Waiting a few seconds for an older laptop to open a program becomes more than a minor inconvenience.

An interesting thing happens at that point, something I’ve seen a million times. A decision is immediately made to upgrade. The rest of the time is spent justifying that choice.

We all want nice things. That much is obvious. But if we can delay the upgrade cycle by even just a little while, it’ll save tens of thousands of dollars during your adult life. Perhaps even more.

Say a new phone costs $700 every three years. Over a 30-year timeline, you’ll spend about $7,000 on new phones. Delay the upgrade cycle to every four years and you’ll save $1,750.

It’s even more pronounced with cars. Say you spend $30,000 on new wheels each decade. By delaying the upgrade cycle to every 12 years, you’ll save $15,000 over the course of 30 years.

Delaying the cycle also gives someone the option of shopping around for better deals. Picking a specific moment to buy a new car makes it unlikely you’ll be able to find a great deal. A window of one to two years makes it easier to be patient.