Last weekend, I bought something that has been on my “wants” wishlist for well over a year. A Garmin Forerunner 910XT. It’s a watch with GPS features, an awesome training tool for triathlon, since it tracks distance and pace and all sorts of other things on land and in the water.
(If you’re not into athletics, this sounds like an incredibly stupid purchase. So for the purposes of this post, pretend I’m talking about something super cool you want, like an iPad or a fancy car part or an expensive pair of shoes. Or whatever floats your boat.)
I’ve lusted after one of these things for so long. But they retail for $400. Even Amazon doesn’t have a good discount.
Besides, I had a different, lesser version of a GPS watch. It didn’t do everything I wanted it to, but it worked, so I didn’t need a new one. Make do, right?
Then my watch died. And it’s out of warranty. I could get it repaired for $75. Clearly, $75 is less than $400, so it was the smart financial choice.
Of course, I mentioned this to a friend, who informed me that REI had the 910XT on sale for $300 with a $50 rebate. $250 is still more than $75, but it’s closer. So I started to take a look at my budget. I did have the funds set aside. It wasn’t what I was planning to spend the money on. But it wasn’t really an impulse purchase either, since it has been on my wishlist for so long.
Then I got an email that Ebates had REI on special and the cash back was doubled from 2.5% to 5%. That’s another $15 back. It drops the price to $235. So the question was, did I want to spend $75 or did I want to spend $235? Or rather, were the extra features of the better watch worth $160 to me? I debated for a while and decided to go for it. All of these deals were clearly a sign that it was the right time to spend the money. And I’m so glad I waited. I could have bought it full price at $400. But waiting proved to me that it really was something that I wanted to spend my money on. No buyer’s remorse here!
(And yes, I realize that the fact that this item went on special could potentially mean that a newer, better version is coming soon, even though the watch is back up to full price on REI as of today. But I don’t need the newer, better version. Because the watch isn’t worth it to me at $400, and I’m sure the newer version will be even more expensive. No, I have done my research and this one does what I want it to. Besides, I’m not the sort who needs the latest and greatest technology. I’m happy being a generation behind and saving some money.)
This taught me that my attempt to always wait on bigger purchases is the right way to go about it. Instead of dropping money on something that I thought I wanted right then, I waited. There have been other times I’ve wanted to buy something and then weeks later, realized that it wasn’t something I wanted at all. Sure, instant gratification is awesome. But waiting and knowing you made the right decision feels even better.
(As an aside, I’ve written about Ebates before, but if you’re an online shopper and not a member, you are missing out! I signed up back in 2008, and since then, have received almost $800 in cash back through PayPal payments. And all you have to do is shop through their portal. No gimmicks, no tricks. I know there are other deals sites that do this as well, such as one through Southwest Airlines that gets you miles, but Ebates is my favorite because they give you cold hard cash. Seriously. Check it out.)