Why It’s Good Not to Be a Trend-Setter

Why It’s Good Not to Be a Trend-Setter

The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate:

The new iPad at breakfast
photo credit: rodtuk

I’ve never been what you would call “cool.”   I know that I’m never going to be a hip trend-setter.

And you know what?  I am totally okay with that.

Keeping up with the latest and greatest can cost you some serious money.  It’s better to shop intentionally than to follow the hype.

First, let’s talk about clothing.

If you’re a fashion maven, you spend a lot of time shopping at the mall, often paying full price for the latest styles.  Six months later, those items have been abandoned in the back of your closet.  Your wallet is lighter, your closet is fuller, but you feel as if you have nothing to wear.  As budgets get tighter,  It can be stressful to maintain your expensive style.

Instead, stick to classic pieces for your wardrobe in classic colors.  Use accessories you find on sale or at thrift stores to give style to wardrobe.  It is far easier to swap out a scarf that no longer works with “your look” than to swap out your entire wardrobe.  Buy the best quality pants, skirts, tops, sweaters, and suits and then use those as the foundation of your wardrobe.  Learn to mix and match to make many different outfits from just a few key pieces.

You’ll save money with this strategy, and because you are investing in higher quality clothing, it will last longer.

Now let’s talk about gadgets.

Are you an early adopter?  Do you pre-order the latest and greatest gadgets as soon as they are announced?

While it may be fun to have the newest iPad or Kindle Fire or video game, it can be expensive.  You’ll pay premium prices for a new gadget at the peak of its media hype.   Remember when people camped out to spend $700 on the first iPhone?  A little patience can get you one for $100 today.

New gadgets don’t always have the bugs worked out yet, either.  Up until the product is launched, all you hear are all of the wonderful things this new gadget will bring to your life.  It’s easy to get caught up in all of the positives and forget that the item being sold to you may have some drawbacks.

A better strategy is to is to exercise a bit of patience when it comes to buying new gadgets.  Let the early adopters discover software glitches, overheating issues, or dropped calls.  Then, wait until the company has resolved these issues before deciding if the gadget is still a must-have.  You may discover that the product was mostly hype and it won’t meet your needs.  In that case, you’ve saved yourself a lot of money!

Or you may discover it is a quality item that you really want.  If that’s the case, you’ll be able to save to pay cash for the gadget, and because it’s no longer the hot new thing, you’ll pay less for it.  The iPad 2 dropped $200 in price the day the “new iPad” was announced.   A little patience can save you a lot.

Get comfortable with yourself.

One of the best things you can do for your personal finances is to learn contentment.  Learn to be happy with what you have.  Now, I’m not saying that you should never have the things you want.  By all means, if you have the money to spend, and it’s something you value, then go for it.  But don’t buy things because you’re trying to impress others.  Don’t buy things just because “everyone else” has one.   Be your own person.  Determine what things you value and learn to be patient.

Delaying gratification isn’t always sexy or fun, but it can save you from making a bad purchase.

Do you have to have the latest and greatest?

Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas.  She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 6-year-old and twin 4-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.
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