Navigating the Hazards of Impulse Purchasing

iphoneThis Christmas, I received a 32 GB iPod Touch as a gift – yes, it was the main gift I received this year. Unsurprisingly, after receiving such a cool gadget, I spent much of the last week playing with it – I can now Twitter with it, check my email on it, have a feed reader set up so I can read blog posts anywhere, and tons of other things.

One of the more intriguing features of the iPod Touch (and also the iPhone) is the availability of an “App Store” with just one bump of the finger. With the App Store, you can just push your finger on the screen a few times and download new applications for the device – things like games, productivity tools, and so on. Many of these items are free, but some of them cost a few dollars. Even more tempting – with just a finger push, you can download music from the iTunes Music Store – $0.99 a song.

At first glance, you might think this is really convenient – and it often is. I don’t need to be near my computer to listen to a particular song or download a game – just a couple of finger flicks and it’s downloaded. Sounds nice, right?

The problem with that is it becomes very easy to get very used to the convenience – and download more than you think. I know I certainly ran into this over the last week. Without thinking too much about it, I downloaded two albums and five different paid apps – and the bill totaled $36. Wow.

Thankfully, I received a $25 iTunes gift card that paid for most of these expenses, but it’s actually another sign of how convenient the downloads are – I didn’t actually believe I had already spent the whole gift card until I sat down and actually added up the numbers myself.

Here’s the thing: this is bound to become a more and more prevalent problem as technology advances. I know that my wife feels a similar temptation with the Kindle she’s had for more than a year now. Instead of having to go to the library or to the bookstore, she can just click a few times on her Kindle and download virtually any book she might want to read – but for most books, it costs her a bit. Many cell phones have downloadable applications that provide a similar temptation, too.

Given that I already see myself using my new device on a daily basis, how exactly can I overcome the ultra-convenience of such purchases? Here are the tactics I’ve put in place.

Make it inconvenient to download, period. I did my best to hide the “App Store” and the music store on my iPod Touch. I actually have to put in some effort to find them now, which means that by default I tend to focus on the things that I already have. And that, my friends, saves money.

Don’t browse aimlessly. If I’m playing around with my gadget, there are plenty of things to do besides simply wandering around the shop. Sure, it’s there to be used if you’re searching for something specific, but if you really don’t have anything in mind, don’t use it at all.

Do purchase research in advance. If you’re thinking about downloading something, do your research first. Make sure you’ve figured out exactly what item you want. Listen to album samples on Amazon or somewhere else where it’s far less convenient to purchase. Read reviews of the applications online. Only when you’re sure you know what item you want should you hit the store to download it.

Use the ten second rule. The “ten second rule” has saved me from making impulsive purchases many, many times. It’s simple – each time you go to make a purchase, spend ten seconds asking yourself why you’re making this purchase. Does it actually fulfill a real need? Couldn’t you find this same item somewhere else for less money? Do you really even want it, or is it just impulsive? Why do you want it? After ten seconds of such reflection, it becomes pretty easy to not purchase that album or that silly game.

Budget for anything unnecessary. All of us have different fun things that we enjoy, but when such enjoyments become very convenient, it’s easy to spend more than we think. The best way to combat this is to create a very careful “entertainment” budget for yourself. Allot a certain amount that you’re allowed to spend each month on entertainment purchases and keep careful track of your spending. I often use an Excel spreadsheet for this when I’m keeping tabs on a specific spending area. This way, when you make an impulse purchase, it’s not going to create a major money issue as long as you keep track of it.

Appreciate the freebies. Interestingly enough, most of the best things I’ve downloaded for my iPod touch were absolutely free: Twitterific, The Weather Channel, Stanza (a book reader), Pandora, and Remote were all free and I use them all a ton. This actually applies to other aspects of life – I usually go to Sam’s Club once a week for grocery shopping and I appreciate all the free food samples that are there as they usually make up my Saturday lunch, for one, and for another, one of our favorite activities when the snow isn’t on the ground is going to the park a few blocks from our home where there’s a ton of playground equipment and an excellent free disc golf course.

Good luck with your impulsive spending!

Note: I am aware that the image above is actually of an iPhone instead of an iPod touch. However, they look very similar and I simply elected to re-use one of my favorite images.

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47 thoughts on “Navigating the Hazards of Impulse Purchasing

  1. Lauren says:

    If you jailbreak your touch then you can actually remove the apple-provided apps from the screen. It takes a couple clicks to show them again, so it might be inconvenient enough to stop a purchase.

  2. April says:

    I saw a commercial about one of those devices, I think it was a gaming system, that also lets you download movies to your tv instantly. My only thought was how easy it would be to download a new movie when you’re bored instead of watching something you already have or finding something else to do, and how quickly it might add up without you realizing until the bill comes in (or charges your CC).

    I’d rather not have it at all, but then, I’m not really into that sort of thing anyway.

  3. maskdmirag says:

    Honestly, the best way toa void buying things on the apple itunes store is to remind yourself that you don’t own the music you download in any real sense, You have a somewhat limited “lease” on it.

    I force myself to only buy music on CD and use the itunes store as a way of sampling music. That way I have more of an ownership on the music and I can engage in all the normal “tricks” we use to avoid impulse spending.

    I limit my itunes purchases to very infrequent itunes exclusives, I’ve bought a grand total of 5 single songs on Itunes since I started using it 3 years ago.

  4. Liz says:

    In my Itunes I actually have set up my shopping cart so that I don’t immediately purchase anything I click on. Instead it goes into my shopping cart and I let the downloads sit there for a while and then I go back a re-evaluate wheter I really want the song or not. More often than not, I end up deleting it from my shopping cart without ever buying. It works great.

  5. Sarah says:

    I got an iphone for Christmas and I spent the better part of the last two days browsing the app store. I downloaded a bunch of free apps and played with them. I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing I want to do with my phone that I can’t do with free applications.

  6. Tom says:

    iTunes is horribly addictive – I spent $50 the other day without even thinking about it.
    I also now leave my credit card at home when I go out shopping.

  7. Craig says:

    With everything being so able to purchase these days you don’t realize they can add up. $.99, or $1.99 is nothing as it stands, but when you lose track of those purchases they can easily add up, that has happened to me. Try to just be tough on yourself and pay for an app that you actually will get a lot more value from it.

  8. Beck says:

    I had the same problem with impulse buying; my addiction is cooking gear. My husband and I increased our weekly personal spending money with the caveat that it would be used for these types of personal ‘wants’, as opposed to using the debit card for everything. Now, with my cash, I am reluctant to buy ANYTHING; I find it almost impossible to part with cash. This was the answer for us; we freed up about 200.00 per month from not using the debit card.

  9. Kathleen says:

    I had the same problem with my iPhone (which in and of itself was an impulse purchase of a sort) – I find that having to type in my iTunes password when I purchase something is a sufficient deterrent about 90% of the time. The time it takes to type my password on the iPhone keyboard is usually long enough for me to say, “Hey, wait – do I really need this?”

  10. I have no problems with impulse buying, so I can carry credit cards, cash, and other monetary means of financial destruction without a problem.
    The reason? I feel positively bad about buying period. I generally need at least a month to convince myself that something is really necessary before I commit.

    One thing that helped me in the beginning was to use a wish list for things I wanted. I’d put them on a wish list and then check back a month later. If I at that point decided I didn’t want it anymore, I would take it off the list. If I still wanted it, I had the option of buying it (or not).

    It is however much better simply to change one’s attitude when it comes to money rather than setting up regulations. Think about it. If everybody behaved nicely, we wouldn’t need laws. If everybody could handle money, we wouldn’t need budgets, and so on. You just need to bring your feelings in alignment with your financial goals.

  11. Early Retirement, I’m the same way, which is why I can manage to use credit cards to buy everything. The chances of me using one to buy something on impulse are about, oh, zero%.

    Not that I take a great deal of credit for that. I think I was born this way to at least some extent.

  12. Emily says:

    Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who plans my Sam’s trips for Saturdays! ;)

  13. almost there says:

    I just bought a 1st gen itouch 16gb, and await its arrival. I only bought it because I listen to slacker and this way I can be away from the computer and listen to alt 80s music or anything else while everyone has access to the computer. It was only 25 bucks more than the slacker g2 internet radio and this way I have entire web access. I will give the $15 itunes card to my son that I get for free.

  14. Marsha says:

    Great points, Trent. I have resisted doing too much shopping at iTunes, but I have enjoyed buying some audiobooks. Fortunately, I do check around to see if iTunes is the cheapest place to get it.

    What helps me at Amazon is to be able to add things to my Wish List. I am able to mark something so I can go back to it later – but I don’t actually buy or pay for anything. Pre shopping – or faux shopping. :P

    I whole-heartedly agree with the 10-second rule – or 24 hour rule – or sometimes, for major purchases, it’s a 30-day rule.

  15. Bill M says:

    I try to stay away from all this madness, i have one of the older ipods and download only the songs that i will listen more than once. I try to spend no more than $20 a month on entertainment.

  16. Laura Ross says:

    Speaking as a podcaster (and thus having an ulterior motive!), podcasts are a great way to fill up your shiny new iPod, plus you get new material all the time. The best part is they are FREE!!!!

  17. steve says:

    sounds like good reasons to look at AAPL and AMZN as potential long term stock picks.

  18. Rita says:

    Please address other ways to download freebies to the Kindle. I remember you mentioning a way to get free classics, etc.

    thank you!
    Rita

  19. Sam Handwich says:

    This is often what I realize when I research new gadgets. I like to research them, but often I get my fill of gadget glee over with and move on without buying the product. My learning is that frequently these new gadgets that have time-saving or life-simplifying features are often tools to get you to more easily spend money. That new cell phone will give me web access, but it will cost $12 more a month. And really, do I HAVE to have web access? I can use my laptop or Google SMS. What is so damn pressing that I must find out about?

    Examples of this & various subscription services:

    - buy a GPS for your car, then pay monthly for traffic updates
    - buy apps and music for iPhone
    - get data plans for cell phones
    - any “monitoring” such as credit monitoring or credit card payment insurance
    - excessive insurance (medical, car, rental/home, etc.)
    - magazines, periodicals
    - music subscriptions that you pay to keep your downloaded music “unlocked”
    - gym memberships

    Sure you can download a song immediately to your iPhone, and that’s nice, but – really – is it that important? When something is more difficult to do, that irritation helps you throw up your arms and decide it’s not worth bothering for.

  20. kristine says:

    I am against gifts that require I spend money to enjoy them. I am against giving them too. In fact, I am against owning things that eat money, as there are plenty of non-potentially-bottomless-pit ways to enjoy myself. Pandora is free, and my library has an impressive CD collection. An ipod is an ongoing expense if you use it legally.

    I do not understand this ipod fascination- but then I never understood the walkman either (I am 40ish) And if you are not good with temptation, start with resisting the urge to have the latest gadget!

  21. Chiko says:

    I am thinking about getting an iphone during the summer. I’ve been wanting to get one since it first came out, but I have been disciplining myself. I have now set a goal and will get it after I hit the goal. I most need the iphone to keep track of my investments since I like to day-trade some times.

  22. DrPr says:

    I’m “40ish” and totally understand the ipod fascination. It’s an awesome gadget that can serve many purposes from one device. It’s only an “ongoing expense” if that’s what you decide to make it (who’s doing the purchasing, you or the iPod?)

    I owned an extensive music collection before purchasing my iPod, therefore I have bought only about $3.00 worth of songs since I bought my iPod in September (yep, three songs). I watch TED Talks, listen to Oprah’s Spirit channel, catch up on NPR, twitter to my buddies, draw pictures, read/send email, play games, check stocks and weather, update my facebook account, chat with friends on Google Talk or Yahoo IM, handle my banking and much more- all for FREE.

  23. MoneyTheory says:

    Trent, you definitely bring up a great point with your article. With all the online services like iTunes, Amazon, and others, the sense of actually using currency or money to purchase things gets very much deteriorated. With things like Amazon’s “One-Click Ordering” or the ease of downloading songs on iTunes, just a few clicks can easily equal charges of more than $100 going to the buyer’s credit card.

    The tips you present here are some great ideas to combat this ease of spending for some.

    One thing that I have always been surprised to see is that many people do not seem to use the Rhapsody To Go music subscription service. It’s $14.99/month for unlimited music transfers, even to a portable mp3 device, as long as you maintain the subscription. I have subscribed for about two years, and have 6,200 songs in my collection. I figure that if I were to have purchased these songs on iTunes, it would have cost me $6,138. For two years’ subscription costs, I have only paid about $360. So to put it in perspective, the $6,138 I could have spent on iTunes for this many songs could pay for over 36 years worth of the Rhapsody subscription at $14.99 per month, not-to-mention the multitudes of additional songs I can transfer for the same price!

  24. Studenomics says:

    I have been holding off on buying the iphone for over a year now. Before it was even available here in Canada I had a friend who was visiting the States and offered to buy one for me and then I could have unlocked it here. I was so close to buying it but something stopped me last minute. When it became available in Canada I was positive I would buy it. I honestly do not know how I have been able to resist purchasing it, especially considering many of my friends have one and I can’t stop playing with it.

    The one thing that always stops me from buying the iphone is that my current phone plan is $40 a month total after everything. I know for a fact that if I get the iphone my monthly fee would increase to about $100 a month. An extra $60 a month is a lot of money. Another problem is that I know as soon as I buy the iphone I would be tempted to buy all of the cool apps, download music, and just find other ways to spend money. So for now I am trying to continue saying no to the iphone.

  25. Broke Bettie says:

    Good idea hiding the apps feature…but I’m sure the urge will pass once you’ve had the Touch for a while. When I first got iTunes I literally downloaded thousands of songs…that was 4 years ago, in 2008 I think I spent less than $100 all year on new music.

  26. aussie_saver says:

    I have had the same problem of creeping spending on apps/music with my iPhone. Stores here in Australia sometimes sell the iTunes vouchers for 25% off, which helps somewhat, and I also mention these as gifts at Christmas and birthdays (along with book store vouchers).

    If you haven’t bought it already, may I also suggest spending 99c on Appsniper – you can list apps that you’d like to purchase and it lets you know if they’ve met your target price.

  27. Problemsolverblog says:

    I find that making particular rules for myself helps curtail impulse buying. First, I put away my retirement money and kids’ college money automatically. Second, I can’t buy anything I hadn’t previously decided to buy when I walked in the store or got on the Internet (or on the phone). That means that if I leave the site (physical or online) and decide that I want to go back and get something that’s okay, but sometimes that inconvenience outweighs how much I want the item. This goes even for items that are only a few dollars. I tell myself that I can the thing, but I have to leave and go back another time. Inconvenience can be a great help! Third, I try to remember how much I enjoy my free time which I “earn” by not spending so much money on things.

  28. Laura says:

    “kristine @ An ipod is an ongoing expense if you use it legally.”

    I don’t agree, I have one and I have only spent a few dollars at the itunes store (on items that I would have purchased in a regular store anyway), the rest of my library comes from my personal CD’s that I’ve uploaded to my ipod. I don’t believe that is illegal.

  29. Lurker Carl says:

    Apple is a leader in new products that suck money directly from our wallets. Overspending has become way to easy with these gadgets – demolish the budget in two clicks. It’s the current ultimate in instant gratification. Buyer beware.

  30. Louise says:

    In keeping with Kathleen #7′s comment, maybe you should make your iTunes password something like “doIreallywant2spendthis$2day?”

  31. Lisa says:

    I learned the hard way not to get on any shopping or download site after a glass of wine.

  32. Lisa says:

    I learned the hard way not to get on any shopping or download sites after a glass of wine.

  33. Sheri says:

    “Instead of having to go to the library or bookstore…” I love your site, but it physically pained me to read this comment made by you. Since when is browsing for books considered something one has to do, as in a chore, rather than what one wants to do? If my life ever becomes so hectic that I cannot make time to look for books in person, then I will certainly reevaluate it. As for the Kindle itself, it seems too impersonal. Call me hopelessly old-fashioned, but I like the feel of a real book in my hands.

  34. steve says:

    @I”maybe you should make your iTunes password something like “doIreallywant2spendthis$2day?”

    that’s brilliant, LOL!

  35. Elizabeth says:

    I also was surprised to get a Touch for the holidays. I have been able to resist buying all kinds of stuff for it so far simply because of all the free apps they have available. I’ve also been uploading music I already have and enjoying that instead. I do find it helpful that iTunes mails out a receipt every few days that reports everything that you’ve downloaded.

    Maybe one thing that would help is to set some kind of limit- you can only buy two apps a week or something like that. Then you would have to think more about what you want to get and whether it’s worth it or not.

  36. Amateur says:

    Add every insignificant thing to a wishlist like Amazon and then wait a month to cool down, and see if it’s still badly wanted. Heck, wait 3 months, if you haven’t suffered without it and lost a sense of sanity and personal happiness from not owning it, it’s all right to delete it off the list. But do treat yourself to items on your list, just not the ones that are more impulsive than carefully thought out.

  37. Ryan says:

    In response to your IPOD Touch, I learned that if you drop a few bucks for a plug in microphone you can download the SKYPE app and actually use your IPOD as a phone. I would love for you to explore this idea as I was told by someone about it and it seems right up your alley as a FRUGAL tip.

  38. jm says:

    You did know that amazon offers some free downloads for the kindle, right?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/post/PLNK3O8N8S0GGP1DB

    Also, try searching free kindle books in google. You might be surprised.

  39. Courtney says:

    My husband ripped his considerable CD library to his Ipod and actually filled it up, so he got the 120GB Ipod this Christmas. He loves the “Genius” feature.

    On another note, I’d love to see some ideas about what to do with the kids in the winter, when it’s viciously cold out. I want to encourage my 13 month old to be active, and I’d certainly like to be more active! Swings at the park are both cold and wet this time of year. She (and I) both get bored being housebound. I hate to traipse through the mall, because of being tempted to shop. Any other ideas?

  40. ArcAngel says:

    The only APP I bought is App Sniper (99 cents) which provides a constantly revised list of what APPS are currently on sale or free. I avoid the sale ones but it is a nice way to get a constant list of new free APPS plus those which are temporarily free.

    A lot of authors will make an app free for a few days to get some reviews. Once good reviews are in they add a price and people think “wow someone paid for this and was happy” .. tricky but beneficial for you if you have this program.

  41. mrsmonkey says:

    Mr Monkey and I are enduring relatively hard times. Not impossible, mind you, but we are now dealing with our excesses of the past three years.

    But being quintessential shoppers, we still like to shop. What we now do is go through stores, putting stuff in our carts and then we don’t buy it. We have the satisfaction of putting these items in our cart, and then we wheel around and think about it. And think about it. And think some more. Then we put the stuff back.

    Or we leave it in the cart and go. That might seem a little lazy to you but it’s not. SOMEONE who works there is going to have to put it back. And that someone has that job and we are giving that someone something else to do. He or she is staying busy. So we figure we’re keeping Americans working in American stores.

    It’s a double win. We don’t spend. And someone keeps busy at their job.

    Happy New Year!

  42. EbenezerJSP says:

    You may want to check out the App called AppSniper… it does cost 1$, but it allows you to put apps that you want in a list. AppSniper then monitors its price and notifies you when it falls below a certain price that you specify. Allows you to both delay the purchase, not forget about it (assuming you really need it) and save money.

  43. Courtney says:

    I have a Kindle my husband bought me for Christmas. Basically, you can download files to it from your computer, or you can email files to a special address and amazon.com will format them into Kindle format, whereupon you can either download the files or have them sent to your Kindle (at 10 cents a pop). Pretty much any text document (free books at bartleby.com, gutenberg.org baen.com etc) can be read, as can PDF files (you can convert them yourself or have amazon.com do it). The shtick (for me at least) is a) the ease in which things get automatically downloaded to your Kindle without a ‘puter and b) the super-long battery life without wireless access (about a week). Replacement batteries are $25, which is nice, too. Oh, and the e-paper rocks. :)

  44. CathyG says:

    @Sheri comment #22 re: “Instead of having to go to the library or bookstore…”

    What about when it is snowing outside and/or the library is closed for the long holiday weekend? Or when the kids are finally asleep after a really long day and you just want to relax with a good book but you didn’t have time to go to the bookstore/library? I don’t think Trent meant to imply that he or his wife dislike the library – in fact he has posted many times about how much he likes it. But the Kindle download makes it so you don’t HAVE to go if you can’t or don’t want to right now.

  45. onaclov says:

    I’ve been careful with it, but it’s GREAT if you are careful, check out lifehacker for alot of great tips, but with regards to Comment #28 you can now download an app called Stanza I belive and lifehacker refers to it as “how to turn your ipod touch into a kindle”
    http://lifehacker.com/5122563/stanza-turns-your-iphone-into-a-kindle?skyline=true&s=i

    Pretty cool stuff!!

  46. Nick says:

    My friend has a Touch and the thing is awesome. He racks up some big bills though. I guess that’s the price you pay for the convenience of having everything at your fingertips..

  47. Epicurus says:

    I had to laugh sadly at this posting, because I expect Simple Dollar to have a much more grounded and self-directed sense of how to live.

    What you’re missing is that with these technologies people shift their impulse purchasing impulses…into impulse contact impulses.

    I won’t call it “impulse communications,” because real communication involves more than someone spewing their random thoughts throughout the day, or hopping from shiny thing to shiny thing in the globalized role of cyberjunkie and attention-impaired novelty addict looking for the next fix of Distraction.

    IRC, SNS, logging, Twittering, iDope–all these technologies exist to exploit people at the level of their emptiness, their hunger for contact, and their need to feel connected. They are exploiting people’s classism, the desire to feel part of an ingroup that excludes others, or the desire to compete to be part of that group. They are exploiting people’s willingness to hand over their time, their money, and their attention, just to escape the pain of avoiding sitting under a tree and doing nothing, and facing themselves.

    These technologies do not fill human emptiness, nor constitute real relating. Like real fiscal prudence, real communication is not easy to come by. It requires a lot of a person, of the stuff that money cannot buy. But since the 1980s we’ve been stuffed fat and full of the idea that business models are everything, that we’re all in a big commercialized space, developing our brand and marketing it.

    The reason these technologies exist is because someone(s) somewhere(s) are trying to figure out how to profit massively from the human ache for contact, and the terror of being alone in a society that has become heartless and harsh. This is how we end up with people who neglect their genuine human relationships, with all their messy spurs and corners, for virtual ones.

    Of course creating even more distanced forms of contact, posing as essential communication, is just adding to human alienation. But try telling that to someone with an expensive new toy and the smug or thrilled knowledge of how to use it, who can’t go a full five minutes without checking their cell phone, or who think that being given, by a corporation, easy chances to pay to consume proprietary information content is “fabulous,” “GREAT,” “convenient,” or “AWESOME”!

    I’d say that this technology is just another form of consumerism. Another set of shiny placebos for human loneliness that cannot be healed with things or pixels, but only with the simple, quiet, slow, enduring interactions that humans create person to person.

    I don’t say that lightly: our household would qualify as in the top 1 percent of tech savvy, owing to our professions. But we refuse to use these technologies at home. Our home, our marriage, and our daily lives are too focused and present to be put at the mercy of the constant frivolous immature invasions of privacy and attention that these technologies depend on for their profits. We seek more rooted, grounded lives, and interactions with others. The noise to signal ratio of these automated attention-nabbing technologies is ridiculously high. You want us to use these technologies? Great, then pay US to do so, and then only within the boundaries WE set. We refuse to become technoslaves at the beck and call of any needy or impatient individual with an immediate itch they want someone else to scratch.

    So it isn’t just that you can “download too much” and waste money. You are wasting your life. This is why we left Silicon Valley–the endless stream of hipperie, of frivolity, of wanna-be trillionaires looking for the next Killer App. Each morning for breakfast they eat people with iPods, with BlackBerrys, with Kindles, people who think Facebook is the ultimate and LinkedIn and YouTube and and and and and.

    They keep calling us–the headhunters, the friends with businesses or IPOs or venture capital. But we broke free, and we’re not going back.

    Just a warning from someone who was there, and escaped. As Prince once said, “Don’t be fooled by the Internet. It’s cool to get on the computer but don’t let the computer get on you. It’s cool to use the computer but don’t let the computer use you…. There’s a war going on. The battlefield is in the mind and the prize is the soul, so be careful.”

    In closing, last autumn a young friend asked me how to know whether he was a user or an addict of his various expensive technologies. I said, throw them all out the window for a year, and see what happens. He looked at me with large haunted eyes and said, “Then I’m an addict, I could never do that.” Eight weeks later he told me he’d dumped it all. Soon after that he lost his gadget-slave job, because he refused to be on call 24/7…but then quickly found another job (far more suited to his genuine spirit and heart, though I didn’t say that). His friends and family ganged up on him at a neighborhood barbeque. “What do you think you’re doing?” one of his sisters demanded, furiously. “I never thought YOU would become some sort of stupid LUDDITE.” He replied, “I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. But after I’ve made the journey, and have had time to reflect on it, I’ll invite you over for dinner, and we can talk about it.” A few months after all that I asked him how he was doing. “I’ve lost a lot of friendships,” he said, “but what I’ve gained…I can’t believe I didn’t claim it sooner.”

    My budget for Internet and e-mail is four hours per week. I’ve spent 20 minutes of it so far on reading this post and replying to it. I read The Simple Dollar from time to time as part of my ongoing search for Internet resources for people who haven’t figured out how to live a self-directed, frugal, prudent, focused life. It isn’t that I think these Internet resources will help them evolve in that way. It’s that they won’t listen to common sense when it comes from the mouth of a friend, a lover, a partner, a relative, an elder. They have to pay a few thousand bucks for the technology and software, and waste all sorts of time, before they consider a source credible.

    My industry has been very very very successful in creating a global caste of gadget-slaves. It’s part of the reason I was able to retire at 45. You all handed my employers your time, attention, desire, and money. For some reason they kept handing money to me. It all went in the bank.

    Epicurus

    –Live unknown.–

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