Updated on 08.28.14

#22: Gadgets

Trent Hamm

25 Rules to Grow Rich By

This is part of a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index.

Rule #22: Resist the urge to buy the latest computer or other gadget as soon as it comes out. Wait three months and the price will be lower.

This rule is absolutely true, but it often doesn’t really apply to gadget hounds who want the latest and greatest geek toys. Quite often, either the gadget is so popular that the price doesn’t lower (like the iPod, for example) or a new, “better” model comes out that replaces your original desire.

So what is a good gadget geek to do? The best method for buying gadgets and computers with your eye on your wallet is to merge this Money rule with the ten second rule. In essence, you should select your item as soon as it comes out and get ready to buy it, but then pause at the last second. And wait for three months.

This pause has the same effect as the rule above: it causes you to save money on the item as the price will often lower in the next three months. It also has another benefit: it causes you to really think about whether or not you want that specific item or not.

Sometimes, you’ll wind up deciding you don’t really want one after all. Either some obvious product flaws become apparent or your interest simply wanes. Other times, you’ll decide it simply isn’t worth the investment, or a better model has come out.

Of course, if you wait three months and you still want the model you chose at the price it currently sells for, you can buy with renewed confidence, because you’ve just done a complete gut check and passed with flying colors.

So, let’s rewrite this rule.

Rewritten Rule #22: When a new gadget or computer comes out, select the model you would like to buy, then wait three months for the price to lower. If you still want that model, buy it; if not, move on or select a new model and start a new three month wait.

You can jump ahead to rule #23 or jump back to rule #21.

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  1. Jason says:

    I’m a snowboarder, and snowboard equipment is very similar to electronic gadgets, expensive and improving every year. I have a good friend who gets the latest and greatest every year, and I ride last years toys in exchange for buying him a couple lift tickets. He also keeps up on the technology better than I do and so buys higher quality than I would even if I could justify the considerable expense.

  2. Grant says:

    3 months? I think it’s more like 6 to 9 months for many electronics to start coming down in price. And if you can wait 18 months until an entirely new version comes out (and still be happy with the “old” version), you can get it for much cheaper.

  3. PiFreak says:

    My favorite gadget investment was my mp3 player. My parents gave it to me as my christmas present, and I made sure it was the one I wanted. I spent 6 months reading reviews about the different ones, but my Dell DJ was the right choice. I’ts incredibly durable, and has now lasted for 3 years. It was $200, the same price as many other models, but $50 cheaper than an I-Pod. Right now, one of the better deals is a Zune, but they’re incredibly fragile. My Dell has survived a 6 foot drop onto concrete, and only got a little tiny scratch in the side case. I know I made the right decision, and although sometimes I get a little jealous of the new I-Pod nanos, I am perfectly fine with an mp3 player that ONLY plays music (no $$ on videos), and holds 20 Gigs of music (More than I could fill in a looooooooong time, I have 7 gigs filled now after 3 years)

  4. Johnny H says:

    Nice PiFreak. I’m similar. I have a Zen Xtra 30GB… I love it! Very durable and versatile. And I find Creative’s sound to superior to Apple’s.

    Why it’s frugally awesome:
    *It takes a standard 2.5″ laptop hard drive. Which I have replaced several times…
    *It has a replaceable battery.

    So by the # of hard drives and batteries I’ve replaced I’d be about 5 iPods deap right now. Yikes, that’s like a grand! Fantastic, since I’ve spent about well less than $200, including original purchase price. And it’s comedic (& theft deterrent) when I tell people it’s my “tape deck”.

    I’ll upgrade when a new MP3 does all the above plus has video and wireless internet. An Archos came close, but I’m happy to wait with my Zen Xtra.

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