Updated on 01.26.09

The “Super Bowl TV”: What a Difference Waiting a Year Can Make on a Big Purchase

Trent Hamm

An old friend of mine just dropped $2,000 on a large flat panel HDTV for his den, intending it to be the centerpiece of his Super Bowl party. He sent me a picture of it along with an email thanking me for talking him out of buying a similarly-priced TV last year, given how much money he saved by waiting.

How much money did he save? Let’s calculate the two scenarios.

Buy it NOW! If my friend had plunked down $2,000 on his credit card last year, he would have faced a big pile of credit card bills.

First of all, that $2,000 TV actually costs him $2,140 after sales tax. He decides to put the entire balance on his 19.9% APR credit card and decides to pay $214 a month – 10% of the TV’s total cost.

Given that payment plan, he pays $214 each month for ten months on his credit card, then makes a final payment of $177.35 during the eleventh month, giving him a total bill of $2,317.35 for the television.

Buy it in a year! Instead, he decided to save $180 a month in a savings account for his television, a savings account that earned 2.5% interest.

After a year, my friend checks his account balance and finds that the account has $2,184.92 in balance. He empties the account, leaving him $44.92 in cash after buying the television. His total contributions? $2,115.08. (That’s his $2,160 in savings, minus the $44.92 in cash left over.)

The difference By choosing to save up for that television and pay cash for it instead of just tossing it on the plastic, my friend saved $202.27. That’s enough money to fill his gas tank five times. That money can make a car payment. That money can cover the expenses for an awesome Super Bowl party. Or, he can simply look at it as a 10% off coupon for that television he just bought.

The take home message It’s pretty simple – if you’re considering a large but non-essential purchase, start saving for it in bits and pieces in advance of buying it. This achieves two powerful effects. First, you’re going to earn some interest on your savings, giving you an extra bit of cash to help with the home stretch of saving. Even better, though, you won’t be paying interest on your credit card or payment plan – that’s simply money lost. When you add those factors together, it can easily be worth 10% of the value of the item – and it can often be much more than that if you’re saving for a larger item.

This seems like such a simple point that it should be common sense, right? I thought so until yesterday, when I stood in line at Sam’s Club behind three different people buying large flat panel televisions – and all of them paid with a MasterCard. While it’s (hopefully) true that some of them might be paying that entire bill off immediately, it does reveal that many people out there are making big, impulsive purchases.

Hopefully, they’ve saved up for it.

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  1. Brian says:

    And did the price of the TV drop in that one year as well?

  2. Mark B. says:

    Not to mention the price of the TV probably dropped several hundred dollars, or he was able to get a much better TV for the same price.

  3. ben says:

    I would add that he probably got a larger/better TV out of the deal too.

  4. Ben C says:

    He probably could have saved even more since the $2000 TV from last year could probably be had for less than that this year. Unless of course he went for a TV with all of the bleeding edge features. I’m still happy with my pathetic 32″ CRT from the stone ages (2002). Once 42″ LCD/Plasma’s come down to around $500 I’ll pick up one.

  5. DB Cooper says:

    Does anybody really have a credit card with 19.9%APR? My APR on new purchases is 8.9%. I don’t use it to finance anything anyway, so interest rate is really a moot point, but I can’t imagine paying 20% interest on ANYTHING. I often see these kind of numbers thrown about in personal finance books and I wonder how many people actually pay that kind of interest.

  6. That is how we make all of our purchases. If we are making a large purchase, we start an ING account and save for it. We do this for vacations, special events and yearly expenses such as property taxes. While not possible in the real world, we try to level out our spending so there are not any “bumps” or “spikes” in money spent.

    Good post!

  7. DB Cooper says:

    …and by the way, it would absolutely turn my stomach to pay $2000 just to sit in front of an object and stare at it. Personal values, I know, but…dang.

  8. Ben says:

    Good post and I agree with your idea. However, did he buy like a 70 inch Sony TV? You can get 47 inch LCD 1080p TVs for like $1000 or less now. I personally would never pay anything over maybe $700-$800 for a nice TV. I know that is just personal preference, but…..$2000 for a TV…you can buy a car for that.

  9. chris says:

    I agree with your main point, Trent, that saving up ahead of time is far superior to paying off debt in the aftermath. But one factor you don’t mention is the fact that your friend had to wait a year between the original proposed credit card purchase and the final pre-saved purchase. That’s 182 baseball games, 17 weekends of football, college football, movies, tv shows, etc. that he did not get to watch on his brand spankin’ new TV – a missed opportunity cost, if you will. Additinoally, if he had that big TV to watch the game, he might not have bought tickets to a game this season, saving him upwards of $300 right there, no? Intangibles cost money too.

    Perhaps the true moral of the story is to both save and PLAN far in advance for big purchases (e.g. I’m going to need a car in 2012, a computer in 2009, etc).

  10. Laura says:

    @DB Cooper- Yes, right now because of my past, the only credit card I can get (to build my credit back up) is @ 22% intrest. Of course I don’t carry a balance, but they definately do exist. Especially on retail store credit cards.

  11. Jen says:

    @DB my husband’s only credit card… a Sears card, has a 29% interest rate. They raised it, and his dad’s rate too because his name was on the card as a user, but he had a seperate account because of my husband’s bad credit. The kicker was, at the time we were in the process of paying off all his debt, which is now gone. He has been threatened with divorce if he ever uses it again, but it is his oldest account so we keep it open.

  12. Kiran says:

    I don’t know if the fact that people were using credit cards means that much. Relatively few people use checks at stores anymore, and no one carries thousands of dollars in cash.

  13. Karen says:

    I do this exact thing, but take it a step further … if he HAD tossed it on plastic that earned 3% cash back (or some other type of rebate) and then used the money saved to pay off the bill immediately, you could say his savings were even greater.

  14. Mark says:

    I’m curious to see thoughts on this one: Our 11 year old big TV started acting like it was on its way out, so we decided to just go “look” to see what was available (I of course had already done research online before we went), being we didn’t want to miss out on the pre-Xmas sales if ours did eventually puke. Surprise surprise, we bought one immediately. However, though we had more than enough cash saved to buy it outright (it was $1499… plus another $229 for a Blue Ray that was on sale with it), we opted to take the 18 month no-interest available. Why? We figured we could make interest, though not much, on the money we didn’t immediately drop on the TV. Money’s money, right?

    OH… and two weeks after we bought it, the same TV & Blue Ray player went on sale for $1500 total, so we were able to go get a bunch of money back :).

  15. Amy says:

    Good point Kiran. For any big purchase I use my credit card in order to take advantage of the rewards. Then I pay it off immediately from my savings.

  16. leslie says:

    You can barter and shop around so much for tv’s. I found my tv on amazon for $1800. Waited a couple weeks and it was on a “super sale” for $1300 on another site. I didn’t want to buy it online so I called and asked if I could get the online price if I bought a tv in the store. They said I could.

    When I went into the store, I asked if there were any other discounts they could apply and was offered a display model for $1035.00. After staring at all the tvs for an hour in the store and deliberating it over and over in my head — I made the purchase and have had no problems with the display model at all! That choice alone saved me $300.

  17. DivaJean says:

    @ DB Cooper-

    Unfortunately, its very easy to get your credit rate up to the high teens, low twenties without even having a big credit problem.

    I was late on my one credit card’s bill date– the date it was received by me was only 5 days from the day it was due. I was basically set up. I paid it immediately- but they claim the processing didn’t happen until after the 5 days had passed. Many heated phone calls later, I got them to waive any and all late fees involved- but I still got screwed with the high rate.

    Not that it really matters though, I always pay the total off each month and rarely use it anyways. I don’t revolve my payments. I am a “deadbeat” to the credit industry, since they don’t earn much off me, so they were looking to make an opportunity to screw me over. For this, I use my credit card even less, since I have the dread suspicion that “they” are out to get me.

  18. Britni says:

    @db cooper
    i work in the banking industry and it is safe to say at least 50% of my clients carry credit card balances at 20%+ aprs.
    the average american household has 9 credit cards and somewhere in the ballpark of $7k in cc debt. a lot of that debt is @ 29.99%. scary but true!

  19. Craig says:

    That’s a great point. Something I did as well. Not only can you save up and pay for full in cash, but the price of the TV will come down in that time period. Especially in that time period, because now that the TV’s are mainstream, they have come down in price significantly.

  20. Suzanne says:

    I save up for large purchases such as vacations or furniture in advance. I do the actual purchasing on my credit card as a way to know EXACTLY how much I spent. This is especially useful for vacations or medical expenses. Once the full bill is on the card – I pay it off. I get cash back rewards and it improves my credit score. I just have to make sure the purchases don’t value more than 30% of the available balance on the card.

  21. wasterous says:

    I agree with Kiran, I would always make a big purchase with a credit card, but I pay off the entire balance every month.

  22. DollarDream$ says:

    I am with DB cooper.

    Unless I become a millionaire, I would never, ever pay $2,000 for a TV.

    We were looking to buy a new TV last year, I wanted to buy a nice one for about $300, but my wife bought me into getting a 24″ old fashioned TV ( Non HD) from Walmart for $125. I am very happy with my TV so far!

    I tease my friend, who has an i-phone, that my TV is about 1/4th the price of your phone!


  23. Mike says:

    I bought an LCD TV yesterday in fact.
    I waited a year and a half, and paid in cash.
    Cost of television was literally half of comparable model 18 months ago +interest on the savings + not paying interest on a credit card= darn good savings.

    I wondered about the 19% interest credit card too. How many people actually pay that kind of interest? I guess there are those folks who are willing…

  24. liv says:

    That’s great that he saved the money. If he gets rewards on his card, he could’ve saved the money, paid on his card, and paid the card off the next day and BAM!…points :)

  25. meg says:

    I did this when I purchased my laptop:

    Saved the money over a few months
    Paid with credit card
    Paid off credit card the next week

    Whenever I feel like getting a new TV I will do the same.

  26. Mike C says:

    I am a little bit dissappointed by this article.

    First, I think you should have considered the decrease in price on the TV when calculating the savings. Flat screen TVs have gone dramatically down in price in the last few years.

    Secondly, it will probably be cheaper to buy that same TV after super bowl, because the demand will be lower; you may even be able to get open box deals.

    And finally, and most important, IMO if you are carrying a balance in your credit card (or if you need to carry it to do the purchase) you should not be buying a $2000 TV. A $2000 TV is a luxury item. If you don’t have the money in the bank for it, then you just cannot afford it, forget about it or buy something cheaper.

  27. Steve says:

    I saved 100% on my new TV by waiting for one of our friends to upgrade their TV and give us their old one. Sure, it’s not flat screen and it’s “only” 30 inches and it weighs 150 pounds. But it is also HD and it’s more than twice the screen area of our previous TV (also a hand-me-down.)

    I doubt we will ever get a free flat screen with patience alone, but I’ll give it a few years just in case.

  28. Mister E says:


    My first card was a Canadian Tire store card that they later converted to a fully functional Mastercard. That had a rate of 18.99% if I’m not mistaken.

    That account has been closed for some years now, my bank issued card is at 9% but I _think_ store cards are generally in the 20% range as well as cards for people considered higher risk.

  29. L says:

    Another one agreeing with Kiran, I bought a new macbook last October- I had been saving for 6 months and waiting for the update, but I still wasn’t about to wander downtown with $1600 cash.

  30. Fred says:

    Why not wait another year?

  31. Holly says:

    I agree with other posters that the most significant part of $$ saved with this method is due to the dropping price of electronics.

    But I take issue with your judgment of people using credit cards to purchase TVs: “While it’s (hopefully) true that some of them might be paying that entire bill off immediately, it does reveal that many people out there are making big, impulsive purchases.”

    There are MANY good reasons to make large purchases with a credit card (rewards, additional protections, easier record keeping….). For all you know, NONE of those people @ Sams were making an impulse purchase. (I’m not denying it happens, ’cause there’s a lot of irresponsible people out there; but your observations “reveal” nothing.)

  32. KC says:

    @ BD – Don’t knock it til you tried it. My husband and I just plunked down $1600 for a plasma TV and receiver for the media room in our new house. The room already had built in surround sound speakers and we always thought we’d get a nice TV, so we did. All I can say is “Wow!” For someone who would rather read than watch TV I’ve found myself watching a lot more TV lately. I would have never thought I’d think HD and surround sound were worth the money, but I have certainly enjoyed watching the Australian Open in HD. If you are a sports or movie fan – even in the least – you would enjoy HD and surround. BTW, everything was paid for with cash.

  33. EngineerMom says:

    My husband and I did something similar, though I suppose we took a bit of a gamble:

    When we first got married, we only had my husband’s futon (which he had slept on all the way through grad school – a good futon with a spring mattress, but still a bit small for two people!). We decided that when we bought our bed, we wanted to go ahead and get a full, quality bedroom set that we would keep for our entire married life. We shopped around a bit, looking for a new solid-wood set. We finally found what we wanted at a Slumberland.

    They were having a deal where if you put the purchase on a store card, you paid no interest on the total for 12 months. After that, of course, an insane double-digit interest rate was applied retroactively. We figured out how much we needed to save per month to pay off the set, then put that amount into a savings account every month religiously. We already had an emergency fund for other expenses, so we weren’t in danger of tapping the savings account. We ended up earning over $200 in interest and paying off the bedroom set in full, on time.

    It felt so good, especially since it was our very first major purchase as a married couple! Looking back, it probably would have been better to try to stick it out with the futon and save the money for a year, but we were both having back issues. Apparently adding another person to the futon changed the way it supported my husband’s back. However, it definitely taught us early on to save for something together, a technique we have used since then.

  34. Moot says:

    I’m using a similar “save before you buy” plan for my next car. After finally paying off my car loan and crunching the numbers, I decided I didn’t want to do that again. So I’m just maintaining the same “payment” amount (since it’s already in the budget) but putting it into a high-yeild savings account each month now. By the time I’m ready for another car, I’ll likely have enough saved up to pay cash for it. And instead of paying the bank 6% interest for many years, they’ll have been paying me 3-4%, allowing me to buy more car for the same amount of money.

  35. Troy says:

    What I find amusing is the “price dropped” point of view.

    That is likely true. But why buy now then. Won’t the price be cheaper in another year. And the year after that. And won’t the quality/features improve next year, and even more the year after that.

    If he waits 10 years he could likely get a 25,000P Quad backlit ULED Super HD hologram set the size of a life saver for about the same price.

    One mans $2,000 TV is anothers extensive book collection, or high tech computer, or classic car, or “travel budget”.

    We all have our things we splurge on.

  36. DB Cooper says:

    @KC ~ Well, for me, the idea of watching more television would be enough to pursuade me NOT to get the biggie with surround sound. There’s very little on TV that I care to watch, and we’ve pared our DishNetwork bill down to 4.99 per month, which just gives us the local channels (and by my way of thinking is still $60 per year more than we need to spend). Personally, I’d be fine without a television in the house, but my wife cites 9/11 as a reason to keep a TV, just to be informed of the major world events.

  37. DB Cooper says:

    I’m kind of obsessive about my credit card usage, but since I bank online, I usually pay off my balance there same day as I use the card.

    As for the high percentage APR cards – I’m not surprised that those cards exist, but I am surprised that anybody would keep a balance on one.

  38. Shevy says:

    @DC Cooper
    My hubby and I each have one major bank card and each is right around 20%. IKEA and Home Depot are our only other cards and they’re each 28% although we generally only use them for “no interest for 1 year” deals.

  39. SockSaver says:

    Trent, good post, i work at a big box store, and you would not believe the credit cards that get turned down . Stand there and wait while customers try one credit card after another. Frightening.

  40. friendlyfire says:

    People w. excellent credit often receive -0- interest offers as much as no interest for 15 months, more typically for 12. I have used these offers 3x to buy a new high end PC, a fiberglass kayak and a very efficient, bottom freezer refrigerator. Therefore I USE credit, get/enjoy the things right away, and improve my credit score by paying off on time. Paying cash definitely does have its virtues, but using credit improves credit if you are disciplined. It’s best to have a balanced approach.

  41. Mike C says:

    @Troy, #30:
    Flat screen TVs are still a relatively new technology, and prices are still dropping. The difference in quality between a $1000 to a $2000 TV one year ago was quite big. The difference between a $1000 and a $2000 TV now is much smaller, and consists of features that many people don’t care or appreciate (slightly better resolution, etc). And that difference will still get smaller.

  42. Linda says:

    Since when did Sam’s start taking Mastercard? I thought they only took Discover.

    We use our credit card for everything, pay it off each month, and do it online, so I don’t have to write the check, or put a stamp on an envelope to mail it. It is never late that way.

    The bill from the credit card tells me every category so it is ready for tax purposes.

    We will not be getting a big, flat screen TV for a long time. We go to the neighbor’s for the big party!

  43. George says:

    One spends money on luxuries that are of interest to oneself. It could be a new TV or a canoe or a mountain bike or a new computer or … the possibilities are as varied as people’s interests, so there’s no reason to pick on Trent’s choice to use a TV for this real-world example. Some of the possiblities might cheaper/better in a year and some might not be.

    Instead, you should be understanding how the savings are accomplished and figuring out how they might apply in your life so that, you too, can afford luxuries.

  44. prodgod says:

    Excellent point, Troy (comment #30). We bought a 65″ rear-projection years ago (when plasmas were still over $10,000). Got a new one for floor-sample price and zero interest for a 18 months – paid it off in full before the time was up. Sure, we could have waited and bought sleeker and better later, but why? We have received much entertainment from it over the past 8 years and although it was more than $2,000, I’m sure there are many families who spend more than that EVERY YEAR on family movie nights out (counting dinner).

    Along those lines, we could have waited and saved up for our house, too, but we would have deprived ourselves of the last 14+ years of living in it.

  45. Ranga says:

    I agree with Fred (comment #26). Could wait for ‘n’ more years.

    It happened to us: we wanted to replace our 10-yr old TV in 1997; and a friend told to wait till it stops working, and invest the planned amount in CDs till then. We did that, & bought a new one in 2001 for 30% lesser price. And in 2002, the same TV was selling at half the price we paid..

    True, we should have waited a few more years..

  46. Elisabeth says:

    @ DB Cooper “I’m kind of obsessive about my credit card usage, but since I bank online, I usually pay off my balance there same day as I use the card.”

    Unless you have a balance, there’s really no point in paying off your card the same day you use it. As long as you pay it off by the due date, that saves you the trouble of making several payments a month.

  47. Sheila says:

    @ Britni, the average american household has 9 credit cards and somewhere in the ballpark of $7k in cc debt. a lot of that debt is @ 29.99%. scary but true!”
    We have only two credit cards. One used about once a year. Buy the item and pay it off before you leave the store to get special sale price. The other is used fairly regularly and paid off each month in full. Someone is in big trouble with 7 of “My” cards and $7K of “My” debt.

  48. Dale Hanks says:

    Circuit City offered 0% interest for three years. Not only did I get the tv that I wanted but someone loaned me $1650 for three years, for free.

  49. Jillian says:

    I’m kind of curious about what sort of programs the other commenters watch on TV? Like some of the others here I don’t really watch a lot, simply because none of it really interests me. Lately I find that even programs that were good in their first season have deteriorated to the point where I won’t bother with subsequent seasons. What shows do frugally-minded TV watchers find interesting?

  50. DB Cooper says:

    @ Elisabeth: “@ DB Cooper “I’m kind of obsessive about my credit card usage, but since I bank online, I usually pay off my balance there same day as I use the card.”

    Unless you have a balance, there’s really no point in paying off your card the same day you use it. As long as you pay it off by the due date, that saves you the trouble of making several payments a month.”

    I realize that, Elisabeth. It’s really just me – I simply don’t like having *any* kind of payment hanging over me. All my bills get paid the day they arrive (actually, I’m usually aware of the amount due prior to arrival and have them paid before they even arrive). With online bill paying through my credit union, it only takes a couple of clicks and it’s a done deal. Nothing more to think about. Actually, I quite enjoy it.

    Besides, credit scores are computed in part on your balance reported to the credit bureaus on a specific date, even if you pay off your entire balance each month.

  51. Monevator says:

    Incredible, isn’t it? 10% off and I bet he appreciates it more.

    I sometimes wonder if I should write this post every week on my blog. Every time I write on the subject of delayed gratification I think “surely everyone gets this” but such posts always go down well.

    Regarding the the comments that he should wait until after the superbowl, surely that defeats the whole point? Eventually you have to spend… in the long run we’re all dead, as Keynes said.

  52. “I thought so until yesterday, when I stood in line at Sam’s Club behind three different people buying large flat panel televisions – and all of them paid with a MasterCard. While it’s (hopefully) true that some of them might be paying that entire bill off immediately, it does reveal that many people out there are making big, impulsive purchases.”

    So presumptuous. Never assume you know what’s going in a stranger’s wallet. What a shame that anybody pulling out a MasterCard is assumed to be going into debt, and/or making an impulse purchase (not that it matters what anybody else thinks). Would your assumption be different if it it was AmEx Black?

  53. ida says:

    Why is no one talking about cars? This is a no brainer: I’ve been driving my Honda Odyssey for 7 years now. I bought it new and paid it off within 3 years. I’ve had virtually no trouble with it (though it gets serviced regularly)and it has over 105,000 miles on it. I’ve lost count of how many “car vacations” we’ve gone on in it (I have 4 teenagers now). I was able to pack it full moving my daughter to college too. It’s perfect for the family, reliable, and runs for a long, long time with basic love and care.

    Stop thinking and just buy one.

  54. tony vincent says:

    costco only accepts debit cards (ATM) or american express–not credit cards… so if those other folks in line were paying with a “master card” it would have had to have been an ATM master card.. let’s hope they didn’t “bounce their card”!

  55. mc says:

    I like the math that supports your claim in this article. It’s common sense to most people, but having it laid out in numbers makes the argument so much clearer.

  56. Ken says:

    I’ve enjoyed my last couple vacation because we saved and paid cash for them. Having a vacation follow you home and pay for it over the next year is NO FUN. Waiting is worth it.

  57. Jane says:

    @DB Cooper“I’m kind of obsessive about my credit card usage, but since I bank online, I usually pay off my balance there same day as I use the card.”

    I am the EXACT same way. I pay it off most of my cc purchases right away, since I’m on the computer 24/7 anyway, and an unpaid bill just bothers me. The few times that I waited until the due date (as Elisabeth and others recommend), I forgot/went on vacation and came back with a penalty on my account. Never again, I said to myself.

  58. richerandslimmer.com says:

    What your friend did generally works if one is to buy a big ticket item at regular prices. Sometimes, however, the sales are so good, that buying now is worth it.

  59. Jules says:

    For large purchases, I (almost) always make sure I have the money saved up–the exception was for my laptop, which I REALLY needed at the time. I may still pay by credit card, though, for the inconvenience of having a fat sum of money on my person. There are some areas where that’s just a bad idea.

  60. Sarah says:

    I definitely agree with this way of going about large purchases. I do hope, however, that your friend used a credit card to actually make the purchase if possible (and pay it off immediately with the cash he saved up). Credit cards are the rule for me when buying anything expensive or electronic. They provide proof of purchase for warranties or rebates, and they can also rack up some extra savings if you have a cash back program on the card. As long as you always actually have the money for the things you charge, credit cards aren’t evil and can be powerful savings tools if used responsibly.

  61. leslie says:

    Is everyone sure that those credit cards weren’t debit cards? I used my debit to buy my tv (easy tracking). No way am I walking around with $1000+ in cash on me!

    One thing to consider, when upgrading to a flat screen hdtv, there will be additional costs you didn’t think of…. Like buying hdmi/component cables for all of your electronics because a/v cables will just look like crap.

  62. Tony says:

    If your friend bought the same TV for 2,000 one year later, then he’s a dope.

    I’m sure that’s not the case, but you really should have made the point in your article how much prices have dropped and how much more TV he was able to afford by waiting. The overall difference is likely to be over 1,000 bucks if you factor all that in making the message much more powerful.

  63. Sally says:

    @ EngineerMom – Totally agree! My husband and I have been married almost 22 years and we bought our first TV this way – and out latest TV this way – 0% interest for 3 years! We intend to pay it off in less than that – so far it has worked for us.

  64. Carlos says:

    I think you’re missing the concept of “opportunity cost”. While everything you’ve stated is computationally correct, essentially your friend forfeited the ability to watch a big TV in his den in favor of ~$200. Would he have paid ~$200 (plus the requisite electricity) to watch a swanky new TV for a year? Probably. What was really saved?

    I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of “frugal” people: those who are actually frugal, and don’t view their behavior as worthy of discussion, and those who postulate endlessly on the merits of saving a few bucks here and there, and blow those savings on a big TV.

    Truly being frugal means doing without.

  65. Latte says:

    This was such a nice tip! We usually put our purchases (of that size) on a 12 month no interest card. I don’t recommend that for most people and we have enough in savings to cover the total amount if need be.

  66. Merlin says:

    If you can fill a car 5 times for $200 then either you guys have really tiny cars or insanely cheap petrol. I rarely get change out $100 to fill up here…

  67. samira says:

    Frugal is determining what is “enough” for you.

  68. Frank says:

    Is this like all that money my wife “saved” when she went shopping because it was such a great sale?

    If he never bought the TV at all, he would’ve saved $2000.

    And as others have said, you can get a quite capable HDTV for under $1000.

  69. plonkee says:

    @Carlos (#54):
    I think you raise a really interesting point. At $200 for a year, I wouldn’t personally be interested in a huge tv, but I don’t want one anyway. But it is a real loss.

  70. George says:

    @Jillian –
    “I’m kind of curious about what sort of programs the other commenters watch on TV? Like some of the others here I don’t really watch a lot, simply because none of it really interests me.”

    Mostly PBS: Nova, Frontline, Nightly Business Report, Oregon Field Guide, This Old House (and associated programs), European Journal, BBC News, Last of the Summer Wine, etc.

    Otherwise, we watch our DVDs.

  71. Tricia says:

    Laat year I wanted to buy my hubby a flat screen for Valentines/Anniversary which are close together. I had the cash, and wanted a good deal. I asked the electronics manager at Sam’s Club if he had any ideas. He told me to come back after the Superbowl. It seems that many people purchase sets for their Superbowl parties and then pack them up and return them- EGADS! The store then will sell the item (with full warranty) at a fairly substantial discount. I went a few days after the Superbowl and they had several to choose from. I made my purchase and saved about $500!

  72. sid says:

    @Carlos, you’re exactly right, what Trent failed to consider in this article is the price his friend was willing to pay to have the tv for an extra year. If the price is only $200 it might be totally worth it to the friend, if it isn’t, then Trent is correct and the friend made a bad choice.

  73. reulte says:

    Jillian (#43)
    “I’m kind of curious about what sort of programs the other commenters watch on TV? Like some of the others here I don’t really watch a lot, simply because none of it really interests me”

    On our TV (bought used) we watch DVDs and my boy plays video games. I am contemplating purchasing a Wii . . . but have been contemplating that since they came out and I don’t see myself buying one this year. On the rare occasions that I watch TV, I like old history/archaeology stuff (Living in the Middle Ages, The Tomb of Tutankaman, that kind of stuff), occasional ‘how to do..’ programs and nature programs like NOVA Planet Earth. Occasionally I enjoy a good Agatha Christie mystery or an episode of something forensic-y like Bones or NCIS or one of the CSI programs. For the most part I’m reading a book while my boy is using the TV. I don’t know if you’d consider that frugal . . . I think I would because the TV is multi-purpose (TV, DVDs, games). DVDs are usually from the library or swapadvd; the game console and games were a gift (used) from my cousin who upgraded to a Wii.

    FrugalBachelor (#46) I don’t think my assumption would be any different if I’d been thinking/writing about an article on TVs and credit cards then seeing that same thing happen in the store – it was probably on his mind. Further, I don’t think Trent assumes they’re going into debt, only commenting on the appearant prevalence of impulse shopping. Finally, I don’t think the TV purchasers know or care what Trent assumed . . . otherwise he’d be commenting on having a black eye!

    Carlos (#54) Truly being frugal means knowing the value of your money in relation to the value of your life’s choices.

  74. CPA Kevin says:

    I could have made another $107 (5% of purchase price) in rewards on my credit card by purchasing it through Chase Rewards Plus online then picking it up in store.

  75. bjc says:

    @DB Cooper and @Jane – I always pay off my credit cards by the due date, but I usually wait until about a week before it’s due.

    Here’s the scenario: I save up for a big purchase in my ING Direct account (earning around 2.5% interest at the moment). I make my big purchase on February 20, but my credit card due date is not until March 15. I keep the money in ING until March 1, earn the interest, and THEN transfer money over to pay off my credit card.

    If I had paid off my credit card on the day I made my big purchase, I would have been out that marginal bit of interest earned on my purchase. Fiddly, I know, but psychologically works for me!

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