Discussion Time: 5 Juicy Online Convos Loaded with Comments from Consumers

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Including: Do you regularly run into people who make you wonder how they can afford an iPhone?
From Consumerist: What was the smartest purchase you ever made?

Sample comments:

Espresso machine. Paid for itself in a couple weeks of not buying $4 specialty coffee drinks. Now it’s all gravy. Or, uh, coffee.

It was a two family house that I bought in 1999. My Dad said if you want to move out you buy a house and move into it. So I bought one, lived in it for 3 years (rented the other unit) and then got married and bought another house. The rent from the two family paid for the mortgage on the two family and most of my new house’s mortgage. I eventually paid the two family off. Now it pays for my primary home and a vacation home.

No guy is saying an engagement ring? You’re all up the creek tonight.

From BusinessWeek: Shopping as we know it will disappear. Consumers will no longer need to touch and feel products in a physical store. Pro or con?

Sample comments:

It all depends upon what you’re buying. When I’m shopping for computer memory, online’s the way to find things. When I want a new dress, I’m looking for the emotional appeal when I see it on the hangar, then on my body. If it looks bad on the rack, I won’t even bother.

I just purchased a camera at a big box retail. I brought it home and before opening researched on the internet. It didn’t get good reviews, alternatives were offered, and the current internet price was 30% cheaper than what I had paid. When shopping on the internet, you can avoid impulse buying that can waste some of your money allotted for consumption.

From Reddit: Do you regularly run into people that make you wonder how they can afford an iPhone?

Sample comments:

A family member who is always behind on her bills decided to get an iPhone with her tax return. We told her that it’s going to run $100 a month for two years that she probably can’t afford and her reply was “It’s okay, I’ll pay for it with my tax return money until it runs out, then the early termination fee is only like $300.” Not only could she not afford the phone, but she was PLANNING on terminating it early after about six or so months when she ran out of money. What the f***?

To paraphrase Dave Ramsey: “People who are rich got there by acting like they are poor. The people who are poor got there by acting like they are rich.”

From Budgets Are Sexy: Rent vs. buy: Tools, textbooks, clothing, caskets?

Sample comments:

I agree with these – especially the casket. I actually know of a few families that have rented caskets because of the costs. It seems creepy at first, but no one besides the family members planning the funeral will know anyway!

Strongly disagree. Buying is always better than renting, if you ask me. Let’s take a powe drill. I could own it for, say, 30 years? In those 30 years, how many times would I have to rent it before I exceeded the purchase cost? Not to mention how many times I lend it to friends and family, or the cost in petrol of driving to rental place and back twice each time. Or for that matter, just the convenience of having it in my garage.

I would say that you should rent (or borrow) ANYTHING YOU CAN the first time before making the decision on whether it will be worth buying, and factor in a LOT more things than a napkin-guess of how many times you might rent something before an “owned” version might break. Like:
1) The obvious: Do you need to customize this item in a way that precludes rental at all?
2) Do you live in a small place with a high cost of ownership per square foot or like keeping your space uncrowded? If so, how much is that worth to you over time?

That post inspired a bigger discussion on the topic at Consumerist.

Sample comments:

I rent most power tools or heavy equipment because I use them so infrequently that it’s not worth buying my own. The only power tool I own is a cordless drill. If I need any other, I rent or borrow it.

Instead of renting a prom dress, I would say the better tactic is to find a dress that doesn’t scream “prom” and be able to get more than one use out of it. If you absolutely need a long dress, buy one that isn’t so prom like (i.e. avoid satin) and then chop off the fabric at the knee to make a cocktail dress afterward.

Never understood some people’s obsession with buying movies. I think they just enjoy saying “I love that movie so much I OWN it”

From Bargaineering: Would you raise your own food?

Sample comments:

We did raise rabbits for food one year and it was a lot of fun for our 6 year old son. When it came time for a ‘freezer refill’ I would take him somewhere else for the day while his dad killed, cleaned and cut up several “4-legged chickens”.

I know this type of stuff may sound cool to “city folks” but this is a pain in the ass. Hell, most people don’t know how baby chicks come about. This also reminds me of “northern people” who come down here to work who think it would be cool to have peacocks or ducks for their yard. Funny stuff. If you want to “raise” your own food take up hunting. My cousin and I kill 5-10 deer a year and never have trouble finding someone to take them. We hunt squirrels which are tasty too.

I’ve thought about it, but I don’t think there is any way I could kill the animals after they had become pets. I really wanted to raise lambs. First off, I love lamb meat, but they could also maybe even serve as an auto grass cutting feature.