8/13/2008

The HDTV Challenge: Update 4

We have to start this update with a retraction from Update 3. We mistakenly allocated a bonus check to the HDTV fund. After reviewing our HDTV Challenge mantra - 'buy this want by selling things we don't need' - we found that including the bonus check was not appropriate. It has been re-allocated to a different fund, and put to good use.

In the meantime, we've sold some items. Actually, we finally managed to sell the big items from our garage sale several weeks ago. It's proven difficult, but not impossible.

  • $200 for some antique furniture
  • $270 for a 'dumpster-dive' item sold on ebay
  • $275 for old TV
The math comes out like this:
  • Previous balance of $600 (adjusted balance from update 3)
  • Total from items sold $745
  • New total of $1345
It's time to go shopping!
(update: we've bought our TV, we got a great deal on it, and it's awesome!)

Our goal of $1400 was based on early research and not necessarily tied to one specific model. We had hoped that for that amount we could get one darn nice TV as well as the wall-mount. It has been a long journey, and we are seeing the light at the end - and that light is in 1080p. Here is what we have learned from the experience.

  1. Patience. Incredible patience and perseverance. Slow and steady does win the race. There were several occasions when we could have given in and dipped into savings to take advantage of a 'great deal' or given up altogether. We stuck with it, and the result is an incredible feeling of satisfaction. We earned this. We didn't splurge, we didn't impulse, we didn't cheat. We devised a plan and followed it - kinda like getting out of debt...
  2. Moore's Law still works. Wikipeadia has a very detailed explanation for those of you unfamiliar, but in essence: Over time, technology goes up and price goes down. This always works in your favor if you are patient with your purchasing. Launch-day iPhone people, I'm looking at you.
  3. We are weird. Even "un-American" by some people's estimation. We sold our old TV, then bought the new one. No financing. No 'TV fever'. No robbing other funds or burdening the budget. We did it our way, in our time. This also kept us in control of the sale of our TV since it wasn't playing second fiddle to the shiny, new TV. We also weren't 'desperate sellers'. We turned down several low offers before getting one that we were happy with.
  4. Curb appeal isn't just for houses. We bought a DTV converter box to include with the purchase of the TV. It cost us $20 after the government subsidy, and even though a small percentage of Americans actually need the box (ie, the buyer may not need it), it at least gave us a crystal clear picture and sound for showing it to buyers, and we got to use it in the meantime:)
  5. The HDTV market is rather complicated. Not for the faint of heart! Brands, features, sizes, model lines, product reviews, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 60Hz, 120Hz, brightness levels, contrast ratios, sales, sales, SALES! All this time gave us ample opportunity to navigate the market and zero in on what we wanted and what we were willing to pay.
Would you have done it? Could you delay such a purchase for 8 months to avoid financing / robbing other funds for a large purchase?

Be on the lookout for our next challenge.... Coming Soon!

3 comments:

Sallie's Niece said...

Congrats and enjoy the TV, you earned it!

Dana said...

Congratulations on your new TV! I really enjoyed following your challenge. Our children are doing something similar - they are selling their old toys (things they don't play with anymore but are in good condition) to raise money for a Playstation 2. It's been fun watching them prioritize their stuff and deciding what stays and what goes.

Mr. (not) the Jet Set said...

Thanks for the kind words - both of you.

That's really cool what your kids are doing, Dana. What a great teaching tool and experience. They will appreciate that PS2 so much more having earned it, instead of just given to them.

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