Author Topic: How much do you spend on electronics  (Read 7440 times)

Gin1984

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How much do you spend on electronics
« on: June 01, 2015, 10:35:20 AM »
Some people seem set aside money for large expenses that don't happen annually, like repairs for the house or a new car when looking at FIRE.  I was wondering if people also prorate electronics into that budget.  I was looking over our budget today and was looking our computer.  We want to have two cell phones, a lap top and desk top and a tablet.  Averaging that out based on their lifespans added up to way more than I was expecting (and more than I budgeted).  So how do people here deal with those kind of expenses?

arebelspy

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 11:08:04 AM »
Depends on what percent of your budget it is if you should prorate and plan for it, I'd think.

Rough numbers:
A $500 laptop every 3 years
Two $200 phones every 2.5 years
A $400 tablet every 2.5 years
Two $100 eBook reader every 4 years

Totals $536.67/yr.  or about $45/mo.

That's maybe 1-2% of a retirement budget?
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arebelspy

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2015, 11:22:51 AM »
Looking at Mint, to give you our exact numbers, we spent $1,448 on the category "Electronics and Software" for 2012/2013/2014.  So an average of $482/yr.  Actually not that far off my random estimate above.

I feel like we've spent more recently than is typical (getting new eBook readers, laptops, etc. for our upcoming trip), but one probably always feels like that.

In any case, I think $500/yr. sounds about right for a Mustachian who wants decent things because they provide utility, but doesn't necessarily need the latest and greatest and upgrading every single year when their current one works fine.
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MayDay

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2015, 11:33:45 AM »
Looking back at us (2 adults and 2 kids who use our stuff and don't own there own yet)

2.5 years ago 2 200$ smart phones (subsidized by verizon, now we are on PAYG)
3 years ago 1 netbook, $400 or less
1 year ago, desktop, $600
3 years ago tablet was gifted to us but it would have been 500$
Said tablet just broke, replacing with 250$ ipad mini (again gifted)

So total of 1900-2150 depending on how you count the 2 tablets in a 3 year cycle.  A bit higher than ARS but pretty close. 

As kids use the computer more and more for school the desktop is needed, with a 2nd option (laptop) for when they both need it.  They may also end up with e-readers or tablets.  Hard to know how to count it because they would most certainly be xmas gifts and/or purchased by relatives/old stuff gifted by relatives as hand-me-downs.  But 500-1000 a year for a family of 4 seems like a reasonable estimate going forward.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2015, 11:39:21 AM »
So how do people here deal with those kind of expenses?

Computer: $1.5K every 3 to 4 years
Tablet: Free from work
Smart Phone: Free to $200 every 3yrs with new cell plan
TV: $1K every 10yrs
Digi Cam: $500 every 3yrs

I don't bother budgeting for these items. I just go buy what I need when something breaks or gets obsolete [~3yrs on a phone/computer].

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CommonCents

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 12:15:51 PM »
Computers:
I bought a laptop in 2009 ($1500, work paid half) and one in 2015 ($700 including an external cd rom).   I received a gift old (~4 yrs at the time) laptop a family member was replacing in 2007, and a gifted newish one in 2004 that I heavily used in law school.  So apparently one every 6 years, but I'm moving towards cheaper and faster replacement so about the same annual cost.
DH bought a laptop in 2009 ($500) that died in 2013 and an Ipad in 2013 ($200). 

Phone:
I bought a iphone in 2011? ($200).  Will replace this year if they ever come out with a smaller iphone size again.
DH still uses a phone of average intelligence from ~2008. ($50)

Kindle:
Gift in 2012 ($70) but I'll replace it when it dies so I'll include it.

External hard drives:
Bought two ($50 each) in 2015 so we can back up the back up (we care about our photos and almost lost them when the prior external hard drive from 2007 died). 

2014 Cable replacements (saved us well more than they cost):
Roku: $90
Mohu Leaf: $50
Cromecast: $35

TV:
Mine is 2007, DH's 2007/2008, just before we met each other.  $700? for mine.

DVD player:
Mine is 2007.  Maybe $100?  Not sure on DH's age or cost.
One of the two broke 6 mos ago.  We haven't and won't replace it.

Stereo:
No idea age or cost.  [At least 10 years, likely 15-20 years old.  Doubt we'd replace.]

Router/modem:
We need to buy a new router/modem.  Mine from 2007 ($100) are terrible. 

Printer:
Own a gifted one (2012) that doesn't really work. 

Digital camera:
$500?? in 2007.

Essentially, I bought a lot of tech stuff when I graduated from law school and got a place on my own w/o roommates or boyfriends.  We have some duplicates bc we met later in life and the doubles haven't all died (but we won't replace).

That's $675/year, except I anticipate the Kindle, Roku, Mohu Leaf, Chromecast (all newish purchases for which I don't have a longevity baseline) will last at least 5+ more years.  If I assume 7 years for each of those, it's $515/year.  It'll drops to $485/year when you consider the tv is likely to last at least 4 more years and $468/year when you figure we'd buy a cheaper one next time around.  So - maybe $450/year, as I'm not going out and replacing my DVD player or camera today either, and DH's switched to a cheaper tablet from a laptop which is also not dying today?

I don't budget a specific tech budget.  We get things when they die usually.  Rarely do we bother to get ahead of the curve and buy things before they die, although we are going to start trying that with laptops.

Interesting to calculate though.

[ETA: Forget our noise cancelling headphones bought last fall.  $250 and $300.  Probably ups to ~$515/year]
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 02:23:58 PM by CommonCents »

2Birds1Stone

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2015, 03:48:07 AM »
I've been blessed with a laptop that despite being expensive  ($1500) it's around 5 years old and going strong. I have an ipod equally as old that was $100. The only other Electronics I buy is a new cell phone every 3 years. Next laptop will be a $200 Chromebook.

markbrynn

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2015, 04:49:43 AM »
Quote
Smart Phone: Free to $200 every 3yrs with new cell plan

I don't live in the US, so not sure what the reality is over there. However, after doing some research (not difficult, just check price of phone plans vs. sim-only plans vs. price of phone on its own) it became clear that telephones are not being subsidized where I live. In fact, I was being charged  some interest (not directly, but via the pricing) to not pay for the phone up front.

To be clear (numbers are example, not my exact case):
Monthly phone subscription was 45 (2 year contract)
Fancy phone as part of that subscription was free
Fancy phone on its own was 400
Monthly phone subscription for sim-only was 20 (2 year contract).

So, for each month I could save 25 for bringing my own phone.
Over 24 months (2 year contract) that amounts to 600.
I could have bought my own phone for 400 and saved 200.

Is it actually true that American providers subsidize the phone cost or is it only an illusion (pay less now, pay more every month)?



Insanity

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How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 05:04:11 AM »
My wife and I wind up buying a new laptop for one of us every two years at about $1500.  Because tech has gotten so good, I spent only $750 for hers this time. I need more power since I do software work for a living.  I tend not to use it as a business expense because it is used for personal too much of the time.

We replace TVs every 10-12 years.  Our phones are around five years old.  Neither one of is like the larger style phone and our 4s are holding up fine (though we haven't upgraded the OS since 8 came out).

My stereo system is also in the 10 year old time frame.

Ironically both our main TV and stereo needs an upgrade, we have no mortgage payment (this month due to refi), and I would rather save the money then replace both.

laufen

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 05:23:39 AM »
Thanks for this thread. I've been struggling with whether to replace a computer and although I don't think I'll pull the trigger quite yet, I am warming up to the idea. The support for the OS on all my computers has ended and they are turning into boat anchors. I'm willing to keep the hardware and just update with open source but I am having trouble finding the time to do it between my job and young kids at home (small apartment, kids more fun than the computers). This reluctance to spend ANY money, however, could just be me being overly cheap.

  • 2008: $400 on a Netbook. Has some old Ubuntu netbook version on it but needs something lighter because it is dying under the weight. Would be a good kid computer after a little TLC.
  • 2010: $500 on a desktop. It's currently only the Windows 7 half of dual-boot with Linux. The linux distro retired earlier this year...no more updates...and when I installed a newer version my graphics card wrecked havoc and made it basically unusable. Haven't had time to trouble shoot for nearly a month now.
  • 2010: $0 (Inherited) a 2007 Macbook from a family member. No longer supported, so buggy that we only use it to play the kid's one DVD. Would love to put a different OS on this one.
  • 2012: $0 on iPad (thanks American Express Membership Rewards). This is the hubby's surfing device and the chat-with-grandma machine.
  • $100 on phones, over the last 5 years. They are just fine.
  • 2013: $60 kindle. Also fine.

I'm currently just limping along with a private partition on my work laptop, but I'll likely be required to turn that in within a year.
So after looking at those numbers, I think I can break down and get a decent laptop in the next year.  Now...what to buy...

alsoknownasDean

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2015, 05:35:49 AM »
I'm surprised people replace their laptops so regularly.

I've got a laptop that's recently hit six years old. It was a face-punchingly expensive $3000AUD at the time (15" MacBook Pro).

My current phone is an iPhone 5 that I bought on contract in late 2012 (RRP of $999AUD). Once the contract ended, I switched to a cheaper carrier with the same phone, my monthly bill on the contract was $92 (went up to $107 with the data pack I bought), and now I pay $35AUD a month with more included.

I've got an iPad as well, purchased on contract again (poor student, facepunch, RRP of $899AUD) just over three years ago. Now that the contract is over, I don't bother with mobile data in it, the prepaid SIM in it hasn't had any data on it for about six months. I mostly only use it on wifi anyway.

All three are probably due for replacement at some point in the next year or two. I'm just not quite sure in which order and when. This time if I buy a new phone or tablet, I'll look at buying outright rather than on a plan :)
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 05:40:20 AM by alsoknownasDean »

GuitarStv

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2015, 06:23:50 AM »
I've purchased about 100$ worth of capacitors, resistors, and transistors in the past five years . . . but used them to fix up some old amplifiers and build guitar effects pedals, so I was able to sell them and make a profit.

Not having a cell phone, not playing computer games, and putting Linux on older computers for household usage has really cut down on the money I used to waste on electronic junk.

forummm

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2015, 06:52:38 AM »
I've spent about $150 on electronics per year on average over the last 5. Just cell phones and laptops.

Insanity

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2015, 07:00:54 AM »
I've purchased about 100$ worth of capacitors, resistors, and transistors in the past five years . . . but used them to fix up some old amplifiers and build guitar effects pedals, so I was able to sell them and make a profit.

Not having a cell phone, not playing computer games, and putting Linux on older computers for household usage has really cut down on the money I used to waste on electronic junk.

I tried doing the Linux thing for the wife, she hated it (even using Ubuntu). 

I just also wanted to say I love the profile pic :)

laufen

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2015, 07:10:53 AM »
putting Linux on older computers for household usage has really cut down on the money I used to waste on electronic junk.
Agreed! But do you find you spend more time maintaining them? Kind of a time/money trade off?

GuitarStv

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2015, 07:26:50 AM »
putting Linux on older computers for household usage has really cut down on the money I used to waste on electronic junk.
Agreed! But do you find you spend more time maintaining them? Kind of a time/money trade off?

I don't spend any extra time maintaining them.  Ubuntu is pretty stupid proof, and if a serious problem occurs you just reinstall (takes less than an hour and only needs user input in the first couple minutes . . . and usually needs to be done once every couple years).  Keep your data on one partition, and your OS on another so you don't lose anything.

laufen

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2015, 07:52:55 AM »
putting Linux on older computers for household usage has really cut down on the money I used to waste on electronic junk.
Agreed! But do you find you spend more time maintaining them? Kind of a time/money trade off?

I don't spend any extra time maintaining them.  Ubuntu is pretty stupid proof, and if a serious problem occurs you just reinstall (takes less than an hour and only needs user input in the first couple minutes . . . and usually needs to be done once every couple years).  Keep your data on one partition, and your OS on another so you don't lose anything.

...it is Ubuntu and its Unity insanity that is giving me such grief on my desktop right now. Thinking of switching to Mint.

CommonCents

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2015, 08:03:34 AM »
I'm surprised people replace their laptops so regularly.

I've got a laptop that's recently hit six years old. It was a face-punchingly expensive $3000AUD at the time (15" MacBook Pro).

I'd focus on the annual cost of the laptop rather than the replacement frequency.  You have an average yearly cost of $500 on your laptop - that's as if you bought a new one every year.  Both mine and my husband's are less than $125/year.

GuitarStv

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2015, 08:09:18 AM »
What's your issue with Unity?  I had an old distro that was updated and it gave a bunch of weird problems with Unity after the update.  A fresh install fixed them all.

Spork

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2015, 08:26:24 AM »
putting Linux on older computers for household usage has really cut down on the money I used to waste on electronic junk.
Agreed! But do you find you spend more time maintaining them? Kind of a time/money trade off?

I don't spend any extra time maintaining them.  Ubuntu is pretty stupid proof, and if a serious problem occurs you just reinstall (takes less than an hour and only needs user input in the first couple minutes . . . and usually needs to be done once every couple years).  Keep your data on one partition, and your OS on another so you don't lose anything.

...it is Ubuntu and its Unity insanity that is giving me such grief on my desktop right now. Thinking of switching to Mint.

Do it.  I've been running Mint 3+ years.

GUI preferences are not overly important in the grand scheme of things... but are pretty important as personal preferences.  I've been running some flavor of unix since about 1990 as my only desktop.  Mint/Mate meets my preference list -- though I know many people prefer Cinnamon.

laufen

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2015, 08:54:31 AM »
What's your issue with Unity?  I had an old distro that was updated and it gave a bunch of weird problems with Unity after the update.  A fresh install fixed them all.

It doesn't work well with my nvidia card...won't go into the details here but basically it can't handle it.
But yeah, I LOVE the pricetag on Linux- no shelling out for an OS, for software, for anti-virus subscriptions...
(p. s. Sorry for hijacking this thread)

Syonyk

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2015, 09:00:02 AM »
A decent bit, but a lot of it is tax deductible, and playing in high performance compute realms, there's a lot I literally can't do on a cheap machine (it's hard to write code for high end video cards without a high end video card).

I get a lot of my stuff cheaply by obtaining broken hardware and fixing it, though.  A couple hours with a soldering station to save $200 is worth it to me...

Spork

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2015, 09:21:41 AM »
sort of guessing on our spend here...

bought wifey a replacement laptop for about $700.  Her previous laptop was about 8 years previous (and still very workable, just starting to not handle HD video smoothly.)   I'm about to have to spend about that as well.... as I am about to FIRE and wont have a work supplied laptop.

Phones: I am still using a 2006 brick... but it's starting to stutter.  Wife's smartphone was in the $200 range and is (guessing) 3+ years old.  Still workable, but google stopped supplying updates, so it will probably have to be replaced or rooted.

Other electronics are hard disk replacements for server/Tivo.  My Tivo seems to eat disk drives.  They last about 2-3 years before they start to fail.  Server disks get a lot more airflow and last 5+years.   I usually use throwaway systems for the actual server.

epipenguin

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2015, 12:41:12 PM »
I'm averaging nearly $600 a year, if I assume additional phone/device cost of $20 per month on my phone plans for 48 months before I saw the light. Wow, that's a lot of money. Hopefully it will be less going forward.

2009: new Macbook approx $1100
2011: new iPhone 4 $199 plus monthly cost bundled into 2 year plan.
2012: new iPad mini $391
2013: new iPhone 5 $199 plus monthly cost bundled into 2 year plan.
2013: new Apple charging cable after the cats had chewed through the old ones $85
2013: repair hard drive of Macbook $180
2014: another Apple charging cable due to cats nomming $80
2014: new Chromebook to replace the Macbook which died $220
2015: finally switched iPhone to prepaid plan, so no longer paying the additional monthly cost.
2015: yet another Apple charging cable $80
2015: yup, this time the Chromebook charging cable $25

Retire-Canada

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2015, 12:56:24 PM »
I'm surprised people replace their laptops so regularly.

It depends on what you do with your computer and how much you use it. My laptop gets used for graphics intensive applications, I earn my living from my computer and it is pretty much my entertainment centre. When I was done with my last laptop which lasted closer to 5yrs I gave it to my GF who used it happily for another 3yrs of occasional use.

I'm buying less expensive computers these days, but that means they are lasting closer to 3yrs vs the more expensive machine I bought in the past.

OTOH I own no furniture beyond a bed and 2 Aeron chairs. 

Rural

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2015, 05:37:42 PM »
Computers:

  • 2011 laptop $200 refurb. This one is fading but not dead yet.
  • 2010 work-provided laptop - this one is still solid and may be the replacement for the above
  • 2014 laptop for husband $350
  • 2012 ipad, work-provided, now with work-provided Office suite so nothing but cross-referenced spreadsheets really need a computer.
  • Wireless router free with the two-year lock in we had to sign to get high-speed internet at all, but it's not a rental, at least. Doesn't matter how long the lockin is, really, since there is no other option- not even enough signal for cellular.

Two dumb phones:
  • Had to replace his brick about once a year with a "new" one from eBay until we bought him a "rugged" flip phone from ebay two years ago for $30. He hasn't broken it yet.
  • I have an "old people" flip phone that was the free replacement for my 2004 brick when AT&T quit supporting it. Can't remember exactly what we paid in 2004, but it was in the $60 range.
No television, no camera, no stereo system, etc. There's an old boom box with a broken antenna around here somewhere, but it's earlier than 2004. Works, though; just stick in a coat hanger.

There was another refurb laptop around 2007, but I can't remember its cost, so since 2011 we've spent $580 on electronics. $129 a year. He'll surely break his laptop being a student, though, so I expect that to go up.

stlbrah

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2015, 10:47:26 PM »
Pretty much $0 in the past several years. Being a tech person, I always find a way to either exchange work for hardware or get something for free.

I think I spent $8 last year on ink to refill my ink cartridges in my printer.

Ricky

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2015, 11:48:42 PM »
I'm surprised people replace their laptops so regularly.

It depends on what you do with your computer and how much you use it. My laptop gets used for graphics intensive applications, I earn my living from my computer and it is pretty much my entertainment centre. When I was done with my last laptop which lasted closer to 5yrs I gave it to my GF who used it happily for another 3yrs of occasional use.

I'm buying less expensive computers these days, but that means they are lasting closer to 3yrs vs the more expensive machine I bought in the past.

OTOH I own no furniture beyond a bed and 2 Aeron chairs.

I ordered a C and B Aeron during the HM sale last month to see which one fit best. For me, I didn't find either chair to be that much more comfortable than my $60 chair. Neither chair really fit me. Another reason I returned is that the C (which I preferred) was getting squeaky in the arms when I'd lean on them as well as below the seat when I got off the chair. I was surprised since that was one reason I wanted a "high quality" chair was to avoid creeky parts. Considering trying a Steelcase Leap eventually. Not as sexy as the Aeron though.

I spend too much on electronics and restaurants, but that's really it. Currently own a "modest" 13" MacBook Pro, Thunderbolt Display, and iPad and iPhone. That's not including speakers and other music/art equipment/other accessories I've purchased and took losses on by selling over the past few years :) I'd hate to share the actual numbers TBH but I've gotten better. I use everything every single day that I own now so it's worth it to me. I am not as bad at replacing things every year or even two years anymore. I only buy for need or to ultimately save money these days.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 12:00:18 AM by Ricky »

rmendpara

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Re: How much do you spend on electronics
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2015, 12:06:59 PM »
Sadly, too much. :(

Macbook in 2010, ~2k
Macbook in 2014, ~1.9k
ipad in 2013, ~400

.. more iphones than I care to recall, the latest being the new iphone 6... although I usually sell the old one and recoup a fair amount of the purchase.

I'm a sad, broke, Apple fan...