To Spend or Not to Spend - That is the Question!

The iPhone is going to look this stupid to our kids.

The fun of shopping is spending money on things you don’t really need. I absolutely abhor paying for groceries, rent and utilities. A trip to the grocery store is about as fun for me as getting a colonoscopy (which I experienced at the ripe old age of 22, but that’s another story for another time. Or not.).

But as I get older and become more financially responsible, I realize spending money on things I don’t need is only okay if done sparingly, thoughtfully and only when I have extra cash (NOT credit) to spend.

I’ve nearly crawled out of the pool of debt I’ve been drowning in since college (and will be free from in April – thanks to a surprisingly large tax return!), and to do that, I’ve had to change my relationship with material items and change my mindset when making a purchase decision.

The biggest lesson I’ve had to teach myself is the true definition of the word “need”. The word need is best described by what it isn’t. Need does not mean: deserve, would be nice, would be cool, would be more convenient, would be fun, or everyone else has one. Those were all definitions I used in the past to justify the thousands of dollars of credit card debt I found myself in when I graduated.

Now that I’m back on track, I find myself truly in need of a new cell phone. I’ve hung on to this stupid little Samsung Gravity (the lame bar phone, not the smartphone version) for two years because the phone bill for it is so cheap, and it did everything I needed it to. But now, it is so beat up, that replacing it is going to have to happen sooner rather than later. A hinge has come loose and now hangs over the “O” on my QWERTY keyboard. The only way to text anything with an “O” requires the use of the new button, “hinge.” I’ve lived with the hinge button for about a year (which my mother calls me ghetto for doing). But recently, stupid little Samsung Gravity has begun randomly failing to end a call when I hit the end button. No matter how many times I hit the damn button, I resort to hitting the mute button so the caller on the other end doesn’t hear a string of cursing after hanging up with me. It also likes to randomly turn off. But now, my phone decided it can’t live like this anymore and is committing suicide – it refuses to hold a charge.

This brings us to my coveting of the iPhone. I’ve been debating this purchase for months. Armed with my newfound definition of need, I’m having a hard time justifying it. Initially, I thought only d-bags had iPhones (sorry Boyfriend). But once Boyfriend got one, and I began playing with it, I realized they are neat and have a lot more functionality and uses than my sad little bar phone.

The problem is, besides being a $200 phone, simply having one means I’ll be paying twice my current monthly cell phone bill (at both Verizon and AT&T). This isn’t a one time charge that I can forget about. This is a sustained bill I’m going to have to pay every single month should I choose to join the cult. It’s not that I can’t afford it – it just seems stupid to pay for Internet access on my phone when I already pay for it on my laptop. I’ve gotten by just fine paying $40 a month for stupid little Samsung Gravity.

But I’m finding that having a Smartphone is SUPER convenient, and could potentially be a necessity: the last time I printed mapquest directions I ended up in a sketchy trailer park on the wrong side of town, looking for my friend’s apartment – true story. So to spare myself from being faced with toothless, shot-gun wielding, confederates wondering why some chick is looking like a deer in headlights amongst rows of double wides, I’m leaning towards just buying the damn thing.

AHH! Sticks and Stoners what should I do?

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