A Chain of Thought

J.D. Roth on GetRichSlowly mentions an article by Trent of The Simple Dollar on 15 thumb rules of shopping. Some of the rules (those relevant to me)  made real sense. In his article, Trent said he had been inspired by K Kelly of Technium. This site is really worth exploring for all the different trends of  thought.  He has one blog on street uses of things and a major part of these inventors seem to be in India. The pictures on Asia are simply marvellous too.  To get back, K Kelly mentions that his post came initially from Sam Grobart of the NY times. Maybe Sam was inspired by something else. But distilled wisdom is dispersing wildly this way, through a chain of people, with value addition at each step.

When one idea springs from another;  when we each get inspired by another and improve on that, the world works so marvelously. If we could do away with copyrighting jealously (and bring down Microsoft 🙂 wouldn’t it be a better place?

Here are some of  the rules I found true.

Pay for RAM, not speed. The speed of the computer chip does not matter; the attention-span or RAM memory does matter.

Pay for sensor size, not pixel count. On today’s cameras you’ll have enough megapixels; better quality comes from larger sensors.

Pay for glass, not shutters. In professional cameras, great lenses endure, while the camera bodies change and go obsolete.

Pay for reliability, not mileage. On a car, you’ll spend more of repairs and maintaince over its lifetime than you will on a difference in gas. (Does this hold true in India where we tend to buy new cars and our petrol cost is very high?)

Pay for location, not square footage. A home in a good location will always retain its value. On the other hand, lots of square footage mostly means room to store stuff you don’t really need, you often have to be far from your job in order to have a huge house

Pay for utility, not quantity. If you’re buying kitchen implements, you’re better off buying basic tools that really work for a lot of things rather than tons of tools for specific things.

Pay for hardware, not software. Most of the applications that people need for their home computer have quality free versions online.

Pay for energy efficiency, not features. When you’re buying a large appliance, the energy efficiency of the appliance outweighs virtually every feature because of the enormous amount of energy used by the appliance.

Pay for experiences, not things. A thing is something that takes up space in your house. An experience changes who you are as a person. One cannot be replaced, while the other can easily be replaced.

Pay for what you need, not what you want. This is the best tip of all. Figure out your actual needs before you ever go shopping for any item, then seek out the least expensive option that matches your needs. Your wants mostly just cost you money without giving you anything you need.

People have added their wisdom to the columns with :

Buy second hand not new. This applies for cars, bikes, music equipment.

Buy microsoft, not apple.

Linux, not windows

I tried thinking of some new axioms but so far have come up with very weak ones. Can anybody add to these?

What would you look for when you buy clothes? a cell phone? furniture?


3 thoughts on “A Chain of Thought

  1. People can look for buying a handcuff, when they buy a mobile to present to someone.

    the hand and the mobile don’t separate..!!! and the mobile would never get lost.

  2. Hi Kalyani, Nice post. I especially liked the one that speaks of paying for experiences and not things. But the marketers are getting clever too. They sell you things under the guise of experience – ‘the experience of the iPhone’ for example. And invariably the message is magnetic in its appeal. One does not often stop to consider whether you will really use the snazzy iPhone features the ad drools about. Buy first and wonder later!

    Nevertheless, I guess it is okay to be misled into an expensive purchase sometimes, don’t you think? A little indulgence is good for you. My own advice: Always ask before you buy. Someone, somewhere has probably already bought what you are going to buy. With the Internet it is easier to seek that someone out. And knowing what (s)he thinks about what you are going to buy can only help.


  3. Vijay, the thrill of owning something new is so good that you stifle all those nay voices which say ‘do I really need that?”
    Self indulgence does make you feel good for some time.

    And yes, the Internet has made researching buying things much easier. We don’t ask the Ramasamy’ next door; ask the Joneses somewhere out there.

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