So in my inbox recently was an invite to join an upcoming reality show on absolute cheapskates which I decided was probably not for me. Honestly, I didn’t feel I could scream to the American public, “Yes I’m as cheap as they get!” when we just bought a new TV. I know, I know, but there is a darn good reason for it!!

Our projector exploded. Literally a loud pop combined with an earth shattering sound when we tried to restart it. Before you go off on us for having a projector, it was a free gift from my stepbrother when he upgraded to a new HD projector and we’ve had it for almost three years. Since we didn’t have TV or radio, we ran everything through our video console through the TV and it was our only source of entertainment. I searched everywhere, even on ebay, but our projector was so old, that to replace the bulb and housing (since it literally exploded) was going to run us around $400.
Since it was so old, we decided it wasn’t worth it and we were just going to use our computers for a while for watching netflix and hulu. That idea only lasts so long when you need glasses and your personal computer is a netbook with a 9 inch screen. After about a week, we couldn’t stand it anymore and went searching for a new/new to us TV. A projector was just going to cost too much.
We talked about what we wanted to get. The goal was to get the least expensive TV that will last the longest; I don’t want to get something that’s going to be phased out with the next wave of technology. So we went to Costco, only to find that they had phased out all of their LCD TVs except for a 32″ 720p and the LED TVs were running $500-$800 more than their LCD counterparts. LED=not a need for us. Since we live in a one-room studio, the 32″ was a no-go because it was too difficult to see from a distance.
Next we went to Sears, since it was right across the street. We had been looking around, and we went to the clearance side where I saw a nice Sony and Panasonic, but they didn’t have any information listed. We finally settled on a Toshiba, which was one step up from their worst quality TV, but had everything we needed for $550. Sure blacks looked a little grey, but, we weren’t willing to shell out any more. My husband made it very clear that he didn’t want a floor model due to the hours of use on those TVs. After he walked away, the sales woman turned to me and said, “It’s a shame he doesn’t want an open box TV; we have a couple in clearance that would be perfect for you.” I immediately thought of the Sony and Panasonic and clarified, “Open box isn’t a problem. He just doesn’t want a floor model due to the hours of use they have. Show me what you’re thinking of.”
Our helpful sales lady walked us right to the Sony. It was 40″ (perfect size), 1080p, 120 HZ (perfect for Mr. MT’s gaming) with a ridiculously high contrast ratio (black looked black instead of blue or grey!). The price was $499. Apparently someone had bought the TV with a fraudulent credit card, and Loss Prevention (Security) worked with the Police to have it returned. Since they just switched over to the new models, the newly obtained TV was now considered last year’s model, and it was the only one. They marked it down from $1300 to $499. I stood guard until the purchase was final so no one would try anything funny and take our prize.
I feel like I made a good decision because we purchased the TV for over 60% off. Since my husband worked at Sears before, and we were basically buying a used TV, he requested the warranty, so if anything happens in the next year three years we can have it replaced with a new TV, and can have it serviced each year. We can also return the warranty in the first year for a full refund if we choose. At the same time, I know a TV, especially one of this quality falls under Abby at I Pick up Pennies‘ category of a Luxureed. It’s not a necessity, but as our only form of in-home entertainment, it’s rather important to us in the rainy months. We looked at older TVs on craigslist, but due to our I space constraints, they were just too big.
When moments like this happen I just feel frustrated about spending money. I don’t know if I’ve gotten to a point where I hate to spend. Everytime I have to spend money on anything, even food, I think, “That’s $80 I can’t spend to reduce debt” or the worst is “I remember when these things didn’t cost so much.”
Does anyone else feel this way when they spend money. I know I’m not a spendthrift, but I don’t think I’m frugal enough, either.