Karin: Mom, EVERYONE has a Wii except for us.
Liz: What, EVERYONE? EVERY SINGLE ONE? Really? That's so sad!
Karin: It's true.
Liz: Awww, you poor thing, and here you've only JUST gotten Playstation 2.
Liz: Too bad you have such sucky parents that only buy the old stuff and the used stuff and the hand-me-down stuff.
Liz: Hey! Wrong answer!!
Karin: *giggles madly*
Poor Karin. It's true, though. We are really cheap when it comes to the toys and gadgets our kids have. It's not that we don't buy them things, but they usually don't get the latest and trendiest stuff when it's new and at its most expensive. We waited years to buy one of the giant trampolines, for example, and we bought it used. The pool was used, much of their furniture is used (or second-hand), their computer is our old one...even the Playstation that Santa brought was actually third-hand. It's just too damned expensive to buy all the toys and electronics that kids today desire.
We've gladly accepted hand-me-down clothing and toys and furniture for the kids since they were babies. Frankly, I don't understand how anyone can afford to buy everything a newborn needs at retail prices. Baby carriages in Sweden, when new, routinely cost upwards of 6000 kronor (approximately $775). We bought a perfectly good used one from Anders' sister for a couple of hundred kronor...and a second one when Karin was born for about the same from a friend. When kids use things for such a short amount of time, what a WASTE to always buy everything new! The world would be COVERED in used crap if we didn't recycle our STUFF the same way we recycle our cans and bottles and newspapers (and it's heading in that direction, alarmingly).
Plus, doesn't it build character that they don't automatically get everything they want, when they want it? They've both wanted Heelies for a couple of years, but they were too expensive for us to justify for kids' feet that are growing out of shoes every six months...our method is to tell them to put it on their birthday or Christmas wish lists (and make their grandparents or aunts & uncles cough up the good stuff, thereby becoming HEROES in a big way, like Uncle John & Aunt Simone did this year with discounted Heelies!) or save up their allowance.
Karin wants a mobile? Save up, baby! Martin wants a laptop? Ditto! Of course, they DO sometimes get what they want when they want it, but it's not a frequent event by any means, especially when it comes to the pricier stuff, and so, when it does happen, it's both special and memorable.
We buy used stuff for ourselves, too, though we're not quite as cheap when it comes to our home, and we also save up for big-ticket items. Our cars are always used, I look for used books and CDs, and Anders scours eBay and Blocket for used motorcycle parts, etc. My Christmas-present-treadmill came from Blocket, barely used, and I was just as thrilled with it as if it had been new. It might as well have been, as far as I was concerned, and I was glad that Anders got a good deal by finding it second-hand. Score! So, even for us, buying new is a special and memorable experience. Especially when you have, as I usually do, champagne tastes on a beer budget.
Hee! I love that saying. I don't like or drink either champagne or beer but I've got that metaphor nailed when it comes to spending money! :D
When I do buy something brand new for myself, I have to admit that I love it. It feels kind of decadent, somehow.