Why it can pay to be Behind the Times


If there is one pressure that exists in our modern world, it is that we are always being pressured into buying the latest this or the latest that. It may be the latest tablet, a new games console, the best mobile phone or it could even be something as simple as watching the latest movie at the cinema and the list goes on and on and on…

This quest for having the latest version of everything can be extremely expensive and while I admit that there may be some things in life where it can make sense to have the best version available on the market, often times it really isn’t necessary and it can actually pay dividends to deliberately stay behind the times. Let’s consider a few examples.

Games Consoles

My wife and I are the proud parents of two young boys and we recently decided to buy a Nintendo Wii off eBay, as they do enjoy playing on the computer from time to time. Rather than them just sitting there staring at a screen though, I thought it would be good if we could get a console where the whole family could get involved and we could all communicate during the game and have some family fun, so a Wii seemed to be the answer.

When looking for one, my wife and I were both amazed at just how cheap they are now compared to when they first came out. I remember them selling out when they were first launched and they were going for ridiculous money on eBay as parents scrambled to get hold of one as a present for their kids. Nowadays you can pick one up on eBay second hand for a fraction of the cost, but they are still just as much fun to play now as they were back then. The main reason they are so much cheaper now is because the later version of the console is on the market – the Wii U – and most people want this newer, much more expensive model. This also means that it’s not just the Wii console you can pick up cheap these days; you can also pick up a lot of cheap games and accessories for the original Wii for much less money too.

We can see then that it really does pay to be a little bit behind the times when it comes to games consoles.


Another area where it pays to be a little bit behind the times is when it comes to buying the latest movies or even when going to watch them at the cinema.

Any budgeting parent will know that it costs a fortune to take the whole family out to the cinema to see the latest film. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Quite often we find that if we just wait a little while for the film to drop down the box office charts, the cinema will then often include it in a cheaper family showing on a Saturday morning or something similar for a fraction of the original cost.

The same principle applies when films first come out on DVD or Blu-ray. When they are first released they really can cost an arm and a leg! If you give it a little time though, it doesn’t take all that long for the price to come down drastically or you might even find that it pops up for you to watch for free on your Amazon Prime or Netflix service.

If you REALLY want to save money in this area but still give the kids a special treat, then you might want to try out my wife’s idea of getting together with your friends and hosting your own kids movie night at home.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones are another obvious area where you can save yourself A LOT of money if you are just willing to stay a step or two behind the crowd. If you don’t mind not having the very latest mobile phone on the market then you will likely get a MUCH cheaper mobile phone contract with no upfront fee for the phone either.

I’m not a total scrooge!

As we’ve said a few times in this post then, it really does pay to be behind the times and to be content with not having the latest version of everything. It can also be a good financial lesson for our kids to learn to stop them from wasting money both now, and when they grow up. Having said all this, I’m not a total scrooge either. I know that sometimes it is nice for kids – and even for adults – to have a treat and to enjoy the latest film or the latest version of something. I just think that it’s important for it to be just that, a treat, rather than it being expected that they will always get the latest things that they want, regardless of the cost.

Can you think of other examples where it pays to be behind the times?

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