Last year, I decided to become a “late early adopter” by taking the jump to high-definition entertainment. I upgraded my equipment, including a Toshiba HD DVD player. While cognizant of the HD format wars, I went ahead with HD DVD because the equipment was better priced for the mass market. I thought thought that due to pure economics, this format would win despite its technical inferiority to Blu-Ray. I decided to hedge my bet and asked my girlfriend for a Blu-Ray player for the holidays.
Recently, more movie studios have agreed to support Blu-Ray exclusively, so despite HD DVD’s connectivity and interactivity features — none of which were ready on Blu-Ray — people seem to be declaring that Blu-Ray has won the format war. Shortly after this announcement, the Blu-Ray camp announced that players on the market now (except for the one built into the Playstation 3 game console) will not be able to play most future Blu-Ray discs thanks to technological advances that won’t be backwards compatible. Even though I thought I was covering all my bases, I lost the format war. The consumers always lose.
Here are some articles I’ve enjoyed recently:
NCN from No Credit Needed is expecting his third child and is building a better budget to take into account a lower income and higher expenses in some categories. Luckily there are some expenses that will decrease thanks to the new responsibilities — the fun expenses like vacations.
Perhaps J.D. from Get Rich Slowly should have written Tech Lust: How to Cope With Gadget Envy before I decided to upgrade to high definition. Actually, I don’t believe any of my friends have yet done this upgrade, so it was a decision I made without peer pressure. J.D. is not completely against the idea of giving into your urge to splurge. He has some tips for being smart about it — saving properly rather than going into debt and waiting.
Are you considering collecting unemployment rather than taking a job? An article on Free Money Finance explains why very few jobs are worse than unemployment. I agree — don’t quit your job unless you’re quite sure you have something new in the bag. Of course, there are exceptions. And sometimes, if you’re laid off or fired, you don’t have much of a choice. But in most cases, you’re in control of your situation, so it pays off to always be prepared.
Pinyo from Moolanomy is disappointed with Dave Ramsey’s advice about 529 Plans. 529 Plans are investment accounts designed to pay for college for yourself or a family member. Many of these plans are offered by states, and some of the best tax-advantaged benefits are limited depending on what school your child decides to attend. I tend to agree with Dave Ramsey; most 529 Plans are too inflexible. If your child decides not to attend college, be prepared to pay a hefty penalty if you ever want to see your funds again.
Updated June 20, 2014 and originally published January 17, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.