Sunday 10 June 2007

Spend, Spend, Spend!

I don't know if was the fact that I lost almost $3,000 trading forex in the last month, or because stock market and real estate gains had boosted my net worth by around $90,000 in the past two months (at least on paper - the recent stock market downturn may change things a bit!), but in the past week I've suddenly decided to go out and spend significant amounts of money on some "nice to have" items that have been on my wish list for several years.

Item #1 - a new TV antenna/mast for $780:

I'd bought a digital TV USB adapter at Aldi for around $100 before I'd bought my new Dell PC. The new PC had enough 'grunt' for the Digital TV adapter to work (it hadn't worked on my old laptop), but our TV signal at home is rather poor (the analgue CRT TV has a lot of 'snow' and ghosting) so the Digital TV adapter could only lock in on signals for channels 7 and 28. The other free-to-air channels (2, 9 and 10) were not being picked up at all. So I arranged for a TV antenna specialist to drop by on Friday and quote for a new antenna, 14' mast and patch panels in our lounge-room and breakfast room. All up a new antenna installation will cost $780. Which is a bit more than I'd hoped, but not too bad if I amortise the cost over ten years (only $1.50 a week). The TV software running on the PC allows me to record HD digital TV shows, so we'll probably get a lot of use out of this setup.

Item #2: A $1,200 water bed mattress:

I had a water bed in my 20s and 30s and it was very comfortable, with no pressure points and constant temperature all year round. When I got married we needed a matress for the Queensize four-poster frame I'd bought (but never setup), and DW was adamant that we get a standard mattress. After 8 years it's now time to replace that matress and we've decided to go with a water bed matress this time. The main reason is that my eczema has been getting worse for the past few years, and a recent visit ($200!) to a specialist confirmed that a water bed would be a good way to minimise exposure to dust mites (which I'm highly allergic to). The tricky bit will be getting the water bed mattress to fit inside the four-poster bed frame. Although the wood slates can be removed so the water bed pedestal and base board will fit inside the frame, the frame is 155x200cm internally, and the water bed matress is 154x204 cm. I'm hoping that the baseboard can just have a few cm lopped off the end and the water matress will quish in to fit OK. We'll see how this works out when the water bed is delivered next weekend...

Hopefully that will be the end of "big ticket items" until I replace the pool fencing in the Spring.

Enough Wealth


Anonymous said...

I was looking through hd antennas prices and reviews and even the best antennas cost less than $100.

Are there any hidden costs in this that I should be aware of? What does cost $700, an antenna, a mast or a installation service? said...

The $780 was for finding the best spot to install the new mast and antenna, removing the old mast and antenna, installing a couple of outlets in different rooms, checking signal quality (to determine if an amplifier was needed) etc.

They didn't itemise the cost of the antenna itself.

I didn't bother getting multiple quotes as I figured that the initial written quote was supplied before they knew I was going to get them to do the job, so it should have been a competitive price.

I figure the cost will be amortized over at least 10 years if the equipment and installation is good quality, so if I had got a couple of quotes I probably wouldn't have been comfortable going with the cheapest quote anyhow (I'm too lazy to get multiple quotes and check out previous customers satisfaction with each potential supply in order to make a properly informed decision).