My last couple of jobs were not exactly stable: Screened was part of a startup, and I could tell that GameSpy was on thin ice as soon as I was hired and learned that IGN was trying to sell itself off from Fox. Between those, and a year's worth of unemployment, I haven't exactly been making a lot of major purchases in the last few years aside from a $600 bike that was more of a necessity than a splurge, considering I don't own a car. That's mostly fine; I've generally been a pretty frugal person, and as I'm pretty happy gaming at 1920x1080, even my three-year-old PC (with a more recent video card) is perfectly adept at playing almost everything that comes along. So I haven't felt much need to upgrade my PC, but there are a few more things that I've been planning to buy, and now that I'm (hopefully) going to be employed for a while, it's about time to start making some upgrades around the house.
Here are a few things I'm looking at:
Clothes: I'm pretty good at wearing out clothes, and although I have enough t-shirts to last a while, a lot of the other things that I own are basically falling apart. Many of my socks have holes in them, and I've actually managed to wear a pair of five-year-old Merrells so often that I wore straight through the rubber on their soles to the mesh underneath; I can actually get water into my shoes from underneath. So, new shoes, new socks, and I splurged a bit on a nice navy blazer and a fancy watch for dress-up occasions. Think that'll do me fine for a while.
Television: I'm still working with a Samsung 27-inch 720p that's something like eight years old. It's a decent size for my apartment, but it's on the small side, and it's time to start looking into something maybe in the 40-inch range as we're ramping up to the release of a couple new consoles. I generally hate television shopping, though: there are a billion different models with a billion different silly features and a billion different user reviews claiming that a given television is either a complete waste of money or the best piece of technology ever created. Luckily there are a few people in the office who might have some slight experience with buying video-related. If anyone has any recommendations for something in a 42-inch non-3D television that's not like a million dollars, feel free to comment.
Tablet: I've also been thinking of splurging on a tablet for some bedside web browsing. I was given a first-gen Kindle Fire a while back as a gift, but that thing is really slow and unresponsive to touch, plus pretty heavy for a mini-sized tablet. Plus I already have a regular Kindle, so I don't really need to use it for reading. I've been pretty impressed with the Nexus 7 when I've played around with it at Office Max, and with another model of those apparently coming in a couple months, I think that'd be a pretty easy buy. Especially if they wind up going down to $150, which would be pretty crazy.
Phone: Goddamn is it ever time for me to get off of AT&T. I realize that there aren't any saints in the world of telecom, but it's worth noting that they were one of the first telecoms to roll over for warrantless wiretapping. Lately I've been paying something like $95/month for services that I don't really need. I only send 150 texts a month or so, don't use much more than a few hundred megs of data, and rarely ever call anyone. Of course with the way that AT&T sets up their services, I wind up paying for a lot more than what I need since their minimum services are pretty stupid. Do I really need 450 nationwide minutes when I pretty much never call anyone? (With the monthly rollover minutes, I now have 4556 minutes of voice that I'm never going to use.) Do I need unlimited texts? Do I need 2 gigs of data a month? Nope!
The recent administrative fee for wireless billing is probably the last straw. I've been taking a long, hard look at T-Mobile's plans, which are pretty sensible, and they have both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, either of which look like something I'd be happy to use. I like their no-contract maneuver, as well, and I especially like how they allow you to pay off a phone over a couple of years without actually charging you any interest or extra fees for that, as far as I can tell. You have to pay for the phone in its entirety if you cancel service with them, but that's not so unexpected.
I probably wouldn't wind up saving more than 20 bucks a month (or around 40 if I'm willing to pay for a phone outright rather than pay for it monthly), but I'm pretty tired of AT&T in general, so it'd be nice to bounce over to a competitor (and I'm out of contract on AT&T, so I don't have to worry about any fees in that sense). I doubt that T-Mobile is all puppies and sunshine, but they seem to be pretty consumer-friendly, at least in terms of their no-contract situation and pricing. We'll see!
Other: I'm trying to think of anything else I might need, but nothing's really popping out at me. If the price is right, I might think about a computer overhaul sometime soon, and I probably need to start throwing something in the bank for the new consoles. I did also just buy a wireless headset for my PC, so I might get in some streaming sometime soon - we'll see!