After two to four weeks
If you managed to last this long, you're serious about saving. With this kind of money you can splurge on big-name gadgets like a second generation 16GB iPod Touch ($299, Apple Store). Consider a Netbook (a.k.a. UMPC) like the Acer Aspire One AOA110-1955 Atom 1.6GHz 8.9" Ultramobile Notebook ($309.99, Buy.com) or an ASUS Eee PC Intel Atom 1.6GHz 10" Widescreen Notebook ($479, ZipZoomFly). Better yet, you'll have enough cash on hand to purchase a dual-core system, like the Dell Vostro 1000 Athlon 64 X2 1.9GHz 15.4" Widescreen Notebook ($399, Dell). High definition fans can upgrade to the Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray Disc Player ($198, 6th Avenue), though we'd personally wait for Blu-ray prices to drop before doing that.
After two months and above
Congratulations. Your diligence in saving money is about to pay off. Among the big ticket items you can afford with your new found money is this Samsung 50" Widescreen Plasma HD Television ($1,099.88, Vanns.com, pictured). In the market for a new laptop? With just over two months of saving, you can purchase the new, aluminum Apple MacBook 2GHz 13" Laptop ($1,299, Apple Store). And in case you were wondering, had you skipped lattés and cigarettes (and so on) for the past four years, you could now be driving a new 2009 Toyota Prius ($24,270 MSRP).
Even if some of these savings aren't applicable to you, this chart shows you how daily expenses can quickly add up. It's by no means an end-all list, but instead a guide designed to show you where you can begin cutting back. With the right amount of discipline (and the right deal), there's no gadget that's beyond your budget.
Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features Editor.