My understanding is that 256 or 360kbps AAC is, for all intents and purposes, highly accurate.
Something that the discussions don't really cover are "lossless" formats like DTS and Dolby Digital HD. These formats tend to use about 6-1000 kbps, yet don't incorporate the phase-changes that MP3 and AAC do. From what I understand, the resulting sound is more accurate than merely decimating 24bit to 16bit.
Buy "disposable" stuff. Technology breaks, gets obsolete, gets lost, gets stolen, ect.
Example: A few years ago, I bought a $2500 42" TV. It broke after 3 years, so I replaced it with a $1000 55". I didn't miss much, because both TVs are just basic HDMI without a lot of features.
Likewise, with your computers, make sure that they are capable of using some kind of magic cloud backup so that you can quickly get your stuff back. Dropbox runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
- I could only take the car to the dealer for anything more complicated then an oil change. Regular mechanics refused to look at the car. My check-engine light was on, and the dealer told me that I needed a new catalytic converter for $2-3000 dollars. (The guy who bought the car from me told me it was an inexpensive sensor that needed to be replaced.)
- I wanted four-wheel-drive so I could go through CA chain checks when I go skiing.
- My 7-year-old hybrid Civic was only worth about $2,000. Normally Civics hold their value.
My 2011 Impreza cost me $20,000, and is a compact car. The only 4wd hybrids are large SUVs, which cost $30,000. Even at $4.00 a gallon, $10,000 buys a lot of gas. At 21 miles a gallon, $10,000 buys over 57,000 miles worth of gas!
Furthermore, Subaru service charges a lot less money then Honda service, and their accessories cost less. Honda charged me $400 for rubber floor mats, and Subaru charged me $100 for rubber floor mats.
Now, had I not wanted 4wd, I probably would have bought the Insight. I really prefer its quietness and smoothness over the Impreza. On the other hand, given that Honda service is expensive, regular mechanics won't work on Honda hybrids, and that the Insight would probably be worthless after 7 years, I'm probably going to spend less money owning the Impreza.
I like going to the theater: It's an excuse to go people watching and get out of the house. I'm also able to focus on the movie because it's rude to pull out my phone or laptop.
Granted, I like the fact that I can drink or smoke anything I want from the comfort of my own couch. I'm sure I'll go to the theater less often when I have kids.