That's a great point...
I remember the very first time I spent over $100 on a magic purchase--it was Mike Caveney's Linking Coathangers, and I was in my first year of college. (Even then, I agonized for quite a while over whether to really invest that large amount of money.)
Even accounting for inflation, a kid this young dropping $150 on a 3 week old hobby is perhaps a reflection on the way our society looks at spending on non-essential purchases these days.
I know I sound old ("walked 10 miles in the snow, etc. :grin:), but I can't help but think that those that grow up with less tend to really value the more limited, infrequent purchases they are finally able to make after saving for long periods of time.
To wit: since I could only get perhaps one or two books a year (birthday and Christmas, natch), I would squeeze the information out of those books until they were dry. I would then learn how to perform everything in them. (CUCM comes to mind). This is probably not the norm in 2009.
It's obviously too late to turn back the clock on our current culture, and it's surely not reasonable to depend on dealers to be purveyors of spending restraint (with a nod to JS), but I'd like to think those lessons of a more frugal era have served me (and others) well during our years in magic.