Back when I first moved to LA I was way under-geared. I had spent the previous three years saving money for the move. Money I might need to live on if I couldn't get work. Money that wasn't spent on a bunch of guitars and amps and pedals. The gear I owned for the move fit easily in the back of my Pontiac Gran Prix and the 2000 mile drive to the West coast. It was as follows...
An early-70's Ibanez 175 copy (lawsuit model)
A 1979 Ibanez Artist 335 electric
A 1981 G&L F1001
A Yamaha Classical
An Acoustic 165 amp
And some misc. pedals
This was all I brought to compete with Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Steve Lukather, Carl Verheyen, and so many others. What was I thinking? Seriously.
I had used up all my guts and courage to move to LA, and had none left to take chances with savings or credit cards, so that list didn't change much for a long time. Disposable income didn't come easily those first few years and my savings was slowly dwindling.
Once I got married and my wife (God bless her) got a real job, I started to make wish lists. My income from students and gigs and occasional sessions began to grow slowly, and gear purchases were the easiest way to write off some of that income.
I made pretty extensive lists. Dreaming big but with some practicality thrown in for good measure. There were a lot of things on the lists that I didn't get and that's not a bad thing. But I printed up the lists and kept them in a drawer and every now and then would go back a look at lists from five or ten years prior and be amazed at how much from these lists had been acquired. And how much I didn't get and was extremely glad.
There's something about making lists, whether you are checking them often or not, that tend to be self fulfilling prophesy. Call it "visualization" if you like. If you haven't done this I suggest you start one right now.
You can use sites like Amazon or Musician's Friend to create wish lists. But better to just create a doc, date it and print it. You can make one list or separate it out into sub-lists, "pedals", "guitars", "amps". It can be specific like... "Lowden F25" or more general like... "good finger style guitar." Like.. "Carl Martin Fuzz" or like... "fuzz pedal"
Text or e-mail yourself ideas when at guitar stores or at shows of things you liked and add them to your list. Maybe put some context... "Fender Tele Baritone, saw at the Burned Out Monkeys show"
Carl Martin Fuzz Pedal
Fender Tele Baritone