I replace my rear shifter cable every 6 months & front shifter cable once a year. I live west of Denver and ride in the foothills 260+ days a year, so I do a lot more shifting than someone living in Kansas or Oklahoma. I replace my rear shifter housing every couple years and replace the front housing even less. I basically never replace the brake cables or housing.
The reason I replace my shifter cables so often, is because I've had the sinker break off the cable and ruin a Shimano shifter.
I replace my chain every six months, my cassette when a new chain makes it skip, and my chainrings basically never.
The most important parts to replace are cables & chains, and remember to log when you replace parts, because time flies and before you know it, you've ruined a cassette.
I'm really impressed by how long Shimano brake pads last, considering how well they perform, so look at them every now and then.
I think cxwrench misspoke by calling "the smart mans tactic" the "poor mans tactic".