If there’s one thing (amongst a never ending list) I can thank my parents for is the spend thrift mentality they instilled in me. Whilst there were a couple glorious years where they let me run rampant on their dime it soon came to a halt when they announced “We’re not letting you spend anymore of our money”. Being a direct problem solving child I instantly retorted “Then I need to my own money” and no less than a month later I was in my first job which I would hold for 6 years, and I was then in charge of my own cash. After the initial spending spree that all kids go through when they start earning some decent coin I began to realise that my time had a certain value and this translated directly into the things that I desired.
The initial line in the sand that my parents drew came from my ever increasing interest in technology and all the wonderful expenses that come along with it. Back then the upgrade cycle to keep up with most modern games was still around the 12~18 month mark and mobile phones were starting to become all the rage with us teenagers. I’d also had my eye on several other gadgets like my mini-disc player and the Playstation 2. My meager retail wage barely covered all these extravagances and many times I saw myself sans my debit card as part of a loan deal with my parents. Over time however I learnt that keeping a healthy amount of savings allowed me to have what I wanted instantly and my spending habits were changed forever.
In the 10 years since I first started working the technology hungry teenager in me really hasn’t changed. I can still lose hours browsing through online stores and forums, seeking out the latest and greatest product that might suit a particular need I have. I’ve also developed an unfortunate taste for things that are far, far beyond my current means like private jets and space travel making any cash that I might put away burn a hole in my pocket that much faster. Thankfully due to my many years as a poor, tech hungry youth I’ve steered clear of running myself into untold consumer debt, but that hasn’t curtailed my desire at all.
You see I’ve known for a while that anything I’m doing I’m probably doing it for the tech. Looking over all the things I’ve acquired over the years they all some connection to an underlying desire for new technology, save for the gym equipment (although I admit I did eye off a few bits until I realised a barbell was sufficient). One of the saving graces has been that whilst I usually eye the top of the range first I almost always work my way down to the best bang for buck, leaving the tech geek in me satisfied and my wallet just a little less horrified.
Thinking about it this morning I realised that even my current projects provided a convenient excuse for me to rack up the gadget purchases. Geon, with its need to be on as many platforms as I can handle, has already landed me an iPhone but is also paving the way for at least 2 more handsets and possibly one or more tablet devices (read into that how you will :P). Sure I could test everything on an emulator but really there’s no substitute for the real deal. My other yet unannounced projects are paving the way for a refresh of my photography equipment and some additional bits of home entertainment equipment. Yet again many of these started out as just general ideas which have then manifested in me tracking down some gadget that then becomes a must have to begin or further the project. I can’t imagine how I’d be coping if I wasn’t an IT contractor.
You can imagine then that me making any kind of purchase is a bit like a game of cat and mouse. I’ll get all excited about buying something but will almost always not buy it on the first day I think about getting it since I’ve got to make sure I can justify the purchase in some way. I think the projects are becoming a shortcut to bypass this internal logic check on my purchasing habits because it’s not really for me, it’s for the project. It’s already managed to bypass my stance on Apple products¹ so there’s no telling where it will take me now. Hopefully before it gets too out of hand I’ll be spending venture captial money rather than my own. 😉
¹Honestly I never really had that much against Apple products, they just never suited my needs. Whilst it might look like my current stance has done a quick 180 thanks to the iPhone (and soon MacBook Pro) it’s more been that I now have a use for them. Had fate swung the other way I’d probably be rocking an Android phone and some Dell XPS monster of a laptop.