Are You a Gadget Hound?

gadgets

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in Frugality

“Gadget Expense”—necessity, form of entertainment or addiction?

Have you ever known anyone who has a gadget addiction? You know the kind of person who has to have every new gadget that comes out on the market? Eventually, maybe most people will have the majority of the gadgets he’ll buy, but he’s usually the first one at the store when the latest model XQ7000 Version 6 hits the stands.

On the surface this seems harmless enough–and maybe beneficial by virtue of the claimed miraculous capabilities of all the equipment to improve life as we know it. But it can be every bit as destructive to your financial health as other, more notorious compulsions.

A site with the name “Fiscal Geek” is probably THE best site on the planet to take on a little recognized expense that we’ll loosely refer to as “gadget expense”. I’d describe it as a stealth expense because it’s something we don’t normally consider as such, and yet it’s one that can cost plenty—maybe even more than your annual electric bill. Sometimes way more.

How do you know if you’re a gadget addict?

We live in an age of relentless technological advancement, creating an unending flow of new gadgets, which can be a constant drain on the financial resources of the addict. If this is you, here are a few questions you might to be asking yourself:

  1. Are you intentional about being the first in your social orbit to have the newest gadgets?
     

  2. You’ve lived up to this point without the latest new-fangled gadget, is it conceivable that you can live the rest of your life quite comfortably without it?
     

  3. Is the gadget in question something which will either a) increase your income or, b) reduce an expense? In other words, is there a cost benefit to this bauble, or is it just another toy that would be nice to have?
     

  4. Before buying yet another gadget, have you surveyed your existing inventory of technology toys to chronicle their fate in the construct of your life?
     

  5. Have you noticed that the earliest available versions of any new technology are virtually certain to be both more expensive and less perfected than later editions?
     

  6. Have you ever added up the money you spend on your gadgets each year? If not, you’re not alone—most addicts never do!

How gadget addiction becomes gadget expense

I’ve presented the points here in question format, because if people are addicted it’s usually best to ask key questions and let them come to their own conclusions.

But here’s the main point of this post: if you have a gadget addiction, you’re probably spending a significant amount of money to buy them on a regular basis. Any routine cash outlay effectively translates the spending into an ongoing expense.

When we’re looking to create a budget or cut down on our cost of living, all expense categories need to be considered, but first they need to be identified. It’s often outlays that we don’t think of as expenses that prove to be the budget busters.

The idea that there is even something like gadget expense may seem a little over the top, but given the advance of technology in recent decades, it’s no longer uncommon for people to spend significant amounts of money satisfying a need to be “on the cutting edge” of the latest developments. And it’s easy enough to convince ones self that this is totally necessary given the direction of the world.

However, by virtue of their being on the cutting edge, gadgets are usually not inexpensive! When we formulate or review our budgets, this “expense” is not one we can afford to overlook.

Kevin At Out of Your RutThis post is from FiscalGeek staff writer: Kevin Mercadante. I’m very excited to have him contributing to the site. You can find out more about him at his own blog OutOfYourRut.com.

Is gadget expense a legitimate expense? Do you know anyone who is a gadget addict? If you’re a gadget addict, have you ever totaled up how much money you spend on them in a typical year?

( Photo courtesy of rojer )

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