I've been involved with the Internet in some form or the other since my early university days as a programmer. This is one of the reasons why the social networking craze didn't really make me as giddy as some of my friends; I had been chatting on mIRC and custom web apps for a while before ditching it for IM. As such, I've been able to change my use of technology from a typical consumer model to something different than the norm.
1. Move Into the Digital Realm
One of the ways that I've become smarter is that I no longer purchase any DVDs, CDs, etc. I stay in the realm of digital media and that suits me fine. From iTunes to Netflix, there are so many ways that you can consume media without forking out too much money.
2. Product Updates
A lot of products get updated every single year. Does this mean that you need to get a new iPhone every year? No, but Apple is smart to be able to create the need for it. I generally don't update my tech until it's really out of date. I tend to buy the best that I can and use it for 3 to 4 years. That way, I get the best out of it.
While laptops are what people are starting to use more, you can get a great desktop for very cheap, especially if you shop around. The one I mainly use is from 2006 and is still running strong. The great thing about desktops is that you can easily upgrade the parts, which is somewhat harder with a laptop.
4. Consumer Awareness
I get my TV online. Most of the shows don't have any ads, so I mind hack myself into not wanting all those fancy products that are sold by manufacturers. Granted, I do have a tech list of gear that I want, but the stuff that is on that list, ie a full frame Nikon DSLR, is something that I've thought over for a while before I'll make the purchase.
5. Save to Buy Everything in Cash
I no longer use credit cards to buy my tech. I pay cash. You've probably heard how bad it is to use your credit card to pay for stuff that you can't afford right now, and it's true. You'll end up spending a lot of money on interest. The reward points are great, but in all honesty, they aren't worth it unless you're able to pay off your balance each and every month. Most consumers don't and carry a balance, which is where the credit companies make their money.
Here's the tech that I use daily with the dates that I purchased it. All of it was paid in full at the time of purchase. The Nikon will be upgraded when Nikon releases the successor to the D700. The laptop will be replaced next year. The iPod is still going strong. I've had no issues with the cell phone.
- SonyEricsson K810i (2007)
- Asus W7M 13.3" laptop (2008)
- iPod Classic 160GB (2008)
- Garmin Edge 500 GPS (2010)
- Nikon D200 DSLR (2006)
- Desktop PC (AMD Athlon dual core 2.01Ghz, 2TB hard drive) with 24" Viewsonic monitor (2006)
[header image via Gear Diary]