Being a techie is an expensive hobby. And the economy isn't giving our wallets a break either. Often, we find that we must choose where our money would be best spent in the office. We see the three main cost components of the office being: computer, software, and furniture. And in asking our friends and relatives where they prefer to spend and where they prefer to save, we've found the answers are quite diverse. So we'd like to pose the same question to you. Where do you see your money best spent?
Computer: For the purpose of this question, we'll consider not only the computer itself but will include its hardware and peripherals under the same umbrella. There is no doubt this could be the most costly of the three options. With enticing new products rolling out every month, it is easy to get caught up in a perpetual cycle of spending. We try to find a happy middle ground with our hardware purchases, performance-wise. We've never felt our usage warranted the power of a Mac Pro so we've saved with an iMac and purchased the mid-range option that has given us plenty of storage capacity as well as speed. With the option to upgrade RAM later on, we think we'll be ok using this same machine for a while.
Software: This is the place where we feel most stingy. Although there are unavoidable expenses such as the Adobe Creative Suite for us designers, in general we feel that we tend to find suitable freeware substitutes for more expensive software out there. A quick browse of the App Store will turn up some great examples of helpful and free software.
Furniture: And we finally meet our match here. We feel there is no better investment of our money than in a well-built desk or a comfortable chair. Being primarily furniture design aficionados, we might be slightly biased but can't imagine feeling satisfied working on a high performance Mac Pro while sitting in a rickety old chair from the attic. Our most cherished purchase is the Aeron chair which has given us nothing but pleasure as we work late into the night on assignments while using our less impressive, semi-powerful iMac. Lastly, we feel like furniture will give you your biggest return on investment in the resale market. Since technology is so quickly becoming obsolete, the resale market prices plummet after a year or so of use. Contrast this, however, with a beautiful George Nelson Swag desk which will retain its value forever.
Now it's your turn. Where do you save and splurge in the home office?