On Why I Love Buying Tech Gadgets – A Lesson in Financial Awareness

Reading about the latest Android smartphone, new Blackberry operating system or next great computing platform really gets my fingers itching to dip into my pocketbook. I love tech gadgets and am always ready to consider a new purchase. A recent tech encounter provided me a great lesson in my own financial awareness.

A couple days ago Dell ran a 20% sale on  outlet netbooks, laptops and desktop computers. I have been watching for a netbook for some time and found a great deal on a beautiful, alpine white Dell Mini 1012. My inner geek was running wild. I quickly emailed my wife to see how she felt about purchasing the netbook, and then began to put together my reasoning that doing so would be a good idea. My rationale was based in truth and very effective on me.

I have been doing some contract work during my unemployment which causes me to travel away from home. During this travel, I require a laptop for the work. I have been taking the family laptop, leaving my wife only the children's older desktop computer to use. So I told myself purchasing this laptop was necessary to continue this contract work. It was better sized for travel yet still gives me the computing power I need. The purchase would allow me to leave the family laptop at home, so my wife would have a decent computer to use while I was away. Since this purchase would be made for use during my contract work, I reasoned I should be able to write off at a least a portion of the expense to offset some self-employment income. And the price was unbeatable for Dell's latest generation of netbooks.

The arguments to purchase were all valid, reasonable and convincing to me. However, they were not the true reason I wanted to buy the netbook. I was actually acting on a subconscious script that I had formed during childhood. I turned 30 a couple years ago and at about the same time realized that my weakness for tech gadgets was increasing with age. That is when I recognized the script I believed in. I recall as a child hearing people whom I thought old talking about new technology as inaccessible and unnecessary and simply not for someone their age. The lesson I learned and script I created was that interest in and adoption of new technology indicated being young. As I have gotten older, I have become more active in keeping up with technology and my desire to adopt new technology has increased. This has resulted in my wanting to buy more, newer and pricier gadgets. The arguments I made to purchase the netbook were justification in order to allow me to act on my script: owning the latest and greatest netbook means I remain young.

Recognizing the script I was acting on allowed me to make a more informed decision. I could still have chosen to purchase the netbook. What I realized, however, was that my rationale, while good, was not enough to justify spending the money while I remained unemployed. It allowed me to consider the decision more clearly. The family laptop is absolutely suitable for the contract work and my wife actually prefers using the desktop computer. A new, great deal on a better computer (running Chrome OS possibly?) will be available 6 or 12 months from now. We are also preparing to complete some work around the house and, given our constrained budget, our money would be necessary for those endeavors. Not owning the netbook would not increase my age by one day more than it increases each day anyway.

These types of scripts affect everyone's decision-making about money. We each have a set of subconscious money scripts which impact how we think about money that we learned at some point in life. Some we were taught directly such as being told "a penny saved is a penny earned." Others are created by interpreting a lesson or experience in our own manner, such as my script. Money scripts are not in themselves bad or harmful. However, these scripts impacting your decision-making without your knowledge in deficient ways can be very harmful. What is important is to learn what subconscious thinking is occurring when you make financial decision and then take that into account as you make your decision. The recognition of my script allowed me to think more clearly about my decision.

I will share more of my scripts as I encounter them. I hope you are able to identify some of your own as well. If you want more information about money scripts and how they impact you, I suggest reading Conscious Finance: Uncover Your Hidden Money Beliefs and Transform the Role of Money in Your Life by Rick Kahler, CFP® and Kathleen Fox.


Post a Comment

Real Time Web Analytics