Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Economics of being a geek

(this post isn't about running ... though I did get my workouts in yesterday [walk/upper-body] and today [another "faster" treadmill run])

My wife and I used to joke that I had an endless supply of toys I would want to buy in the $200 price range. She buys clothes, shoes, handbags, desk organizers, all kinds of stuff. But she buys it cheap, like "I got this tank top for 3 bucks" cheap. I, on the other hand, will go 6 months without spending any money on myself, and then turn around and declare I need a new video card for the computer, and it's going to cost $200.

What I noticed the other day, though, was that my little wish list had gotten more expensive. I now had an endless list of $3-500 things, and a few that cost more than that. My wish list video card isn't $200 any more, it's $400. My wishlist monitor is $500. I catch myself looking at a used casino-quality poker chip set at $440 and thinking it's affordable. I catch myself pricing 1080p projectors that cost 4x as much as 720p projectors. Etc.


Because I'm a geek. I research all kinds of crap. So when I read about something that costs $200, I can always find someone who can convince me that if I just spend $300, I'll be getting much better of a deal. And I know that if I can afford $200, I can probably afford $300, so ....

It's important to recognize this kind of thing. Because you don't need to be a geek about everything you spend money on. If I took the same approach I take to consumer electronics to, say, fashion, I'd probably be wearing $200 jeans instead of these Levi's I got on sale at Target for $20.

The fact is, sometimes the difference between $20 and $200 is night and day, and it's worth $200 to experience that. It's important to know when to stop that progression, though. It's important to know when to say no.


Tea said...

I'm not into clothes and makeup and all that.

I'm not a geek.

But...I have a list a mile long of triathlon goodies. I try to space out my purchases, so Mr. Tea doesn't catch on to my addiction.

Dave said...

You can be a geek in any domain. Of course, long-term, it's much better to be a geek about athletic pursuits than, say, HDTV.