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Lies We All Tell Ourselves When There’s A New Gadget We Want

The key word in the title there being… want.

Not need.

Need is easy to justify. It’s right there, self-explanatory: we need it for some function in our lives. When our main computer breaks down, it’s fairly obvious that it needs replacing. But when our computer is running just fine and we just like the look on the specs of a newly released laptop, then there’s no need, just want.

Want, of course, is completely fine too! It’s valid; technology is ever-changing and evolving. What is new and on the cutting edge of innovation one minute quickly becomes surpassed when the next new idea comes along – and they come along at a frightening speed.

It can mean that if technology is something that you have a passion for, you can find yourself on a never-ending quest. It’s akin to Dorothy being on the yellow brick road, rounding a corner to see the glistening future of the Emerald City in front of her… then the Wicked Witch dumping down another few miles of yellow brick road. Close, but oh, not quite, not yet.

That’s part of the fun, of course – the changing, the new ideas, the innovations, the small shuffles forward and the massive bounds into the future. That’s what makes it such an exciting aspect of life. It does, however, make it rather… expensive. If you were to go for every new idea that captured your imagination, you’d probably set yourself on a route to bankruptcy in no time at all.

Nevertheless, the ‘want’ doesn’t go away. You can try and batter it down with logic, but the desire to try something interesting and different is emotive, not rational. And emotions rarely respond well to logic. That means it’s not long until you find your mind trying to convince you of a few reasons why your ‘want’ might actually be a ‘need’, and a thousand other little white lies with the sole intention of getting you to open your wallet…

“It’ll make everything easier!”

Ah, of course, the first default for any exciting piece of tech. The justification for this is usually right there in the press release for the item itself; the company grandly extolling the time-saving virtues of their new device.

And you’re a busy woman, aren’t you? Always rushed for time, always looking for ways and means to have more free time to spend as you please. So really, your brain whispers, you’re selling yourself short by not getting ahold of the item you so covet. You’re effectively denying yourself extra time in life! And you can’t buy time – it’s the one thing that we all want more of, the only thief that we can’t get justice against. So why not invest in time?

The Reality: Maybe it’s true. It depends on what you want, of course – a games console upgrade is more likely to steal time than give it back, for example. There are a few innovations that have genuinely saved us time, but the way to fight back against this little white lie is to ask how much time is it going to save. Is it going to be hours per week? Or more like five minutes? If the answer is in the former, then you can probably listen up. If it’s only going to save you a few minutes, then sorry, this is one voice you have to ignore.

“I can make it cheaper!”

The RRP on new products is almost always eye-watering. If you’ve played this game a few times, you will know that tech depreciates in value – and it tends to happen pretty quickly.

You also know that the RRP has an important component: the first ‘R’. Recommended. That means that while that may be the cost that the manufacturers’ believe an item should sell for, retailers might disagree. Maybe there’s some way for you to find a retailer that’s selling the product as a loss-leader, guaranteeing you a bargain. And really, if you can find a good deal right now, that doesn’t mean you will be able to find it in future – so you might as well go for it, right?

The Reality: Again, that little voice might have a point! That’s how these thoughts get you; they sound so very reasonable indeed. There are always ways and means to cut down the price of an item, from hunting for discounts on to heading to purchase at the end of the month when sales staff are looking to meet targets.

However, remember: the only thing you can guarantee is going to change the price is time. At the moment of release, a product will never be hotter, never be more coveted, never be more expensive. You might be able to make the price more reasonable compared to the RRP, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got a reasonable figure to pay compared to the same item in just three short months. So wherever possible, give it time and the purchase price will just go lower and lower.

“It’s a special occasion!”

If you decide you want something, then your mind will go to great lengths to justify it. If you’re anywhere near your birthday, your wedding anniversary, the conclusion of a big project at work – well, your mind is quite happy to latch onto those events to give you a reason to buy, isn’t it?

The Reality: As long as the reason doesn’t become something incredibly obtuse – “that coworker I don’t like was so mean to me this week! I deserve a treat!” – then you might be onto something with this line of thinking. There are points in the year where it’s fair to give yourself a break and be looser with the purse strings, though always consider whether or not it’s justified. If your birthday was also celebrated with a weekend away and lots of gifts, does it stack up that you need to buy something else additionally? Maybe it does – especially if it’s a ‘big’ birthday – but there’s no harm in the occasional treat every once in awhile. Just make sure you can afford it, of course.

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