Just the other day I sat there and questioned as to all the little gadgets I buy and of what use they were and was I in fact just wasting money blinded by flashing lights and whizzing noises as I walked around the stores? Why do I have so many computers lying around doing nothing for example, these been the previous main used machine but since moved into second place due to a newer model sitting in the main spot. How many times have you seen a device and thought “that would be great for …..”
Resisting the urge
The first steps on the path to stop wasting money would be hard but necessary, when I spotted a device either on-line or in a store – I needed to ask myself do a really need that item and not can I afford it and more importantly is there a better device that may costs more but does more. A good example here would be ALDI once again had a range of Medion items and I shall go through this first.
ALDI Wireless USB Hub
Basically a box which has 4 USB sockets, One network and a wireless – the idea is you connect this to your router / LAN and then plug in various USB Device such as Hard Drive, Printers, Camera etc and all the computers on your network can access the device. This device is £40 and sounds a bargain right? You can turn your external hard drives into a fancy NAS device for a mere £40 and also your printers wireless and even your webcams – head off to the store and part with £40 in a snappy??
The answer is no, £40 would have been wasted very quickly. The device needs software installed on every machine so you can access the devices and only one device can be used at one time by one computer, not quite the magical NAS device we were looking for right. The example here would be to buy a proper NAS Device which has more features and supports true networking modes, no software required.
Selling the old gear
The next stage would be to sell my old gear that I am not using, yes it is nice to have a laptop that only serves WoW Server or another one to mess about with Linux but the reality is – they are doing nothing. Taking them to a shop such as Cash Converters was not an option on the ground they give the very lowest price you can imagine. Putting the items on e-bay was a pain for many reasons such as hoping the selling price goes up to what you expect, e-bay taking a fee from the final price, paypal taking there cut and finally shipping the item to the winner.
I found a much better idea – at work we have a “For Sale” section on the Intranet. I priced up how much I thought the Laptop’s were worth, placed the adverts and managed to sell both laptops the same day, was just a matter of building them with the right software and cleaning them up – job done.
Another aspect of having 5 Laptops and 4 desktops all powered on doing not much – they Burn electricity and generate noise. Now I have my device (which was free), I can see now how much I am wasting with items switched on. I estimate that my next quarterly bill will be a lot lower, more money in my bank.
Have you ever set your mind on getting something and even though you know in your head that you will never put it to use and it would be a waste of money, you still pursue this thing on a weekly basis? Mine would be getting a audio mixer, scissor microphone stand, microphone and all related leads to allow me to have multiple audio for a live show (such as skype callers).
Behringer XENYX 1832FX Mixer – £159 ex-display stock
Behringer C-3 Condenser Microphone – £51
Microphone Stand – £50-£80
Leads – £10-£20 depending on quality.
The above you agree is quite a chunk of change and at the end of this I would be able to pull in audio from all of my computers and present this through WireCast, such as playing music, having Skype callers on-air with me (including Video) and all that magic stuff – sound worth the cost right?
Not quite a show
The reality of this so called Live show is that I am at work 5 days a week and the number of people I actually speak top on skype is actually very limited. I would be sitting here with all this money spent on Audio gear to have no use for it – just another item taking up space on my desk or rather a fancy volume control knob if you wish. The reality Is, I can do most of the audio mixing via Wirecast itself and have one Skype Caller with Video or many via conference without spending a single dime.
Ask yourself some questions
How many times have you bought a cheaper item (say a webcam) instead of buying a proven but more expensive model in the guise of saving yourself money?
How many items have you bought which are now sitting in a draw, sitting idle or in a box somewhere?
Why the change of heart?
My Motives are simple – why buy a cheap item instead of just saving up the money to buy what you actually need. You want a Mac Pro but instead you buy a cheap dual core PC box? (I do not want a Mac Pro by the way – I was using this as an example). Why buy a Ford Ka when you really would like a BMW? The list goes on and on. I hope I have inspired at least one person to re-think what they do, I know myself that I will start to buy what I actually need then waste money on second rate items that have no other need then look great at the time.