Many tech enthusiasts have a habit of buying every new gadget or app on the market — even if they can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it. Many of these purchases tend to be impulsive and based on marketing hype, a sales pitch, or a well-designed advertisement. While average consumers scoff at many of these products themselves, tech addicts continue to not only stand in line for some of these gadgets, but will purchase them impulsively if they can’t shake the itch to purchase all the new things. We’re not here to say that consistently buying gadgets, apps, and other tech-related products impulsively is a problem — many fashionistas and DIY types make similar shopping decisions. However, if you tend to purchase tech products without really needing them or ever using them, and to the detriment of your finances or your budget, you might consider whether your problem is really an addiction to technology. In this case, you might be a tech addict if…
You buy a brand new smartphone using a credit card.
Before every new smartphone hits the market, it is usually precluded with a massive amount of marketing hype. This tends to lend to thousands of people standing line for hours (and sometimes, even days) to purchase the hottest new device. While this is the antithesis of an impulsive decision, you may not be able to shake the itch to purchase the latest iPhone, Windows Phone, or other bleeding edge mobile device. Planning for the purchase of a new smartphone is a smart decision, and should include planning the purchase in a way that fits with both your budget and your current contract with your mobile carrier. However, if you happen to find yourself wandering your local shopping center and unable to walk away from, say, the Apple store, it is not a good idea to leave 10 minutes later with a brand new iPhone 4S purchased for full price on your credit card. It’s a good rule of thumb to never purchase anything that you can’t pay with cash (or debit card). While you may like using your credit card for points or reward miles, be sure you can immediately pay that balance off when you get home. Making an impulse purchase that you literally can’t afford is a sure sign that you have an addiction, and in this, to technology.
You routinely buy gadgets you never use.
Did you recently buy a new health monitoring device impulsively while perusing the shelves at Best Buy while returning Christmas gifts, yet never actually exercise or take the time each day to monitor the measurements to glean insight into how to adapt your lifestyle? Or perhaps you bought a new Nook or Kindle with other holiday gift cards because of their marketing hype — yet you never actually take the time each day to to sit back and relax to read? Purchasing new gadgets or forms of technology that are either trendy or beneficial for some people, yet are admittedly products that you don’t need or will never use, is another sign that you may have an addiction to technology.
You buy Groupons only because they’re a great deal.
Groupon is an excellent way to get a great deal on products and services that you already use (such as cupcakes from your favorite shop down the street or a massage you desperately need). However, Groupon is also a black hole for tech addicts to spend money on services they don’t actually need. In early 2011, I bought a Groupon for a wine club because it was such a great deal, yet I don’t actually drink wine. What was I thinking? Purchasing Groupons that you have no need for simply because of their savings is another sure sign that you are a tech addict. (Yes, my name is Kelly, and I am a tech addict.) There are some resources for people who make these types of impulsive purchases to resell their Groupons, such as Lifesta, as, unlike other impulsive purchases, Groupons can’t be returned. Unfortunately, Lifesta recently announced that it will be shutting down because it cannot sustain the business. Now, tech addicts with this problem will have even more of a problem.
You buy new domains you don’t really need because you found a new coupon code.
Coupons are a great way to save money, both online and offline. Many are learning the secrets to finding and “stacking” coupons to save money while grocery shopping, and websites like retailmenot.com and Chris Pirillo’s coupon database are excellent sources of coupons to use while shopping online. Many online shopping purchases are rarely impulsive — typically shoppers have some idea that they wanted to make that purchase before continuing with a checkout. Tech addicts, however, make at least one exception when it comes to purchasing domains. I’ve been known to register a domain within moments of thinking of a name that may, someday in the future, make a great concept for a blog, business, or other form of online media. However, I’ll only buy these domains if I can find a great coupon code that allows me to purchase these .com domains for at least half off the advertised price. (I know, I have a problem — but I already admitted that.) If you can relate to similar habits, you might also be a tech addict, too.
If you have more than 200 paid apps on your iPhone.
While there are over 500,000 applications for the iPhone and iPad and 300,000+ on Android, the average user only has 65 apps installed on their phone according to TechCrunch. However, if you have more than 200 paid apps, you could likely be considered a tech addict, as purchasing apps is typically an impulsive decision made while either talking with friends about their apps, seeing an app reviewed in a top 10 list on a blog, or seeing the app featured on your phone’s marketplace. However, if your large collection of apps is composed of free downloads, you may not necessarily be a tech addict, but instead be a tech hoarder — which is another topic entirely.
Do any of these problems resonate with your tech tendencies? Would you consider yourself a tech addict? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.