Perhaps the best gadget-buying advice I’ve ever heard was recently given to me by Brian Lam, who runs the gadget decision-making site The Wirecutter: “Don’t worry about the price. Instead, try to figure out how often you’ll use it, and for how many years, and then spread the cost over the total number of hours you’ll get from the device.”
Fact is, us consumers can be terrible at splurging. We’ll often spend way too much money on a product that we only use occasionally, and then try to pinch pennies on gadgets that are absolutely core to our lives or livelihoods.
As a writer who has covered the electronics space for years, I’m often struck by the inability of consumers to apply different logic to purchases involving gadgets that they use multiple times or hours per day, and ones that only occasionally serve any purpose. Splurgers often splurge on any product, no matter how much use they intend to get out of it, while bargain-hunters often try to pinch pennies on items that are absolutely core to their lives or livelihoods.
This thinking is wrong. We should all be splurging on products that we constantly use. For many of us, that means smartphones and computers, though folks in certain regions or professions may have other items that fall into this category. Everything else is occasional-use at best (the exception being products that operate in the background, and may actually save you money in the long run—such as the Nest smart thermostat). This is where you should look to save money.
Strategic splurging on quality products can make your life better, more productive, and save you money in the long run. Just make sure you do it on items you’ll actually use.