How to Have Your Gadget Cake and Eat It Too

“...our impulses are too strong for our judgement sometimes”
― Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

I'm like a moth to the gadget flame. Wallets, flashlights, headphones, you name it, I can obsess over it. Price is irrelevant. I'll fixate equally over a $5 item or a $50 item. And I feel a little bit like Charlie Brown going to kick the football from Lucy when once again, after countless time spent researching and reading reviews, I end up purchasing the first one I saw. In my household, I cannot be left unsupervised in front of infomercials. "But wait! If you order in the next 60 minutes, you'll also get X for free..." What can I say, I'm a marketer's dream.

All this can add up to a drain on our finances, drip by small technology purchase drip. $19.99 is sneaky that way! A little while ago I resolved to curb some of this spending. None of these items were strictly necessary, it was more to scratch that gadget itch. I thought about going cold turkey, but this method tends to just delay the smaller purchases for a time until the will weakens and results in a large purchase that might cost even more.

After struggling with this a while, I came up with an EZPZ tactic to reduce impulsive technology spending.

Step 1. "Set it and forget it!"
Whenever I come across something I think I might want to buy, I jot down the name of the product and the price in a note-taking app. The act of writing the item down as a potential purchase flips a switch in my mind that calms the impulsive feeling. Now that it's written down, you can relax. You have the option of buying this at any time in the future, just not right now. Now rinse and repeat.

Step 2. "What happens here, stays here."
Review your growing list from time to time and when the spirit moves you and the dollar and cents are properly aligned, go for it. Once you buy one of the items on your list, move it to a separate list that shows all the impulse purchases you've made so far. This is an EZPZ way for you to see how much you are spending and make more informed decisions.

Protect Yourself at All Times

Are you a naturally suspicious person? Does it make you uneasy when you get a cold call and the person on the other line starts asking you for personal information? Have you ever started talking to someone who called you and you assumed was from your credit card company, but halfway through the conversation you doubted yourself and hung up?

If your gut is telling you to be worried, you should probably listen. This article from Lifehacker explains some of the details of “Vishing” (voice-based phishing). It's a method used by identity thieves to steal your credit card and personal information over the phone. Here’s how to tell if a call is actually from a scammer, and the best way to handle the situation if you’re not sure.

Listen for the following words when you receive a call from someone claiming to be your credit card company:

“We think there has been some suspicious activity on your credit card. We just want to confirm these transactions with you.”

If they say anything different, immediately hang up on them. Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and ask them if someone from the company just called you.

Stay safe!

Sony Pony Up the Mony

Sony recently settled a case with disgruntled PS3 owners over removing the ability to install Linux from the PlayStation 3.

Translation: PS3 owners have the EZPZ opportunity to get $9 from Sony with appropriate proof of PS3 purchase or $55 with proof that you ran Linux. Not bad for less than a day's work!

More details at the following link.

What is Linux? I asked myself the same question. There is some good, basic information on it here.

Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.