I love technology. I may not be an early adopter, but eventually I get all the latest and greatest: Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Flip Mino…well, you get the idea. Does this make me a material girl?
Yes. And no.
To me, there are two definitions of materialistic. The first describes a person who wants the most expensive and flashiest item(s), whether it’s a computer, car, big-screen TV, or any other big-ticket item, just to show friends and family that he can afford it, even if he can’t. That kind of person doesn’t care what the product can do. He probably didn’t research the market, or compare and contrast several brands. He bought what was popular because others are doing the same thing. This, my friends, is the ultimate in materialism: showing off.
Now you’re wondering if the paragraph above describes me; after all, I did say I was materialistic. No, I fall into the second definition of materialistic. I’m someone who wants anything to do with computers and gadgets. As mentioned earlier I own a lot of technology. The difference, though, between me and someone who buys to impress, is that I use what I buy. I read on my Kindle while walking on the treadmill at the gym, or lounging by the pool in the summer. My iPhone is always with me to stay in touch with my kids and keep up with email. I watch TV shows and movies with the Netflix app on my iPad almost every night. As much as I covet whatever cool new gadget is currently on the market, I won’t buy it if I have no use for it.
There is an up-side to all my technology love: friends and family refer to me as a “technology guru,” and come to me with all their gadget questions, both before and after they purchase a particular item. Ah, to be loved!
So, according to my definition of materialistic, I am because I have so many “toys,” as my husband calls them. But I’m not materialistic because I use what I have.
What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
There is an up-side to all my technology love: friends and family refer to me as a â€œtechnology guru,â€ and come to me with all their gadget questions, both before and after they purchase a particular item. Ah, to be loved! Find gadget related information on Fifth Geek.
I think there’s a third kind of materialism: not desiring to impress anyone, but being unable to comprehend not getting something you want, immediately. It’s not a problem of being showy or getting stuff you aren’t going to use, but a problem of not being able to prioritize use of financial resources. This is the type of materialist I was.
Now with our daughter in school and after having taken a really hard look at my priorities, I no longer have to have everything I think I’d like. I would like and use an iPad, I’d love to replace my Mac with a new iMac that would definitely get used, and there’s a ton of camera gear I’d like to have and make great use of. But it’s not going to happen. Money seems to get tighter every month and there are other priorities that far outweigh my gadget and computing needs.
The difference now is that I’m completely ok with not being able to have the stuff I want, and to be honest, I’m a lot happier not trying to justify it somehow when I don’t have the money. Justifying stuff I can’t afford just leads to credit card bills, and that’s not a wise lifestyle long term. It’s a lot more fun to be able to say no to something that would have gone on a credit card than it is to buy it, frankly. Sounds weird, but it’s true.
I’ve never cared about impressing anyone or having the latest just to have it – like you, I’d actually use and enjoy it – but I still had to come to the point where I could have gadgets and computers that were generations old and not really care. Everyone has different budgets and different expenses and family situations, so this isn’t a commentary on anyone else’s situation but my own. But it is nice to be reminded sometimes that happiness has little to do with gadgets. 🙂
I completely understand the financial implications, Scott. There’s a lot of stuff out there I’d love to own, but it’s not happening. My husband bought me my iPad in October for my birthday, but it was understood that the gift also covered our anniversary in November, and Christmas and Hanukkah this month. And I’m totally fine with that.
To be in debt just to own the latest and greatest (fill in the blank)-definitely not worth it! And if you DO have something you really want–enjoy it and take care of it. And finally, appreciate it.