So we were at a birthday party last month. The birthday girl mentioned that she had to get in touch with her ex-husband, who had apparently changed his iTunes password. Apparently, they kept their joint purchases in his account.
This is a big deal because she estimates there’s about $1,500 worth of music and, I’m assuming, apps in the account.
Granted, they were together for over 12 years and were both devoted Apple fans. So who knows how long they were accruing those purchases? I didn’t ask. After she said that, I had trouble breathing for a minute.
Even so… $1,500. Fifteen. Hundred. Dollars. I’m getting a little wheezy again, so I’ll stop.
It reminded me just how much technology costs. We tend to focus on the obvious things, like purchase prices and cell phone plans. But, as with all things personal finance, it can be the small things that get ya.
In the five years that Tim has had his iPod, we’ve spent maybe $30. Of that, $2 were for songs I wanted, and $3 was for the white noise app. We’ve gotten a couple of iTunes gift cards for holidays, so we have a total of about 30 songs in our iTunes account.
But I imagine a lot of smartphone users have a lot more. Probably not $1,500 worth, but a what would be, to me, a significant amount.
See, I’m within 500 feet of my computer all day. If I want to listen to a song, I can look it up on YouTube or something. (By the way, if you haven’t seen the Stephen Colbert “Get Lucky” video, click on the link immediately.) And I never go to the iTunes store just to see what new apps are available. I’m pretty safe.
It’s just a good reminder that the true cost of technology isn’t just the original investment, though that’s always steep enough. Or the cost of upgrading to newer, better models. It’s death by a thousand paper cuts.
For smartphones, there’s the cost of music and apps, which seem innocuous at $1-2. Then accessories, like individualized skins and cases.
For computers, it’s the lure of a wireless keyboard ($20+), wireless mouse ($15+) and wireless printer(60+).
For consoles, it’s new games — and DLC. Why travel to GameStop when you can download the whole game now? Even though that means no used prices or selling it back. Gone through the game already? Get new costumes ($1-2), characters ($5) or campaigns ($10-20). You can easily spend $20-30 for add-ons to a $60 game.
And you know the worst part? It all just makes us want more. I see people’s pretty technology, and I have to struggle with envy. I hear about a cool app, and I’m tempted to go check it out.
It’s exhausting… and expensive.
How much of this stuff do you fall prey to? How many songs are on your phone?