Tech binges: Taking the heat on the graduate wallet

'Technology binge': a sparing moment of self-indulgent insanity resulting in excessive spending on items of technology. Not a good idea for this soon-to-be graduate.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

I walked out of the store and lit what could have passed as a post-coital cigarette. Leaning against a pillar with a plastic bag of technological goodness held in my left hand, the cigarette in my right, I let out a sigh of relief.

The rush was incredible. The fact that I had binged on so much technology in such a short space of time made Christmas seem somewhat redundant.

And then I let out a sigh of disgust and disdain -- for myself.

Many of you will know of my addictive personality. Technology was once seen in my eyes as a 'means to an end'; this productive soldier in the essay-fighting crusade against the naysayers of higher education has all but been squandered as I approach my graduation next month.

Though the hard work is over, my life is slowly being taken over by a need to fulfil the void left by my university escapades.

Here's how it happened.

Image via Flickr.

24 hours earlier

It was absolutely chucking it down with rain. The heavens had opened and the dry, baron county of Kent; the "garden of England" so dry that it is now in an at-risk zone for drought.

There was a void in my life. I, unlike the majority of my demographic, am not a prolific console gamer. It has been something chipping away at my generally one-tracked mind for some time.

And, with this, I have been fully aware that one day the peer pressure was going to intensify towards a social exclusion like scenario which would emulate that of switching off Facebook indefinitely.

At some point, something had to give.

Present day

In the space of one single hour, I bought:

  • iPod touch (4th generation)
  • Universal Dock including Remote (for iOS devices)
  • Skullcandy Ink'd Earbuds stereo headphones
  • Xbox 360 console (with Kinect and one free game)
  • Four games for the Xbox, including compatible Kinect games
  • MacBook Air (64GB, 11" screen)
  • Western Digital TV Live HD media player
  • Audio Technica AT2020 condenser microphone
  • Lunch for two of my friends (for whom I dragged around the shops with me, acting like a spoilt, naive child)

Naturally, claiming rights of free hands due to my bad back, my dear friend Elliot took the full brunt of my purchases and reluctantly through force kindly offered to carry them on the walk home. His efforts were repaid in the gratuitous killing of virtual Nazi zombies.
Who needs presents at Christmas or Thanksgiving when one can purchase goods at one's own leisure; even if in bulk and taking a blow to the wallet?

In examining my own behaviour, the acquisition of technology through purchases and peer 'pressure' is what one may expect from the Generation Y. This demographic is on the most part 'spendthrifty' in nature and spend their money on entertainment rather than other materialistic items, such as house plants or other household items.

The spending on entertainment, however, stalls in resistance of paying small contributions to the record or film industry through legal purchases; where piracy is more prevalent and frankly easier to do.

The iCloud, we hope, should solve this issue.

I was somewhat reprimanded by a close friend, regarding my Xbox purchase. "We all have PlayStations. Every one of your friends has a PlayStation. I could have connected you with 30 bloody people, why did you get an Xbox?", he said emphatically.

My simple reply: "I don't want my account details hacked every five minutes".

There is a point to be made, though. My generation loves its gadgets, the toys and the sensation of spending once we break through the financial barriers of owning a place in the employed demographic.

While we may not have the vast expendable income that our parents have whilst at university, what happens when we do is an interesting consideration to look at. In short, we splurge.

It is no mystery that the Generation Y has money management issues. Not only in how we budget -- because the vast majority of us either cannot or do not -- and have little concept of savings or managing our income for the long term.

Whether or not the danger has passed from the PlayStation fallout, one thing was clear. For a game and a Kinect included with the $325 Xbox deal, it was a one time offer. That was my only motivation.

Don't hold it against me... too much.

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