Time-warp technology for healthier, richer life
I have a friend who taunts me that coming to my house is like taking a trip into the 1950s.
I take it in good humour because many of the devices I rely on wouldn’t have been out of place in that longpast decade.
My anti-tech stance is playing its part in making me wealthier and keeping me fitter without having to pay to join a gym.
I have an almost pathological dislike of buying powered stuff that will cost me money to run when a low-tech, lowcost practical alternative is available. Let me present my case. Exhibit one is my TV. I can’t recall when I bought it but I guess it’s around 14-15 years old. It looks like TVs did 20 years ago. It does have a flat screen, large but not ludicrously large. It’s tube technology but the wildlife docos I watch with my eldest daughter look great on it.
Sure, those polar bears might jump out of the screen if I wasted money on a newer, larger model but we hardly watch the thing so I don’t see the value.
I have a young family. There’s homework to be done, games to play, books to be read, art to be done, meals to cook, dishwasher to load. In the years I have had my TV, my friend has replaced his a couple of times with new, whizzier versions. I haven’t. That’s not degraded my life but it has swelled my bank balance.
Exhibit two is my lawnmower. It’s a push mower. I once owned a petrol mower. Boy, that thing was hard to start and nasty to use. It needed feeding, looking after and when I pulled the chord, flocks of birds would rise from the trees and scatter in panic.
I feel much better about my push mower. The power of my arms and the fat I’d otherwise be packing, not petrol, fuels it. It never breaks down. The kids play in the garden while I mow. It didn’t cost a bean. We swapped the petrol mower for it.
Exhibit three is the device I use in place of a leaf-blower. I count leafblowers as the garden device I hate most. Users of leaf-blowers shatter the peace even more than my motor mower did. I have a device that works just as well. It cost me hardly anything, runs on the same fuel as my lawnmower and has similar fitness benefits. It’s a broom.
Exhibit four is my bike. When my youngest started school we ditched one of the two cars. I’m not more mueslimunching than the next guy. This wasn’t a green choice. It was a money thing. We bought a house in walking distance from a school and biking distance to work.
The financial value of those two things is that we can get by (yes, with a little inconvenience at times) with one car. That’s one less tank to fill. One less set of components to break down. One less rego to pay. One less insurance policy. One less WOF. One less set of tyres to replace.
It frees a lot of money for other things like mortgage reduction and swelling savings.
I always refused to pay for a work parking space so I had to park a long way from work and walk the rest of the way so cycling doesn’t actually take me any longer and I find Auckland drivers to be respectful sharers of the road; contrary to popular legend.
I walk the kids to school. They have learnt that they are not water soluble and now grumble if they get driven. I have found that harnessing the power of your muscles and low-tech is a sensible strategy to reduce the costs of life and by default increase your wealth.