Time-warp tech­nol­ogy for health­ier, richer life

Auckland City Harbour News - - OPINION -

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.

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