Open Thread: How's Your Personal Tech Spending?


As the larger economic picture continues to look dismal, the reverberations are being felt within the tech sector. As our parent blog GigaOM reports, the venture capital firms are starting to get antsy about whether Silicon Valley can continue business as usual. Apple and other tech stocks are way down, and layoffs are showing up in the industry as well (though there are layoffs in good times too, depending on who you work for).

And yet, when we asked how the economy was treating you web workers personally, the majority of respondents didn’t report a slowdown. I’m seeing the same pattern in other communities I’m a part of – Rails developers, for example, still seem upbeat on the prospect of more work.

But there’s another aspect to this: even if your revenues are staying high, what about your spending? The Washington Post reports that consumer spending is way down, and the holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a dismal one. Granted, there’s a big difference between running out to the department store to buy socks and ordering a new 30-inch monitor or copy of PhotoShop, but we wonder: are economic worries causing you to rein in your business spending? Have you postponed or cancelled planned improvements to your home office space? Working to get your gadget addiction under control? Or is it still “spending as usual” in your corner of the web worker economy?


Robert S. Robbins

I need to upgrade my computer which always has its CPU maxed out. I need a dual core system with at least 2 GB of RAM. However I have entire spare systems so sometimes I just boot up another computer to use its resources. I plan to double my rates for any new clients.

Marcin Grodzicki

I use two approaches: 1. Buy only essential stuff, as most things that we think of buying are plain whims. 2. Don’t go overboard with analyzing – it’s sometimes cheaper to buy anything rather than spend 5hrs comparing cheaper products (especially if you bill by the hour).
Not that we have any slowdown in Poland yet…

April Jones

I’ve been really choosy about the services, programs, memberships, etc. I spend money on. I use free open source programs when I can (like Open Office instead of Microsoft Office, Mozilla Thunderbird instead of MS Outlook, etc.)

Rather than shell out a bunch of money to places like Elance or Guru where I’d just be a small fish in a big pond, I use my resources on more targeted sites like Shelancers or which are specifically for women or for Virtual Assistants.

There’s also little stuff like making my coffee at home instead of running out to Starbucks to spend $5, or buying my desk at a thrift store instead of buying a brand new one.

And never underestimate the power of giveaways or review opportunities! I won a $200 Epson printer from a blog contest.

Stephen Clay McGehee

I’ve always been pretty tight when it comes to expenses other than things like furniture (things that should out-last me). Little luxuries are either canceled or scrounged. For example, I like to have water available right at my desk. I replaced the usual water bottle with a nice glass decanter sitting on a silver serving tray. Looks classy, but sounds expensive. I found the silver tray at Goodwill for $3.50 (the silver content alone is probably worth more than that). Add some silver polish and a lot of elbow grease, and I ended up with a nice addition to the desk. Same with the glass decanter – rummage sale item.

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