Curbing Your Appetite For Gear

“You want it. You can’t stop thinking about it. You must have it.

You keep visiting websites about it. You find it for sale online and your finger hovers over the button. You see it in a store and you almost can’t tear yourself away from picking it up and holding it in your hands.” -thesimpledollar.com

I don’t think I could put it any better myself. I’m sure this goes for anyone with a significant hobby, but it seems like it especially applies to us audio folk.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 8.33.22 AMFrom the beginning, I’ve always had a wishlist. It started so many years ago with things like “a condenser microphone,” and even a pair of “good headphones.” Although it has evolved, it has never died. Today, it contains similar items – Miktek C7, LA Scoring Strings, the new Mac Pro. I keep telling myself “that after this purchase, I won’t need anything else.” Needless to say, I always find something else to keep the list afloat.

A list like this can be detrimental to your progress, especially if you put too much emphasis on it. For example, if you tell yourself that nothing will sound good unless you have [insert piece of expensive shiny new gear here], you’re probably not going to want to work with the gear you currently have. And you’d be missing the point of having the gear in the first place! The gear is simply a tool to create music with, not the reason we create music!

So how do you prevent this “wishlist” from getting in the way of your progress as a musician, producer, or engineer? Good question. Luckily, the folks at thesimpledollar.com came up with a quick list of general guidelines for curbing your financial appetite. Here’s their list – feel free to check out some of their explanations on their post here:

Don’t shop recreationally.

Don’t watch television without a specific program in mind.

Don’t web browse without a specific purpose.

Seek out entertainment that doesn’t involve material possessions.” – thesimpledollar.com

Ok – so I agree with some of these more than others. The two that I find most apply to us gear heads are “don’t shop recreationally” and “don’t web browse without a specific purpose.” Think about it – when does your wishlist tend to grow? Mine grows every time I am on Amazon.com, aimlessly watching YouTube tutorial videos, or strolling into a Guitar Center after a nice lunch out.

If you limit these activities, you’ll be less likely to grow your wishlist. But how to you control what you’ve already got? Here’s what I like to do – set timers. Now, you can’t necessarily set a physical timer for 1 week in advance, but I simply add it into my calendar to remind me in one week about my desire to purchase whatever product I want at the time. After one whole week of not looking at it online or even thinking about it, if I still feel it is a good purchase, I’ll usually pull the trigger and buy it. I will say, however, that about 99.9% of the time, I decide that the time isn’t right to purchase said product.

Try this technique out if you have trouble with your wishlist – and remember – the time will come when you will get new gear. Just make sure that the time is right, and don’t make it an everyday thing. Gear are the tools we use to create music – we don’t create music to use gear!

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