A Note on Financing My Tech Addiction

The new iPhone will be announced tomorrow, which means many millions of us will be going online in the coming days to pre-order a new phone. Many of us bought a phone last year, just as we did the year before that and the year before that. I personally have owned every iPhone since the iPhone 4 besides the 4S and this year’s SE. I’ve told myself it’s for this site, so that I can keep up with all the new features and speak to them intelligently, but if I’m honest I know I’d probably be doing this even if BirchTree didn’t exist at all.

It’s never comfortable to talk about money, but this behavior has to raise the question “how the hell does he afford to do this?” I’m not a millionaire by any means, and this site doesn’t bring in enough money in a year to even say it pays for my phone. I afford it by being very frugal in many other parts of my life.

I don’t spend tons of money on clothes, I don’t have other expensive hobbies1, and I don’t own a house so there are very few larger household expenses. We go out to eat once a week or so, but we’re not going to places where we’ll run up a bill over $50 unless it’s a special occasion. My wife and I even share a car for the first time in years! We moved last year after I got a new job and I am less than a mile from work, so I ride a bike to work2. Apple products are my one significant sin with money. I know my iPhone 6s Plus is amazing and wonderful and will totally work just fine for years, but moderation in other areas means I can have my new toy every fall.

So when you see bloggers and podcasters talking about getting yet another iPhone, it’s either the rare case where they’re extremely well off and it’s no big deal to them, but more likely they make sacrifices in other areas to support their nerdy habits.


  1. Besides golf, but I only play a few times a year, and even then I try to play inexpensive courses or play at odd hours when the greens fees are lower. 
  2. Seriously, I can’t tell you how liberating it feels to go from 2 cars down to 1.