Before I started saving for financial independence, I would save up money on the order of a $1000–2000 and then blow it all on gadgets bringing my savings back down close to zero.

I would think up new hobbies just so I could spend many hours researching and reading consumer reports on which camera or computer system to buy, which accessories I should get for my system. I probably spent more time contemplating the equipment before I bought it than I did using it later.

My name is Jacob and I’m a gadget-o-holic.

My initial solution along with many holics was complete abstinence. From that point on, all hobbies were to be free to avoid the excitement of making big plans just to excuse the later acquisition which was the real driving force behind the plan.

Eventually I mellowed out. Instead of insisting that all hobbies must be free, I now try to enforce bootstrapping. This means that I am allowed to purchase equipment only insofar that using it can return a value corresponding to the money I spent or am going to spend.

This means that hobby expenses need not be zero if there is a corresponding revenue in terms of money saved or earned. The hobby must not operate at a net loss on the income statement.

This excludes many hobbies which are only intended to burn through money with no valuable return. Yet it leaves some hobbies with the potential to earn money or simply eliminate an existing expense.

Originally posted 2010-09-05 11:10:45.