So my parents called me boring… take two

I work in high tech, so I’m quite familiar with the latest electronic gadgets available in the market today. Quite regularly, I get to play with the latest electronic gadgets that have not been launched. As someone who has always loved technology, my job is pretty sweet this way.

As I tweeted out earlier…

I overheard a conversation that a couple of my co-workers were having this morning. They were talking about hooking up lights at home so they could control these lights remotely. Because wifi was the link between the lights and the controller (i.e. smart phone), latency was the topic of discussion. One of them suggested a few very technical methods to improve the latency so the delay of turning on and off the light wouldn’t be as long. I quietly listened in and found the fancy wifi-cloud-enabled-super-cool-digital-everything-internet-of-things light controllers fascinating.

You’d think my love for technology would translate at home. Surprisingly, Mrs. T and I are fairly low tech at home. How low tech are we? Here are some examples:

  1. We still use mechanical timers to control our lights. Hello old fashion!
  2. We don’t have a TV at home. We’ve been TV free for close to 5 years now. What’s 4K TV and smart TV? Don’t ask me for answers.
  3. Although we have a secured wifi hotspot set up at home, we have not set up a home network to allow sharing files between computers or phones. USB memory stick, email, or Google Drive are how we share files. 🙂
  4. I used a not-so-smart Samsung whisper-ma-phone until around 2012. I only got a smart phone because work decided to give me a phone and pay for my monthly phone bill.
  5. Mrs. T was on a not-so-smart Nokia brick-phone powered by Leprechauns until a few months ago. I redeemed some Aeroplan points to get her a Motorola Moto E smartphone. The only reason for the upgrade? So she could use it to take better photos and videos of Baby T. (She does not have data plan on her phone though, so I suppose the phone can only be considered as a half-smart-phone :p).
  6. The latest recent high tech gadget purchase? A $30 Bluetooth speaker so we can play music off our phones.
  7. We don’t have an iPad or any tablets at home. We have a Kindle e-reader only because Mrs. T had gotten it for free.
  8. We use an alarm clock that’s from the mid 90’s to wake us up in the morning.
  9. We do not use Netflix or any streaming services.
  10. I’ve had my Seiko watch for over 15 years. Thanks to the kinetic auto relay technology, I have not spent a cent on battery replacement. The other day I received a brand new smart watch (~$300 in value) for attending a technology conference earlier this year. I didn’t open the box. I’ll sell it to get some extra money.
  11. We have no experience with wifi-internet-enabled baby camera monitor. In fact, we don’t even own a baby monitor. We lived in a small apartment when Baby T was born and we could hear him from anywhere in the apartment. Although we’re now in a house, we can still easily hear him when he is in his room. So we still don’t own a baby monitor.

Perhaps this is why my parents called Mrs. T and I boring? In fact, I think my parents own way more high tech gadgets than Mrs. T and I.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very neat to have the latest gadgets. We are staying fairly low tech at home so we can focus on other things in life. We don’t need the latest gadgets and have no desire of getting them. Instead of buying the latest and greatest gadgets, we save. We can then use money saved to add dividend paying stocks in our dividend portfolio. Avoiding the latest gadgets has also allowed us to practice frugal living.

The way I look at it? It’s awesome that people are spending tons of money on the latest electronic gadgets and replacing their gadgets regularly. Their must-have-the-latest-electronic-gadgets addiction is allowing the likes of Apple, Wal-Mart, Telus, and Intel to continue paying us dividend income. Gotta love receiving money without having to work! 🙂

Dear readers, are you fairly high tech at home? Or are you like us, living like cavemen?

PS I just realized that I used a lot of hyphens in this post. Oops.

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34 thoughts on “So my parents called me boring… take two”

  1. I have never owned a smart phone. I still use a flip phone. We do not own a television. I think that the TV is a waste of time. My kid has a tablet that his grandfather gave to him. We have never had cable. If I want to see a soccer/futbol game, I go to my parents’ house and see it there.

  2. Haha, funny one! Enjoyed it as I recognized myself quite good. I think we’re in the cavemen category… although we do have tablets and a Playstation. But I’M still quite retarded compared to most people we know.


  3. Great listing. Haha wow, you are probably one of the most classic person I have ever known. I thought I am very classic but there is always someone flying in the air while I am running on the ground. Good to be motivated! Thanks for sharing!



    • Hi BSR,

      Haha I wouldn’t call myself classic though. I just don’t see the need to have the latest and greatest when it comes to gadgets.

  4. I’m definitely on the lower-end of the tech spectrum, and actually don’t enjoy buying new gadgets at all! I have an old iPhone that barely works, but it does enough to get me by, but my wife keeps telling me i NEED a new one! I’d rather wait until it completely stops doing what it needs to do, even if it causes some minor inconveniences, than splash out on a new gadget.

    I have to say though, I do love my kindle, and splash out a little on buying books, but the kindle itself is still 5 years old and going strong…

  5. I used to be an early adopter of tech but friends and family caught up/overtook me when I realised that paying off debt was more important than getting the latest gadgets. My Kindle ereader is 5 years old and looks like a big clunky old thing compared to the sleeker, slimmer new models – it’s got buttons, no touch screen! My tablet was purchased with gift vouchers and my ipod doesn’t connect to my car because the software isn’t compatible, ie several years too old!

    I also still use an actual Filofax for dates and appointments…

    I never jumped on the iphone bandwagon, still use Blackberry and yes, I get laughed at by all my friends but it does what I want it to do!

    I couldn’t do without my TV though. Whilst the TV does stay switched off most days, I do love to watch movies/boxed sets and sport on it. I could watch on my pc monitor but it’s not quite the same.

    • Hi weenie,

      Great that you realized what’s more important in your life – paying off debt or chasing the next shiny object. 🙂

      The thing with a lot of these “old” gadgets is that they still work. They just don’t look as fancy or as thin. They still do the same thing as the latest gadgets that costs 4 or 5 times the price. Nothing wrong with using older gadgets.

  6. I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I haven’t bought a hi-tech gadget in forever. My phone is an iPhone 6, but work footed the bill. Other than that my iPad is ~5 years old, and I don’t even use it. I use my clunky HP laptop work provided because I like being able to type on a key board. My watch is mechanical and I can’t read emails on it 🙂

  7. Tawcan,

    I think that your perspective is very valuable for maintaining a successful investment strategy. The ability to see what people in society want, not engage in that consumerism yourself, and then use the money that would otherwise be spent on that good or service to purchase assets is the key to having your money work for you. I always enjoy looking around and seeing what people are dependent on and enthusiastic about, and then investing in that company. Thanks!


  8. Tawcan,

    This is awesome. This has more than likely kept other expenses and bills down due to the lower usage of tech. I don’t care what anyone says – Tech costs money! Upgrades, new bills, replacements, batteries, electricity to plug in, etc.. It all costs more for some benefit more than others (some it creates an even more of a hassle!). Great job Tawcan, boring can be good, very good..


    • Hi Lanny,

      Tech definitely costs money. Once you get the latest and greatest, you have the urge to keep up. So that ends up costing you more money. Boring can be good indeed.

  9. I’d say we are right in the middle tech wise! One thing I do take pride in though, is that oftentimes we are “late-adopters” where we have one item, and use it until it absolutely falls apart (even if that means version x, y, z, 1, 2, 3) have come out between that timeframe. My fiance & I are so old school when it comes to book – I love to have a tangible item in my hands to read from! We visit the public library often & have two large book shelves (from books collected over the years) for this fascination. In terms of calendars, I absolutely despise using my phone. I love to write it down in a physical planner/calendar. A lot of gadgets we do have, have also just been gifted as well without us purchasing it. Just recently, my fiancé attended a trade show from work & our company was a main sponsor. They ended up gifting him a personalized wireless Bluetooth speaker that works pretty dang well! We also have Netflix, and stream a lot of content because we do not have cable. I guess you could say we have a pretty fine balance in the household?

    • We’re definitely late adopters to many technologies. It’s kind of funny because I see and use a lot of these technologies at work but don’t adopt them at home. I’m with you, I like the look and feel of old fashioned book compared to e-readers like Kindle. Sure paper books take more room on the book shelves but they just feel better.

      It’s certainly nice to get free gadgets for attending a trade show. 🙂

  10. Haha, I love how low-tech you two are! The not-so-smart phones is pretty impressive! I think I fall somewhere in the middle ground, but lean towards less technology. Apart from the fancy MacBook Pro provided my work, I stick to a cracked iPhone 5 (really need to fix the screen!), Netflix and Roku for the TV. Nothing super fancy, but they all feel like luxuries to me, haha 🙂

    • Hi Taylor,

      Seems that most of the FI bloggers are either low tech or middle of the line. I’m not surprised to hear about this though.

  11. People that I support financially (I give my Dad money, he then use that money to give to relatives) have way newer gadgets and cellphone plan then I do. 🙂 I guess, that’s why they need my financial support?!! Less electronic, less stress of disruption, more time for outdoor activities. almost 100% kids nowaday are nearsighted or have some sort of corrective vision, because they are not used to look at things far away, they only zoom in to cellphone, Ipad, TV, etc. “the bigger the better, right?”

  12. Hahaha…I hear you. While not as low tech as you, we have upgraded a bit. My wife and I own smartphones and have an expensive data plan. But being the tech industry, I am a very slow adapter as well
    – My first smartphone was about 5 yrs ago when ppl had already been thru 2 or 3 generations of smartphones. I just upgraded my smartphone a few months ago after a almost 5 yrs.
    – Have a TV, but never had cable my adult life. We use Netflix though 🙂
    – Got a tablet as a gift – which I barely use
    Other than that, our setup is also pretty basic – Just a wifi and no special home streaming device setups etc. I do want to buy a bluetooth speaker though.


  13. I’d say we’re middle of the road tech wise. We have TV Internet and direct tv, but will probably experiment with cutting the chord when that contract is up. The only kicker for not doing it now is not being able to watch football, so until that gets fixed… We have iPads, 1 each, and we each have a personal computer. My 9 yr old desktop is getting replaced with a laptop this week, so I’m excited about that. I realized my phone was more powerful than it was and the time it took to edit posts and more was getting excruciating. Other than that we use timers for Christmas lights, and the fish tank and we tried the nest but it wasn’t adjustable enough for us, so we went back to a programmable thermostat. We’re pretty low key on most gadgets except the iPad and kindle I got for Mrs. SSC. She uses libraries for that mostly though.

    • Hi Mr. SSC,

      Again sports seem to be the reason why a lot of people haven’t cut their cable service. It would be nice if the online streaming service is more cost competitive. We only have an iMac at home. We have a MBP from like 8 years ago which gets used occasionally if one of us need to do some work. I have a laptop from work so sometimes I use this laptop at home too. The gadget counts in our home is definitely low compared to average household.

  14. We’re definitely not high tech at all…though I don’t work in the tech sector…I always assumed those who did loved high tech gadgets. We were late adopters to smart phones compared to our peers, but wow, Mrs. T is pretty hardcore for holding out still. I have the same type of watch as you, got it many many years ago but I should have sprung for the one that lasts longer. If I don’t wear it a day, it runs out of power. And my alarm clock from high school is still alive and kicking! We’re definitely “boring” too but my parents are even more so.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Good to hear another “low tech” household. Mrs. T held out on a smartphone for a while. I was definitely one of those oddball high tech guys that still had a dumb phone when everyone around me had a smartphone.

  15. Your story resonates with me. At work I run a help-desk on a software program my company uses. If it breaks or someone cannot figure something out, they call me. I know the in’s and out’s better than anyone else – subject matter expert if you will – but when they come in my office and say “hey, do you know why my computer is doing this, or my smart phone is doing that” – i just smile and say i have no idea! I get a funny look as to “why i would not know” and politely tell them that I still have a flip phone, no tablets, no laptop at home, and overall not “up with technology”.

    Sometimes i feel they look down on me probably thinking if he cannot fix my computer or iphone, how can he be “help desk?” haha… When my wife and I got married and moved in together, that is the first time we spent money to buy a nice TV and get cable… for both of us. I love sports so its nice and i work long hours so it gives her something to watch while I’m working. Other than that, no smart phones or wifi lights or laptop or ipads, etc.

    But hey, as long as other people are buying all those products up then more money in my pocket! Until my Verizon/AT&T positions generate more dividends than it would cost monthly for a smart phone, i will not get one. I want to know that they are still paying ME for using their products.. like it currently is now!

    • Hahaha, I’m the other way around, I’m the tech support for my family when it comes to anything remotely high tech. I often don’t know the answers and have ton consult my good friend Google.

      For many people, sport games is the last thing that hold people back from cutting cable. It’s too bad all these online sport streaming services are more expensive than cable subscription.

  16. Pretty low tech at the chimp house. My wife likes to have a tv so we have internet and Netflix but no cable service. She thought it was odd I didn’t have tv when we met. The fact was I hadn’t had a tv in over 8 years. I simply didn’t have one all through college and law school and felt it rotted the brain. I always had the net for info. I stretch my computers and phones until every port has changed and they are no longer usable or I’m unable to upgrade RAM and memory enough to use current programs. Tech is a huge money suck as it moves so fast the new tech will be out next week.


    • Hi Devin,

      Good call on Netflix service only and no cable. Netflix is good enough to replace cable, unless you want to watch move sports. I didn’t own a TV during college and a few years I was living with roommates. Only had TV in the apartment because my roommates had one. The best new technology will always be out there. Keep up with the latest and greatest just means you’re throwing money down a pit.

  17. My parents have many more gadgets at home. I am interested in smart home technology, but we won’t adopt any such technology until we’re in a more permanent location. For now, we just manually turn off lights and lock our doors.

  18. We have TV and Internet. I didn’t have a TV until about age 24 (correlates when I met Ms. Red to Riches of course). I will admit, it is kind of nice for sporting events, but other than that it’s uncommon I use it more than once a week. It was also a 42 inch under $300 which isn’t really up to the standards of many of my friends..

    I have a kindle for reading and a smart phone which serve their functions well and I’m glad I have them.

    Some technology I just still do not understand. There is no type of timer on my lights. I turn them on when I need to see and turn them off when I don’t. If someone breaks in because the house is dark (my mom used to always get timers on all lights during vacations), they would be severely disappointed in the material goods in my home.

    And I don’t even know how to set up a home network that you mentioned above haha.

    I’ve definitely not anti-technology if it serves a useful purpose to me, but a lot of it I just can’t justify. Like you said, put that money to work for you instead 🙂

    • Hi Red to Riches,

      Watching sports without a cable subscription is tough. We have been using free CBC hockey night in Canada online streaming to watch hockey games on Saturday. It works and the quality is HD quality.

      I’ve been debating whether timers are really needed. I guess it’s nice to have some lights to see. 🙂


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