When is New Equipment an Investment, or Liability THE HARD TRUTH

I find that when I have hit a mental block with my creativity or things aren’t going the way I think they should, my first thought is to buy something. Surely, buying a new piece of equipment will get me out of this rut, I think to myself as I hover over the amazon app. Or maybe I just finished watching a video from a big content creator, and I get jealous of their setup, so I try to justify a shiny new camera. Either way, if those situations sound familiar, than you may need to step back and consider if that purchase will really solve your problems, or will it lead to major buyer’s remorse. Let’s discuss the hard truth.

Liability or Asset?

Before we can evaluate whether or not buying that DSLR camera, or expensive paint is really worth it, we need to understand a few terms first. What is a liability? What is an investment? Whats the difference, and what does ROI stand for? When we answer these questions, then we can began to decide if that solid gold mic- stand is worth its weight in gold.

What you need to know.

Put simply, a liability is an expense that takes money out of your pocket, while an investment, or asset puts money into your pocket. So think of buying a fancy new car for personal use as a liability, and buying the same car to rent out as an investment. One scenario costs a lot in maintenance, while the other has the chance to put money back into your pocket. ROI or return or investment is a term to describe how long it takes to regain money spent on investments vs how much you stand to gain from said investment.

Now, with that out of the way we can apply that to our situation. When considering buying new equipment, the questions you need to ask are: 1. will this purchase noticeably increase the quality of my creations? 2. Will this purchase make creating easier or more efficient? 3. Are there any other purchases that I could make instead, that would yield better results to questions 1 and 2? If the answers to questions 1 and 2 are not yes, then full stop DO NOT BUY it!!!! Especially if you’re unsure of your answer to question 3.

Why is this important?

Why are the questions important? These questions help us define whether or not a particular purchase is actually important or necessary. If the product you’re about to buy does not dramatically increase the quality of your creations, it probably isn’t worth your hard earned money. If the product doesn’t make the process of creation easier, or at least more hassle free, then the same is also true.  Your equipment needs to accomplish one of these things to be worth it, and in some cases both, if you already have something in a similar category.

As far as question 3, it serves multiple purposes. First, it forces us to really think about the product we are about to buy in relation to the rest of what’s available.  For times when your dead set on getting the exact camera your favorite youtuber has, this is especially helpful. After all something else may serve your specific setup, budget, or purposes better then what they have. Next it gives us the space to really consider other types of purchases that would have a greater effect on our creations. Maybe you don’t need a new camera, maybe better lights would have a greater effect on your videos.

Do you really need it?

By this time hopefully, you have weeded out all the nonsense purchases and got down to what you might REALLY need. You didn’t REALLY need that 700 drone now did you? Now we can consider ROI or return on investment before we select two day shipping. When considering ROI in this context we have to consider how much money we are spending vs the money we could potentially profit from it in the long run. We also have to consider how long it will take to get the money we spent back and profit, or if another product would yield a better ROI in comparison to our current budget.

For example: Let’s say you are a twitch streamer and you are looking to spend money on upgrading your setup. Let’s say you just got done watching your favorite streamer and you are really jealous at how good their stream looks in comparison to yours. Let’s say you have a budget of 300 dollars, and you are looking to get the most out every penny.

 Your first instinct might be to go look for a new camera or mic. However you already have a decent mic and camera that shoots in 1080p. So you go to lights and knickknacks to make your stream look more interesting and you found some for about 200 dollars. You would be tempted to press checkout, but this is where you have to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Yes, buying those thing might make your setup look better, but it won’t make your viewers more likely to subscribe or donate to you. Perhaps spending that money on some new ram or a new graphics card could be a better purchase.


The hard truth is that there is no one size fits all solution to your purchasing needs. The hard truth is there is no way to stave off buyer’s remorse. The hard truth you may already have bought something you didn’t need or something that’s didn’t make a noticeably effect on your creations. The hard truth is that after a while it may become harder to discern the value of a particular purchase in your creative journey.

However there is hope. By asking yourself the three questions we discussed earlier you can help yourself define what you really need, and when is the correct time to buy it. If you know that the purchase will make your process easier, or will increase its quality, then it is an investment. If it doesn’t, or its value is not apparent, then often it is a liability. If a different purchase might yield better results, then it is best to take the time to do proper research.

With all that said, the next time you get that itch to buy gear as I do every week or so, consider these things before you spend your hard earned money. This way you should be able to avoid that dreaded buyer’s remorse. If you are looking for ways to improve your creations or want to know about some cheap starter gear that you may have missed, please check out this article below:

4 Beginner Tools Every Content Creator Needs Right Now!

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