sunday night trend analysis

I was bored last night, so I decided to do some good old fashioned anal retentive data entry.

You see, while iTunes allows you to look at your purchase history, there’s no way to export the information  – it’s displayed as a graphic, so you can’t even copy and paste it into a spreadsheet. This is a very smart and devious move by Big Brother, because it keeps you from realizing just how much money you spend on songs and apps $.99 at a time. Unfortunately for Apple, I keep ALL my iTunes receipts in case a device or hard drive barfs on me and I need proof of payment. I throw everything into a folder and never look at it, until I am desperately bored on a Sunday night and decide I truly need to categorize everything.

So, that’s what I did. I took all 300+ iTunes receipts and entered the data into a spreadsheet. I know I buy a lot of apps – I am not an App Whore because I sleep with iPhone developers – but just how bad is my iTunes spending? It can’t be THAT bad; apps and songs are a dollar. I’ve got 190 apps installed on my phone right now, so over the life of my iTunes account I’ve spent, what, $200? $300? Pfft, that’s nothing.

Then I totaled it all up.

I opened my iTunes account on November 22nd, 2007. It’s been active for 32 months, and in that time I’ve spent one thousand ninety three dollars and forty one cents.

That’s over $34 a month; more than a dollar a day. I could have a QUEEN for less than that.  Almost $1100 frittered away on digital media and things that go beep and boop or allow me to put mustaches on pictures of my friends.

Holy shit.

Okay, it’s not quite as dire as it seems – I’ve redeemed a number of promo codes that still show up with a dollar amount, but is charged to Store Credit instead of my credit card. Same thing for iTunes gift cards; those purchases are included in my total. Some cards were gifts, but some I had bought on my own so I added them to my total. In the name of Science, I will now recalculate without the Store Credit numbers:


Oh, that’s HEAPS better.

As of right now, I am curbing my enthusiasm for throwing money at Mr. Jobs. I will still buy apps, but I will be a little more stringent with my purchases. This process has already begun, but I need cold hard facts to make it stick:

  • 2007 (1 month): $3.96
  • 2008: $239.52
  • 2009: $483.87
  • 2010 (to date): $366.06

This is no good at ALL – in 2008, I spent almost $20 a month. In 2009, that jumped to over $40 a month. So far in 2010, I’ve averaged over $52 a month – at this rate, I’m on pace to top $625 in iTunes spending this year and THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN! With the internet as my witness, I WILL BEHAVE!

Seriously, I feel dirty.

I did learn some interesting things about iTunes, though:

  • iTunes Canada does not charge tax on songs, just apps (used to be both taxes; now is just the HST)
  • iTunes US charges state tax on songs AND apps (I think Kimli of Kenmore WA will relocate to Portland OR)
  • Gift cards in Canada can now be used to buy music and apps (we used to be limited to music only)
  • Accessing other country’s catalogs is as easy as buying an iTunes card for that country – I routinely buy US iTunes cards so I can download music and games that aren’t in the Canadian store
  • Jesus Christ I’ve spent a lot of money on crap:
    • $294.90 on whole albums
    • $510.32 on apps
    • $288.19 on single songs

This is a wakeup call – I had NO IDEA I was throwing this much money away on random. There are some things that are well worth the price I paid for them if not more – the $6 I spent on Hipstamatic comes to mind – but ouch. I’m more than a little convinced that Apple has done this on purpose; given you no real way to look at just how much money you’ve spent in the iTunes Store. After all, $.99 is nothing! But do that 1000 or even 100 times, and you’re looking at some serious money that could be put towards other things like ale and whores.

On the other hand, I’m really glad I don’t drink or smoke or have a Starbucks habit. I couldn’t afford them.

9 thoughts on “sunday night trend analysis

  1. I should really add up my starbucks habit, but luckily there’s no possible way to do so. I’m pretty sure it would be as frightening, if not worse.

    But I’d like to pride myself in cutting WAY down. I haven’t bought anything at Starbucks in over two weeks. (Although a friend did buy me a venti chai latte yesterday that I sucked down with great pleasure.) Of course, the main reason for me cutting down is that I’m trying to limit my sugar intake, not because I’m fiscally responsible. Damn.

  2. If you buy with US iTunes GC’s can you put it on your Canadian iPhone? I’ve yet to figure out how to merge Calgary Carmen with Montana Carmen… frack.

    • Yep! I use two accounts in one iTunes – you need to authorize the computer to play things bought on the other account, then copy the files over. It’s only a pain in the ass when I have to switch accounts to get all the software updates, but other than that it works perfectly. It’s also really helpful when getting promo codes to review, because 99% of them are US iTunes only.

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