We just shelled out $670.94 on a new…

by jolyn on October 2, 2010

in On Budgeting,On Entertainment,On Shopping

… computer!  Which was quite necessary, in the modern scheme of things.

We have been putting off the wheedling from our teenage son for well over a year, but the time had come: our old desktop lasted years longer than any other computer we’ve owned and it was one step away from crashing completely. Also, our son requires a computer for an online high school course — not to mention his regular classes — and I was paranoid that the old one would crash and breath its last after John leaves for California and I’d be left here not having a clue what to do.

My husband is the computer guru, not I. He’s the reason the desktop lasted even as long as it did — over five years? My, how times have a-changed! When he researched this time around, he reached a realization, “I am at the time of my life when I am getting off the tech-train.” He no longer has the interest or time to keep up with the latest and greatest in chip power speed and super high-powered ninja-bytes. (Can you tell I have no idea what I’m talking about?)

But John at least knows what the specs mean when he’s standing there determining which one he should ultimately purchase for our purposes. He visited three different local stores looking for a mid-grade PC with sufficient upgrades to keep it from becoming obsolete in just a few years, but without the unnecessary bells and whistles that cost an arm and a leg: we don’t need the thing to design the next space shuttle or calculate the speed of light; we just need enough of a machine to handle email and homework programs and carousing around facebook.

He ended up bringing home our first Gateway PC — no new monitor, as the one we have works just fine (much to our son’s chagrin).

With tax: $670.96.

Based on John’s research leading up to the purchase, we had estimated spending about $600, before tax. The first two stores didn’t have what he was looking for in stock. The third store had the one he wanted, but right beside it was the Gateway for $30 more (before tax) but with specs that added up to a lot more:

  • i3 chip
  • 8 MB RAM
  • 1000 MB hard-drive*

*see below for an explanation and the corrected specs!

This was vs. the quad-core chip, six GB RAM, and 750 GB hard-drive of the Dell he’d originally planned on buying.

Lest you think I sound like I know what I’m talking about, I’m just writing down what John is telling me. All in all, I thought he did very well within the budget we had set for ourselves. He also knows how to install these things and set everything up. Did you know they want $70 to come out to your house and do that for you?

He bought a computer, and I got a much-needed night out.

I got a much-need night out with the ladies last night while Conner babysat (yea, for teenage siblings!) and John did the final computer shopping. I enjoyed a yummy soup and half-sandwich ($7.87) from Panera before the girls and I headed to a live concert and soaked our souls in the soothing tunes of an amazing new (to me) Christian singer-songwriter and pianist — who also just happens to be blind.

Pizza for The Boys: $19.98

Unbeknown to me, “The Boys” were ordering out a meal of their own, courtesy of Father John.

All in all, it ended up being a rather expensive day.

(At least the concert was free.)

Laptop Woes

It could be so much worse, of course. (Can’t it always?) But my laptop is also on its last legs!

Do I need a new laptop? Hmmm… define “need”, exactly. No, a laptop is not necessary for human survival. But it does greatly help me maintain sanity.

HOWEVER. A new laptop is simply not where I want to put more money right now. Not now. So John spent the afternoon cleaning up my laptop and generally running scans and wipes and… well, I don’t really know what all. But it is running so much better. (Thanks, honey!)

This is How You Budget

In the interest of planning ahead for the day the laptop does finally die… What laptop do you use or otherwise recommend? Bonus if you can give me an idea of how much it goes for, though these prices like to change as much as the weather in the Midwest, don’t they?

Do tell, and help this girl start planning the $$ accordingly. I thank you in advance.


Ha! Forest just pointed out in the comments that he was very hopeful that I mistyped when I outlined the computer specs above? Did I ever! Here are the correct comps:

  • Intel Core i3 550 chip
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 1 TB hard-drive (which I now know is the same thing as 1000 GB) 😉

As John explained, “That’s what you get for interviewing me while I’m trying to watch the Florida-Alabama game!”

Just look at this as further proof of how clueless I am about such techie things. 😉

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