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.

**Update**

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. ;)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan October 7, 2010 at 8:02 am

It’s funny – I ‘do’ the most with the computer at home but I make my Hub buy ‘them.’ We have ‘them’ now. A regular sized laptop and a slightly smaller but almost identical version (2 yrs diff. in age) as we found with all the computer homework our kids have at school and the trainings my Hub has to do from home it was standing room only at the computer desk.
Our desktop died 2 years into our move overseas and we bought in the US and brought (slightly smuggled) them as buying here would get us one with a German keyboard OR paying the extra to order one with an American keyboard.
We also keep the spec’s in mind – I need a computer that can handle the photo stuff, word processing and surfing the Internet. That’s all. I found that buy buying a separate hard-drive (bazillion gb’s) to store the photo’s on (I use Shutterfly as my other backup), it saved on the hardwear needed.
Lastly – isn’t Ginny Owens wonderful? Saw her on the Gloria tour at our church in IA many, many moons ago – and sponsored our first Compassion child. :)

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Amy October 3, 2010 at 7:44 pm

A few months ago my hubby bought me a Dell 17″ laptop for about 500$. I have not a clue what the specs are, but it does what I need it to do! I love it! He found it on the Dell website, it’s refurbished and he also found a coupon online somewhere. We got that big of a screen because I take it to work and watch movies on it. I have a job with ALOT of downtime! He looked/researched for quite a few months trying to find the right one for the right price.

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EnnisP October 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Be thankful you are buying computers in the States. I don’t know about other countries but in South Africa those specs set you back considerably more and the selections aren’t as great.

But, more to the point. Which team was John supporting?

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jolyn Reply:

BAMA, BABY! ALL THE WAY!

Which means it was a good game. ;)

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Katie October 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

Sigh.
We just spent almost $1000 on a new computer. But with invisible money.
Our 4 yr old computer is dying a slow death, so we had already discussed saving up to buy a new one in a few months. Then we stopped by the Navy Exchange and saw that they had a sale on all the electronics, including no interest/no payments for a year if you bought it with the Star Card. Since we didn’t have a Star Card, we could open one and get an additional 10% off. We did it.
Of course, we’ll be making all the payments (which we would have been saving anyway) before the year is up.

YAY justification for debt!

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jolyn Reply:

Of course your choice isn’t IDEAL, b/c it’s so easy to just make the minimum payments. But you can do it! Make those payments that bring that balance to zero within twelve months! In fact- challenge yourself to do it in four months or less! You can do this!

And yea for new computers! Our teenager is in awe. :)

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Carri October 3, 2010 at 8:59 am

We bought a Toshiba for Christmas and it was under $500. We love it. I enjoy the freedom of moving it all over the house (even outside!) Good luck.

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jolyn Reply:

Is this a notebook? That seems so cheap for a laptop! I love the flexibility of my laptop: I’m so spoiled and don’t want to have to share a computer with my son again. Plus, the couch has become my desk. ;)

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JP Reply:

That’s about what we got our Toshiba for, and we got a 3-in-1 printer with it.

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Mysti October 3, 2010 at 8:04 am

I am of no help in this area. I defer to my brother, the IT specialist.

I will say that when our desk top went to the great Best Buy in the sky a few months ago (at the ripe old age of 5 years), my bro helped me find some options that were low, mid, and high end (for desk tops). His opinion was that for surfing the web, occasional “real” stuff, and the such….a laptop really wasn’t necessary and wouldn’t be worth the extra money.

Your new desktop is in the range that my bro said we would need to spend….so John did good. We aren’t at a financial point to actually buy anything, so we are limping along on this OLD laptop (hello, I can’t run some internet programs because the Windows operating system is too old….). But alas, you do what you gotta do, right???

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jolyn Reply:

Yes, yes, indeed we do. In fact, eradicating our consumer debt last year is why we didn’t buy a new desktop then b/c every extra penny was going toward our snowball. Two years ago? We would barely have hesitated. I’m so glad my husband can do maintenance on our computers himself, or they wouldn’t last nearly so long.

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Forest October 3, 2010 at 8:02 am

Really cool to have the whole insight into the purchase and I am sure he made a fine choice…. One small thing that you may want to change…. I hope, really hope ;) that the comp came with 1000gb and not 1000mb…. (gigabytes not megabytes). Sorry for sounding like a know it all, just thought I would say, ha ha.

Sadly so many people overspend on comps because they are convinced they need top specs, it’s just so untrue.

Glad you had a great time out.

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jolyn Reply:

Oh, boy, did I ever “mistype”! And I am SO glad you pointed that out. Apparently, “that’s what I get” for asking my husband these questions while he was trying to watch a football game. ;) I’ve addendum’ed the post with the corrections now, thanks to you!

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