deal, laptop, Linux, Mac, savings, tips, tricks

We all do #stupid things sometimes

The more I think about the mistakes I made when I bought that desktop computer, the more it bothers me.

Because I know better. I know how to get even better computers for less money, and I’ve done it a bunch of times in the past, saving myself hundreds, even thousands of dollars the process.

So why would I ignore my past experience and miss out on the advantages that I get from my very own system? It hasn’t help me before, so why would I keep doing what worked for me in the past?

Simple. I followed the herd. We are so trained to think of new products being better, and we think that justifies the extra money we pay for them. We constantly see messages about how things are new and improved, and people around us are constantly buying stuff in conspicuous displays of their social advantage. Plus, if something is easy to buy, that’s another plus.

I know that was the case for me, when I bought that new desktop online a few months back. Frankly, I was in a hurry, and I was tired of hearing my wife complain about her old computer. I just wanted a quick and easy fix to do the job. I figured I’d buy it online, pick it up at the store, pop it out of the box, plug it in and voila!

But what I didn’t bank on was the extra time and effort it would take me futzing around with that machine to make sure it was actually up to my own standards.

I’m definitely not the only person that’s fallen for it. I get tired or stressed or I just don’t want to have to think about stuff, and I go for the reflex reaction. Like most of us. But the fact of the matter is, knee-jerk reactions don’t tend to involve a lot of high-quality thought, and as a result, I ended up with a box that’s probably a dog.

Well, lesson learned. I’m going to do myself a favor next time and just use my own system to get myself computer. It works. I was an idiot to not use it before.

I’m going to need a new laptop in another year or so, so I’ll get with the program now.

Get my head in the game.

And not follow the herd again, anytime soon.

deal, laptop, Linux, Mac, savings, tips, tricks

I am an incredibly frugal person.

coinsIt’s not even funny. My wife complains that I’m cheap, but she’s also living in a pretty nice house in a pretty nice town, driving a pretty decent Honda Odyssey in her travels about town. We both have everything we need to live comfortable lives, as well as take care of our health.

Me being frugal as a huge amount to do with that.

When I bring this fact to her attention, she has to agree. And the complaints about me being cheap stop.

I really think there are a number of different ways of being cheap.

  • There’s a attention cheap, which is when you don’t really pay attention to what you’re doing.
  • There’s energy cheap, where you don’t put the right amount of effort into what you’re doing, so you end up with crappy results.
  • There’s time cheap, where you trying to cram so much of what you’re doing into a limited period of time that stuff doesn’t get them properly.
  • And then there’s money cheap, which is where you’re not willing to spend on things that may or may not be worth the money.

That last one would be me

I like to think of myself as discerning. Yes, I’m cheap in the sense that I’m not going to spend extra money on stuff I don’t need. I’m not really into luxury items. I’m not really into conspicuous consumption. I want to buy the best products that I can get for a price that doesn’t force me to choose less of the other things I need in life. In other words, I don’t want to spend money on one single computer that I can spend on the same (even better) computer, plus another device like a phone or a tablet. If I can get two for the price of one, and I don’t have to sacrifice quality, I’m there.

That’s unrealistic, you may say? You may think so, but I know better. Because I’ve been doing it for years. The first time I did it, I have to admit I was pretty nervous. I almost couldn’t do it. But I bit the bullet, and I promised myself that whatever happened, I was going to learn from it and put my lessons to good use.

Fortunately, it turned out great, and my lessons helped me to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on really good, solid computer equipment for the next 10+ years.

The way that I wasn’t cheap was with my attention, energy, and time. And it paid off. I got real quality equipment that was more reliable and lasted me longer than the new computers my relatives were buying. So, I really wasn’t that cheap, I was just smart about how I spent my time and energy — and my hard-earned money.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend 8 to 10 hours a day working for somebody else, helping to make them rich, I sure as heck I’m not going to squander whatever money I make for some cheap and easy “solution” that isn’t going to last for the long term.

And neither should you.

deal, laptop, Linux, Mac, savings, tips, tricks

Time is money

money and clock  on shelfIt’s true. It’s especially true when you’re earning a living trading your hours and expertise for a set amount of dollars. The vast majority of people I know are on salary or making an hourly wage, so everything they do translates into money for them.

In the same vein, every dollar they spend is the equivalent of time they spent on the job, or doing something else in exchange for compensation.

On the surface, there’s a whole lot to this idea, especially when it comes to making purchases. Consumer Reports magazine really had a great foothold back when I was in high school, introducing people to the idea that with a bit of research, they can get the best products for their money. I remember many times paging through that magazine, studying the grids, and thinking about what all the different qualities of these products were. It was time well spent, too, because it trained me to really look at the things I was planning on buying, and think about whether they were worth it or not.

Nowadays, that ability is more valuable than ever. We are confronted by a dizzying array of choices, when he comes to buying stuff we need. Whether it’s a car, vacuum cleaner, a piece of furniture, or a computer, or even the lower ticket items like toothpaste or clothing, we have so many choices and so many outlets we need to have the ability to think critically — and not be taken advantage of.

Like I said, time is money, and if you invest the time and the thought in the right ways, you can actually save yourself a lot of money. And if you do that often enough to become expert at it, you can save yourself time, as well.


deal, laptop, Linux, Mac, savings, tips, tricks

I never should have bought that brand new #computer

desktop computer with red circle and line drawn through itAt the time, it seemed like a good idea. Yeah, I was wrong about that.

I needed a new desktop for the shared workspace in my living room. That probably sounds strange — What’s a desktop doing in your living room? Especially when our t.v. isn’t a smart t.v. that connects to anything. The desktop in the living room is strictly for running the small business my wife and I have had for over 20 years. It’s where she does all her work. It’s a great room. It’s comfortable. It has good light.

Most people… live… in their living room. Not us. We work there. And in the dining room. We work a lot — most of our activity each day is work-related. It’s not for everyone, but we’ve kept our business running for over 20 years, when the national average is that people fold after something like 5 years.

Well, anyway, the desktop I got us back in March, 2011 was in need of updating. It was noisy. The hard drive had gotten increasingly loud over the past couple of years. That’s never a good sign. And it was slow. Windows XP (yes, XP) was still running the old beast, and it seemed like all apps we had were optimized mainly for Windows 10.

I know we were behind the times, but I’m a big believer that if something works, you leave it in place for as long as it works. I don’t have a lot of time and energy for chasing after the latest and greatest — plus, it gets expensive. I’d rather put my coin into my business, than send ever-larger checks off to Microsoft & company every couple of years or so.

Anyway, I was looking around for a good deal on a new-to-us desktop. And I found a pretty great deal on a workstation. It was a $3,000 machine, and I got it for $304. Sweet. The thing was, it was huge. And frankly, I wanted it for myself and my own home office upstairs. My wife doesn’t do heavy computing of any sort. She’s mostly on Facebook and email and she does some basic flyer design with Open Office. Seriously, her needs are very basic. She didn’t need the power of a $3K workstation for what she was doing. I needed it for myself.

So, I went shopping again. And while I was searching the web, I found what looked like good deals at a big box electronics store. I’ve shopped there a bunch of times. The nearest location is easy to get to, and the people are decent. I found what looked like a great deal on a brand-name desktop that was light and had the right amount of power (and a huge hard drive) for my wife. It had Windows 10 Home Edition on it, which worried me a little bit. Then again, my wife doesn’t do any serious computing, so how bad could it be?

I figured, I hadn’t bought a brand new computer in a while, so why not give this a whirl? I hadn’t bought a brand new desktop or laptop for over 10 years, and the online deal looked pretty good. It was more than I would have paid for a professionally refurbished one (it was $100 more than I’d paid for the machine I was replacing, which had lasted 7 years).

So, I clicked “Buy” and waited for the email that my new computer was ready to pick up. And I picked it up. Brought it home. Unboxed it. Hooked it up to the monitor and printer. Installed all the drivers for the printer. Plugged in the ethernet cable. Whee….

Simple, right?

Well, kind of.

Turns out, Windows 10 Home Edition has a whole bunch of extra crap stuff loaded in, and after a couple of weeks, we started getting prompts to buy this or that or the other thing. I had to remove a bunch of games and add-ons that we never needed to begin with. Uninstall. Clean things up. Configure. Adjust.

Pain in the ass.

And looking back on my decision to buy new, yeah… that just didn’t make any sense. ‘Cause you know what? The thing is loud. Not as loud as the XP dinosaur we replaced. And it’s not terribly fast. It’s faster than the XP box, but compared to my refurbished laptop, which is probably 5 years old, ’round about now, it’s sluggish.

I’ll have to go in and see what I can do about that. Do some more configuration. Disable some of the “features”. But I swear, if I’d just done what I’ve done for the past 10+ years, I wouldn’t have to be writing this post. My wife and I could both be just humming along, doing our work, without all the marketing fluff and bells and whistles that appeal to teenagers, but no small business owner should have to suffer through.

Lessons learned.

deal, expert, laptop, savings, special report, tips, tricks

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deal, expert, laptop, savings, special report, tips, tricks

Become a Laptop Ninja!

Free Report: The Insider’s Guide to Extreme Laptop Discounts Reveals:

  • The hidden weaknesses of a worldwide computer distribution system that works in your favor.
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