Have you ever had an instance where it almost felt like you truly needed to get a new ______ (fill in the blank with your “necessary item”)? I had one of those moments last week with my laptop. Here’s my crazy story….
The New Laptop
Christmas time was on it’s way and my siblings (3 brothers, 1 sister) were beginning to ask each other what they should get for my mom and dad. Since their only computer was a desktop and it was dying a slow death, we decided that it was time to get them a new laptop.
I found them an excellent deal at Best Buy and the computer had some great specs for the price – 500GB hard drive, 4GB memory, and 2.1ghz processing speed.
Once they opened it up and we began showing them the ins and outs, I actually became a little envious and began to ponder if maybe I should buy myself a new computer as well! After all, my laptop is an old IBM Thinkpad with the following crappy specs – 40GB hard drive, 1GB memory, and 1.6ghz processing speed.
Since my machine was working completely fine though, I resisted and decided to stick it out until it puked. After all, that is the frugal way to go, right? Right.
The Death of My Laptop
Soon after the holidays, my anti-virus software warned me that a virus was present on my computer.
“Should we move the virus into the vault so that it does not harm any more files on your system?” was the message that popped up. Of course I didn’t want it wreaking havoc on my computer, so I sent the virus to the vault.
“Would you like to remove the virus from your system?” was the next prompt. Well, yeah, I don’t want this virus hanging around in the vault forever. Get it off my computer. I clicked, “Yes”.
“Are you sure? This action may cause some of your necessary files to be damaged with the removal of this virus.” Hmmm. I stared at this warning for a moment, but then I thought to myself, ‘How bad could it be? The anti-virus software caught the virus and put it in the vault. It most likely won’t affect too much if I remove it from my system.’ I clicked, “Yes, I am sure”.
I was immediately sorry after my final click. I tried to open up the Internet, couldn’t do it. I tried to open up Microsoft Word, couldn’t do it. I tried to open up My Computer….that didn’t work either. This virus attached itself to almost all of my important files, which busted them completely when I removed it from my system. I immediately told my wife that I might be needing that new computer after all, and was going to look for a deal the next day.
To Repair it? Or Buy New?
I now had to make the decision of whether I should buy new, or if I should try to get my relic laptop fixed. Money wasn’t really an issue – I had $3,000 stashed away in my business account, just in case something like this happened, but I wasn’t about to make a wasteful decision just because I had the money.
For the next couple of days, I checked all over the place for a great deal, but the cheapest computer I could find with the specs I wanted was about $400. After all of the extras (Microsoft Office, anti-virus, taxes), this computer could easily cost me $600+.
I really didn’t want to spend $600, so I decided to call The Geek Squad to see how much it would cost to get my computer fixed. Because they would have to re-install a whole new Operating System, it was going to cost me about $100. Well, this is better than $600, so I decided to bring it in for repairs.
What is That??
You know your computer is old when the Geek Squad employee starts laughing and says, “Hey Jimmy, take a look at this! I haven’t seen one of these in years!! It’s even got the old printer plug-in on the back!” In fact, it was so old that they couldn’t even help me. They said I would have to call IBM to get the disks for my Operating System (I was running Windows XP still).
At this point, I was incredibly tempted to just throw in the towel and buy the new computer. I had the money, and it would have been so simple, but there must be another way!
Instead of asking myself, “Can I afford to buy a new computer?”, I began asking the question, “How could I fix my old computer and who could help me do it?” Then it clicked. I had an old Windows XP disk from college that I figured I could use to revamp my system, and my nephew has redone computers in the past, so there was a good chance that he could help me!
I called him up and we started working on it the next day. After a coule hours of labor, I’m happy to tell you that my old relic of a computer is alive again! And, the best part is the total cost: $0.00 (I did tell him that he’d be getting an extra-special birthday present though :))! I’m so glad that I didn’t buy a new laptop.
What would you have done in my situation? Have you ever had any experiences like this?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.