My New $1400 Laptop (June 23, 2014)

by FI Fighter on June 24, 2014

in Ways to Make Money

Laptop

I must confess, I committed ERE treason yesterday… I bought a new, shiny, really, really expensive laptop! Yes, I know I have sinned, and now I must find a way to explain myself to you readers… and to myself.

First off, making this new purchase did not come easy. I’ve been looking for a laptop replacement for quite some time, and when I first started my hunt, I honed in on the new Google Chromebooks built upon Chrome OS. What especially makes these laptops appealing are the low prices — you can easily pick up a slim, new Samsung for just $250.

I visited a few stores and play around with some Chromebooks… They weren’t too bad, and I especially liked how slim some of the designs were. I was seriously contemplating buying one, until I started thinking about how future-proof they would be…

You see, the last laptop I purchased was in 2004, when I was a sophomore in college. The last time around, I picked up a Dell Inspiron, for $1200. This bad boy served me well throughout college, and really didn’t start to feel long in the tooth until around 2010 or so. And I think the only reason it even lasted that long was because I maxed out the specs on it in 2004.

So, I wavered back and forth. Finally, I decided to just bite the bullet and get a new 13.3″ MacBook Pro.

Here are the specs:

  • 2.4 GHz Dual Core Intel Core i5
  • 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR 3 Ram
  • 256 GB PCIe Flash Storage
  • 720P HD Camera
  • Retina Display (2560 x 1600)

I didn’t purchase the laptop at the Apple store, and was able to get it for $100 less than retail, $1399. Since this is an Apple product, I know I am not getting a “killer deal” by any means. As we all know, Apple products aren’t cheap!

I also considered the MacBook Air, but ultimately felt like the Pro was the better deal. For just a little bit more dough, you get much more processing power, larger storage space, and the Retina display, which I’m a huge fan of.

How am I justifying this purchase? Well, for starters, I fully intend on using this thing on a regular basis. I’m placing my bets that it will keep me motivated to update and continually improve this blog. By going “all in” with the latest and greatest, I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to maximize my return by getting a good 7-10 years out of this machine. My last Dell purchase held up for about that same timeframe, so I’m optimistic.

Honestly, I could have done the frugal thing and gone the Chromebook route to save a few hundred dollars. But if I found myself questioning my decision every single time I turned on the laptop, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been long before I felt the urge to upgrade yet again. By going Macbook Pro, I’m simply agreeing to pay more for quality. Unfortunately, I’m now completely tied into the Apple ecosystem! Well, at least it should make sharing everything on iCloud a lot easier…

In the end, I’m going to call this new laptop an investment. Yes, it set me back $1400 in the short-term, but I’m confident it will keep me inspired and motivated to keep on blogging. I’m making a commitment to this blog; now I just need to find some clever ways to help me recapture my capital investment. Thus, this post is being filed away under the category of “Ways to Make Money”. As they say, sometimes you have to spend money, to make money. Well, that’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking with it. 🙂

laptop2

The New and the Old

In other news, the weather is terrific out in these parts, so I’m trying my best to take advantage of it. Couple the good weather with the new laptop, and I’ve decided to start blogging more regularly at local cafe’s. Tonight, I’m writing this entry at Suju’s Coffee in Fremont, off of Stevenson Blvd.

SUJU

 

What do you think? Good investment or foolish purchase? If you were shopping for a new laptop, what would you buy right now?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MichelleNo Gravatar June 24, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I really need a new laptop. I have a mac right now and it’s lasted me forever, but occasionally it is extremely slow. It still works though, so it’s hard for me to part with it. I’m in the market for a similar laptop to the one you just bought!

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2 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Michelle,

Great minds think alike 😉 It’s only been a few days, but I’m loving it so far. Then again, after 10 years, anything would feel blazingly fast in comparison.

All the best!

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3 kbNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 4:30 am

$1400 for 10 years isn’t bad.

I work in IT and I know the life cycle of products is very short. Therefore I think a $100 or so a year for a laptop is not bad. Especially since you can easily justify it with your blog income.

Had it been a splurge or purchased for no reason that is when it becomes a negative thing imo.

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4 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Kb,

Yeah, $1400 for 10 years wouldn’t be so bad. I’m hoping this thing can last that long, but we’ll see… Technology changes so fast these days.

This wasn’t a splurge purchase, which in a way helps justify it a bit, I guess. I had slept on the decision for awhile, and I kept going back to deciding I needed a new laptop. With most splurges, I feel like I have enough early FI discipline to let the want pass…

Take care!

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5 JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit.comNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 4:36 am

I finally broke down and bought a laptop for me to blog when I’m away from home. Well blog after work hours. I didn’t look at the MacBooks because I didn’t want to spend anywhere near that amount of money but I’ve heard they’re great computers. Probably should have messed around with them a bit although I’m sure I would have liked it a little too much like you.

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6 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

JC,

Yeah, similar to you, I made the purchase with the blog in mind. Since I spend so much time blogging, I really feel like I need to get something that was a treat to use, so to speak. Hopefully this will keep me blogging for many more years.

The retina is an absolute pleasure to look at! 🙂

cheers!

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7 Curtis@PayOffMyRentalsNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 5:02 am

$1,400 for a super powerful laptop. Still a steal. I think back to when portable computers were just beginning to get noticed. I bought a Kaypro II Set in an aluminum case, it weighed 29 pounds and was equipped with a Zilog Z80 microprocessor, 64 kilobytes of RAM, and two 5¼-inch double-density floppy-disk drives. It ran on Digital Research, Inc.’s CP/M operating system, and sold for about US $1,795 (equivalent to $4,400 in 2014).

I upgraded shortly afterward to the Kaypro 10 which sported a 10 meg hard drive. It was incredible by those day’s standards. That one only set me back about $3,400 (around $9,000 in 2014).

So…I wouldn’t sweat a $1,400 laptop that is infinitely more powerful and light as a feather by comparison. Enjoy the speed!!!!!!

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8 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Curtis,

Haha, yeah, my old laptop feels like it weighs about 29 pounds after getting used to this new model… Crazy to think how I used to lug that thing around school all day up the hills.

Wow, that’s a lot of money to spend on a piece of hardware! I’m digging the speed… but already feel like it could be slightly faster, haha… I guess computers can never be quite fast enough… 😉

All the best!

Reply

9 FI PilgrimNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 5:21 am

I think you made a good decision, especially considering how much you’ll be using that machine. I have a 1-year-old HP Elitebook Folio that I love to use, so I think your argument about using it more is true. Hope you enjoy it for many years to come!

Reply

10 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm

FI Pilgrim,

I agree, I think it’s very important to like the tool you’re using. As bloggers, this is something we require to help us get our content out. So far, I’m really digging the new machine. Kind of makes me want to write even more! 🙂

Cheers!

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11 Retire Before DadNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 5:21 am

FIF,
I think you’re making a good move. A few years ago we bought a Dell Studio for $800 and it’s been slow ever since. We did not invest enough in it to last, now we need something new. Looking into getting a powerful 21.5 inch iMac. We use computers so much, especially now for photography, that we need something that can handle big files and has lots of storage. Getting a powerful iMac should easily last us 5-8 years. I’d rather do that then underspend and need to buy another in 3 years.
-RBD

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12 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm

RBD,

I recently tried out the 27″ iMac, wow that thing looked pretty slick and the real estate on that monitor was insane. I think 21.5″ would be plenty…

I’ve heard that macs are especially good for photo editing. I’m used to using Lightroom, but I may give Aperture a try… Hopefully this machine can last around 5-8 years… I’ll be plenty pleased if it does.

Take care!

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13 Even StevenNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 6:28 am

For me it comes to what matters most to you and I think this qualifies as you will use it for your blog and business. As long as you didn’t go into debt to make the purchase, 3 cheers.

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14 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Even Steven,

Yes, I’m definitely treating this like a business expense. I wouldn’t necessarily say the purchase qualifies as a necessity… but it’s more than an impulse buy, for sure.

No, I will definitely not go into debt for a consumer purchase… Real estate and investments, that’s a different story 🙂

Best wishes!

Reply

15 LeighNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 7:13 am

I couldn’t imagine not having a good computer. That’s just something that’s important to me! I have a line item in my budget for spending $1,500 on a new laptop every 4 years, so that it’s not a surprise when it comes around time to replace it. I actually recently had some issues with my laptop and had a new motherboard put in, so basically I got a new $1,700 laptop for < $300! Pretty sweet. Hopefully that means it'll last another 3 years!

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16 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Leigh,

That does sound like a sweet deal! My old laptop is so old… it still had Windows XP running on it… Since Microsoft decided to stop supporting that OS, I finally rationalized that it was time to move on and upgrade.

I had been using Windows XP since sophomore year of high school (different computer)… about 13 years or so… hard to believe really.

All the best!

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17 BrandonNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 7:57 am

It’s about time for me to buy a new computer as well. I support this decision.

Not like people buying the new iPhone every time it comes out… just because it came out. 🙂

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18 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Brandon,

Haha, no this purchase was definitely not one of those yearly refresh upgrades… It was 10 years in the making 🙂

What computer are you looking at for yourself?

Cheers!

Reply

19 AndrewNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

Hey if you use lap tops for 10 years and you’ll be using it everyday…then no problem paying for a high quality product. I had a Dell Inspiron too and when that one no longer could do the job, I got another Dell.

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20 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Andrew,

Yes, I really do plan on using this thing on a daily basis… Just like my old Dell, I’ll try to run it into the ground before my next upgrade.

This is my first Mac computer, so it’s been pretty exciting so far.

Cheers!

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21 Mr. FrugalwoodsNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

Good purchase! Macs also hold resale value better than other computers. I’ve been able to sell several year old laptops for more than 50% their original cost.

That’s particularly important because eventually (probably less than 10 years) you won’t be able to upgrade the operating system and further and you’ll stop getting security updates. About six months _before_ that point is the time to sell. The used market won’t be flooded and you’ll get a decent price.

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22 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Mr. Frugalwoods,

Yes, that’s exactly what happened with my Windows XP system… no more updates and support.

10 years would be sweet, and probably a stretch goal. 7 years or so would be a success, I think, but we’ll see.

All the best!

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23 MrsFinancialFreedomNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:37 am

Must admit, I love Apple products. The last couple of Apple things I have bought have been refurb ones from the Apple store. I think that the items looked brand new and I couldn’t tell that they had been refurbished and the best thing, there cheaper too!

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24 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:43 pm

MrsFinancialFreedom,

I’m also a pretty big fan of Apple products… haha, I’ll admit it!

I’m digging how fast this new system boots up, how quiet it is, and how overall smooth/sturdy it feels. It’s pricey, for sure, but I think you get what you pay for. Refurbished products can be as good as brand new… I work in high-tech, and sometimes the problem is as simple as swapping out a bad IC… A $0.10 part can stop a system from working!

All the best!

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25 JasonNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 9:08 am

Hi there, FIF

I don’t think I’d worry about it, although I would not have gone for an Apple product. I find they are very proprietary and tend to cost a lot more than a “Brand X” equivalent. Also, in my mind, the software tends to be very opaque, almost as if on purpose, which is very irritating. What is the install doing? Where is it storing things? Why did this program copy that over there? And other things like that. It’s the main reason why I dislike OSX.

I just spent about $1k yesterday on refurbishing my old computer, which I had for probably over 10 years. Again, I tried to delay it, but when the thing no longer runs the newer programs out there, the O/S was no longer supported, and the noise of all the failing parts were driving me crazy, it was time. 🙂

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26 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Jason,

Yeah, Apple products are well known for their closed system approach… I think there are both pros and cons… I know Macs aren’t free from viruses/malware, but I’m loving the improvement compared to your standard PC… Apple products could definitely be more flexible, I agree.

I hear you… my old system was slow, unreliable, buggy, and basically at the end of its useful life so I needed the upgrade. So far, so good! 🙂

All the best!

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27 Kevin DronowskiNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

You don’t have to justify spending a lot of money on a laptop to me. I dropped a good chunk of change on my laptop at the end of last year. I also use it for gaming, so it was important to me not to “regret” cutting corners.

I also believe apple products have a lot more longevity. I have a mac mini and a PC that are about the same age and power, however, the mac mini is still fully usable and the PC is practically useless without upgrading some part here or there. Not to mention that the latest OSX is free, and to update the OS on the PC would cost extra. So even though a mac may cost more upfront, it’s lower maintenance in the long run.

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28 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 26, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Kevin,

I’m hoping you are right about Apple products lasting longer! I’ve had an iPad for a few years, and so far so good… I’m loving how quiet, fast, and responsive the laptop is at this moment. Haha, we’ll see in another 7 years!

I do hope the OSX updates keep coming and the support will be around for many more years. I always hated having to upgrade the OS on a PC…

Cheers!

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29 EvanNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

I never get expensive laptop purchases…

“…’m sure it wouldn’t have been long before I felt the urge to upgrade yet again. ”
– You could have upgraded 5.6 times at $250. Same place buying a new chromebook every 18 months or so inside 10 years.

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30 FI FighterNo Gravatar June 26, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Evan,

True, I could have went the Chromebook route and upgraded more frequently… In the end, I went with the quality and wanted something I would enjoy using every single day… I believe the Chromebook would have worked well, but so far I’m very happy with the MacBook purchase. This wasn’t the frugal thing to do, by any means, but I decided to pay the premium… If it can last 7 years, I believe the purchase will be more than justified.

All the best!

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31 Dave @ The New York BudgetNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Oh man – you have touched on my financial achilles heel. Computers and technology are my anti-FI. I have only had my laptop since 2011 and I am ALREADY feeling the itch. I am definitely planning on holding out for 3 more years, if I can stand it. The computer works PERFECTLY fine – there is no reason I should upgrade and while I have zero desire for fancy cars, a fancy apartment/house, expensive clothes or eating at fancy restaurants every night, I DEFINITELY feel the pull of technology.

Don’t worry, I will resist. And from my perspective, you are doing an AMAZING job having waited this long to get a new one.

I am also a Mac guy, so I feel you there as well.

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32 Zee @ Work To Not WorkNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 10:49 pm

I just got a new computer fairly recently, I went through some similar debate on it but apple was tossed out before I even started. I knew I needed it for work and I needed a PC specifically for my job. But that being said I had a few different strategies that I considered. The first was, what if instead of $1400 now, I spend $450 ever 3 years on a new laptop? With the speed technology changes after 3 years it will be a nice boost. On top of that I won’t be running on something like windows 98 when it’s the year 2010…. Another thing about that strategy is that I know I will drag my feet on buying a new computer so it probably wouldn’t happen every 3 years.

The second buying strategy was the one that I went with, I got a computer that was pretty good, but could easily be upgraded. Right now I have 8 gigs of RAM and I can upgrade that to 16 gigs if I ever need to. With the cost of RAM constantly decreasing and the fact that I don’t think I will need it for another 3 years, I can just buy new RAM after 3 years for maybe $80 or so and then it will feel like a new computer because it will be twice as fast as before. Actually, it will probably only feel like 50-70% faster, but still, you get the point.

Also, I know Suju’s well. I went to high school right next to it (Washington, not American). Strange coincidence.

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33 WillNo Gravatar June 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I think it’s great you went for it! $1400 in the grand scheme of things isn’t much for something you use each day (let alone something you use to make money with). You kept the old Dell forever! You definitely have earned something nicer. And since this is my first post over here, this entire comment is given to you by a really frugal person. I don’t spend much money but some purchases (like your MAC) just make sense.

Happy typing. 🙂

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34 A Frugal Family's JourneyNo Gravatar June 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Nice laptop FI Fighter…but by side by side comparison and seeing the bulkiness of your existing laptop, it appears that you did hold off on the upgrade for awhile.

We purchased a laptop probably 7-8 years ago now and from our experience, and because technology moves way to fast, we have to say that we wouldn’t spend more than $1000 on a laptop, TV, etc. again. To us, it is simply just not worth the price because the same one will likely cost almost half that in about a year. 🙁 Just our opinion. 🙂

Enjoy. Best wishes! AFFJ

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