First, let me start off by saying I am not a tech wiz of any sort. In fact, technology pretty much hates me. So when the laptop I have owned for the last 11 years broke down on me last week, I kinda had a freak out moment.
Not only was worried about the cost of a new computer but I had absolutely no idea what computer to buy. I didn’t know if I wanted to buy a desktop or laptop, which brand to buy, or even what I really needed in a computer.
Luckily, my husband is best friends with a computer genius and he was able to help me out, free of charge. He was able to talk to me about the differences between owning a laptop and a desktop, the benefits to both and ultimately I was able to make my first decision from there.
Laptop VS Desktop
Before deciding on what computer to get, I made a list of everything that I wanted in a computer. Here are a few things I knew I wanted that my old laptop lacked:
- Fast speed
- Amazing graphics, HD preferred (something that would be fantastic working with photography)
- Great Sound
- Recording capability
- Tons of storage/memory
There were a few other things I wanted, but they were not deal breakers. The option of having two monitors to make things easier for blogging was something I always wanted and I really wanted to make sure that the computer I chose was fast enough to run big programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Gimp. I wanted to be able to run all of these programs at the same time without it slowing down my computer.
My Decision Process
I loved my HP laptop. That’s probably why I had it for nearly 11 years. That beautiful thing got me through all four years of college, allowed me to set up and launch The Budget Mom in February, and helped me with numerous other tasks.
I love the benefit of working from anywhere. As the owner of a blog, the option to work away from home or if I am traveling was very appealing. However, I really don’t travel all that often and I realized that 99.9% of my blogging happens right here at home. So, having something portable really wasn’t that important for me. If I am on vacation, I am not on vacation to blog, I am there to spend time with family and unplug for a while.
- Related: My Worst Money Mistakes
Laptops are a little more restrictive. If you want higher speed, better graphics, and more storage you will be paying a pretty hefty price. Laptops just can’t compete with desktops when it comes to some of these features. You definitely will get more bang for your buck with a desktop and they also have a way better price-to-performance ratio.
If you look at my list from above, there was just no competing with a desktop. I was able to get the best quality and the best performance for my money.
A Custom Made Computer
Thanks to Josh (my husband’s best friend) I was able to have a desktop computer actually built specifically for me and everything I wanted. Like I said before, Josh is a computer genius and actually knows how to build them. It’s true that you can get a better computer for the price if you go to the store and buy an already made desktop, but you can really cut the price down if you make it yourself.
The computer I was looking at buying was the HP Envy which sells at Costco for $2,349.99 (with a $450 mail-in rebate). I built my computer for a total of $733 ($1,000 for everything), which saved me over $1,300. Since I was in the market for a computer that was really focused on my needs, building one was a lot cheaper and I could really customize it to make it perfect for me.
It is true that if you are looking at getting a basic desktop computer, buying one would probably be cheaper. They come with a mouse, keyboard, and in some cases a monitor. Here is what I got for my entire $1,000 custom computer:
- Main components of the computer ($733)
- Blue Snowball microphone
- Logitech HD camera
- Satechi speakers
- Epson EcoTank color printer (& extra ink)
- Wireless mouse & keyboard
- Two HD LED Widescreen AOC monitors
Since I was able to save on the actual computer itself, I was able to get some other things I have been wanting for the blog. Here are some ways I was able to save.
Josh was able to save me a ton of money by buying all of the main components of my computer through a website called PCPartPicker.com. This website is for people who want to build their own computers but need a little help. They have some awesome build guides with step by step instructions and community forums if you have questions.
Worried about buying the wrong parts? You don’t have to worry about that with their automatic compatibility guidance that will alert you if you try buying something that is incompatible with other components in your shopping cart. This is an amazing website that has three great saving features.
After you create your virtual part list, PCPartPicker will automatically search for the lowest price for each part and where to buy it. You simply click on the link and you are redirected to the website to purchase the part. This is fantastic because it assures that you are getting the best deal from the best online retailers. They also offer price history charts for both parts and your part lists so you can see the price trend on each part category.
If you are working with a strict budget, you can get alerts that will allow you to set price thresholds for specific parts. You then get notified via email when a retailer offers a price lower than your set amount. If you don’t want to track each specific part, you can set up parametric price alerts based on customizable filters that you set that will send you an alert via email when an entire product category is below your set amount. You just sit back and wait until something is within your budget.
This was my favorite feature with PCPartPicker.com. After your virtual part list is created it tells you if there is a mail-in-rebate for that specific part. I was able to get $80 in mail-in-rebates from my list alone! Not only did I save $80, I was also able to get $50 off two meals at HelloFresh.com. (Kind of random, but awesome!)
Outside of the main components for my new computer, I was able to save some money by using Amazon Prime Day. I bought my microphone and HD Camera for a total of $75.
So, here I am, blogging from my new custom built computer and I have no regrets. I am very fortunate that a family friend was able to help and had the knowledge to make this happen. I definitely could not have built this thing on my own!
I look forward to using all of my new tech toys to create webinars and FREE finance training via The Budget Mom. Stay tuned for those!
If you were in the market to buy a new computer, would you think about building your own to save money?
Have you bought a new computer recently?