Death Of A Laptop And Finding Money In The Budget

Saturday, as I sat down to check my email, the screen on my laptop began to flicker.  Eventually, the entire screen turned a ghostly white and I could barely make out what was on the screen.  Quickly, I hooked my laptop up to an external monitor.  I plugged an external hard drive into one of the USB ports, and began the process of backing up all of the data on the laptop.

As I type this, the laptop is still functioning, but its screen is almost useless.  I can see just enough to enable the use of the external monitor, but that is about all.  So, I have ordered a brand new laptop, something I have been meaning to do for a few months.

I purchased my old laptop a few years ago.  It is a Toshiba and when I purchased it, I paid very little for it, because it was a refurbished model.  It served its purpose and I’m actually surprised that it lasted as long as it did.  I use it everyday as do my wife and kids.  But, with a dying screen, its not really useful as a “laptop” anymore.  So, I’ll probably just put it in my daughter’s room, attach it to the external monitor, close its lid, plug in a keyboard and a mouse, and let her use it as a “desktop” until it finally bites the old bullet.

I don’t have a budget category labeled ‘New Laptop’, but I do have one labeled ‘Furniture And Appliances’.  This category is for designated funds, to be used when I purchase a new piece of furniture or an appliance.  Instead of dipping into my emergency fund, I simply chose to use money in the ‘Furniture And Appliances’ category to purchase the new laptop.

As a side note:  The money in the ‘Furniture And Applicances’ category is actually in the same ING Direct Account as my Emergency Fund.  But, on paper, (actually on spread sheet via the You Need A Budget budgeting software), the money is in two different ‘places’.

I purchased an IdeaPad Y510.  It should work well as a general-purpose laptop.  Plus, it has a nicer-than-most sound system, for when I want to watch a DVD or listen to my favorite Podcast.

13 thoughts on “Death Of A Laptop And Finding Money In The Budget

  1. It sounds like the screen in your laptop has blown it’s backlight. This is fixable if you’re interested in doing so. It will most likely work for a long while in your daughters room with a seperate screen attached to it. I managed a retail comptuer store for a few years and saw this type of thing regularly.

  2. Do you feel you old laptop is unfixable? I would check it out with someone in the business and find out what it would cost to repair.

  3. I sub-divided my ING accounts and have a “Computer” account. This account also handles the software upgrades, external hard drive, and video games (I’ll be getting a Wii soon).

    Of course, I should also have a furniture account, since my couch clearly has seen better days…

  4. Oh what a coincidence…I’m shopping around for a laptop for my sister who’s leaving for college after this summer and I was eyeing the Ideapad too!

    How did you configure yours? If you have the time, please describe your experiences a little with the new laptop. Thanks!

  5. This is off topic, but when you were talking about the budget I was thinking “I wonder if he uses You Need A Budget (YNAB)”. Sure enough!! YNAB has been a lifesaver already for our family.

    Back on topic — my laptop has been flashing a message that our batter needs replaced. It always has to be plugged in to function (makes it much less of a laptop and more of mobile desktop :)). Hope your purchase works out well for you!


  6. to me lenovo laptops have always been unreliable, the more you spend for a laptop, the better result you will have. I use toughbooks at work. Amazing performacne and durability, but a little expensive for a home user

  7. I often find that I do well with Craigslist. You still have to have a budget, but you can stretch it a lot farther. Though your refurbished method is also pretty good.

  8. Same thing happened to my Dell about a year ago. I’ve been using it hooked into my old 15″ LCD for the past year, and I bought this thing 4 yrs ago. I think I’m more frugal than you are =)

  9. @Mike..
    I def would have continued to use the old one, but it’s on the kitchen table! The baby is sleeping in the converted living room, which used to be my ‘office’! So, I could either buy a new laptop – or watch my wife throw my computer into the street so that we could eat supper! 🙂

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