While most homes need some sort of computer to help you stay in touch and keep informed, the cost of a new system can be a financial burden, especially if you’re already struggling with debt. So is a new computer really worth the cost, and do you actually need the top of the line system the salesman is trying to push on you?
Unfortunately there’s no easy answer, but we will try to point you in the right direction.
Do you need a new computer?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you really need a new computer. While the latest and greatest computer systems are always appealing, if your current computer does everything you need it to do, then maybe it’s not time to replace it, just yet—especially if the cost of a new computer isn’t in your budget.
If your computer is sluggish or otherwise not performing to your expectations, before deciding to replace it, you should run a virus and spyware scan to make sure nothing’s wrong. If something is amiss, a scan could fix it, and save you the cost of replacing your system.
Look at your computer as an investment
So you have weighed all the options, and have decided it’s time to invest in a new computer. You’ve taken the time to consider the cost—and knowing that the average user is likely to be perfectly content with a computer for three to five years, you also understand that this choice is not just an investment for today.
If you use your computer a lot, especially for demanding tasks like video editing or playing games, you’re likely to want to upgrade more often. But if you just use your computer to check email and browse the web, keeping a computer for five years or longer isn’t out of the question.
When you look at the price tag, consider that this is something you’ll be using regularly for years to come—which can make spending a sizable amount of money seem a little less daunting. The more often you use the computer, the more long-term benefit you’re likely to get from spending the money to get a good one.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good computer
While advertisements will try to tempt you into getting the newest, fastest systems; for buyers on a budget, we recommend looking for mid-range systems—that is, computers that are not the fastest on the shelf, but are not the slowest, either.
This means you will not be paying a premium for the newest technology, but in turn, will not be getting something that will feel is outdated as soon as you open the box.
Also, look for factory refurbished products, which offer good as new performance for a percentage off the retail price—always a good buy!
The takeaway: Whatever you buy, be sure it suits your needs. A pricey system that does not do what you want it to do is not worth the investment.
Here are a few recommendations:
- If you need something portable for work or school, you’ll want to look for a laptop that’s light enough to carry around, and has enough battery life to last through the tasks you’ll need it for.
- If you want a computer for entertainment, you might look for an all-in-one (great for dorms or apartments) with a nice screen for watching movies as well as checking your email.
- If you’re looking for a home computer but don’t need the portability, a desktop system will do everything you need, and it will be more economical.
Unfortunately, because prices fluctuate we cannot give you an exact price range to spend, so be sure to do your homework to see what’s out there before you buy.
Ready to buy, but need a lending solution that will work within your budget?
PenFed offers a quality selection of lending programs that will fit most any budget. From credit cards, to our Equity Line of Credit (ELOC), to our Personal Loans, we have a financial lending solution that works for you.