As a frugal person, I try not to spend money on something I don’t need.
That also means I want to make the most out of everything that I have, including my aging laptop.
I bought my Toshiba laptop back in May 2012. I can’t remember its exact price. I’m guessing it was in the $450-$600 range.
I just wanted to have a small functional laptop that I could carry places and use for writing, researching, and entertainment.
The average life span of a laptop is 4 years. I’ve used mine for 5 years.
It’s very tempting to think about all the shiny new models out there that run so much faster and look much better than my 5-year old computer.
But I just can’t part with it.
The laptop has served me well all those years. I’ve never had to bring it to a technician. However, as it’s aging, it’s also developed some quirks and issues.
1) The speed has become really slow.
It takes my computer 5 minutes to start. Once it’s up and running, I need to wait for it to go completely into into sleep mode (all lights out) and press the power button for it to come back on and wait for another 5 minutes.
If I didn’t do that, I’d had a really hard time typing since the letters would be missing all over the place. In other words, I’d need to type really slowly letter by letter, otherwise the computer wouldn’t be able to catch up with my typing.
This waiting process takes about 15 minutes. If I’m too impatient or if I accidentally touch the computer, it will wake up from the sleep mode. Then I’d have to wait for another 10 minutes to use it. It’s been going on like this for 2 years.
I usually just turn the laptop on, leave it there to go do something else (i.e. preparing food, taking a shower), and then come back to use it. When the wait is over, the laptop works completely fine and is not a time sink for me.
If one day the speed becomes too slow when I’m actually using the laptop, however, then I know it’s time for me to move on to a new one. I will not let frugality get in the way of my productivity.
Purple paper clips holding the falling apart screen
2) The screen is falling apart.
Four months ago (Feb 2017), the screen started to break and wouldn’t stand up straight. I have to prop the screen against something (i.e. a bookend) for it to hold up. I also have to use two paper clippers to keep the frame and the glass screen together to prevent it from falling apart.
It is cumbersome to move the laptop from one place to another since the screen is always ready to break despite the paper clips holding it together. Sometimes the paper clips would slip off the screen and fly all over the place.
3) The battery is dying.
When I first bought the laptop, the battery could run for about 4-5 hours. After two years, it died. I bought a new one for $25 so that I won’t have to bother carrying the power cord from my living room to the kitchen.
The second battery is now dying again and can last for only 30 minutes. Though tempted, I refuse to spend another $25 on a new battery. I’m trying to make the laptop live as long as it can.
But it could easily say good-bye to me next week or next month. I don’t want to invest in something I’m not sure will last for long.
Frugal until the end
Seeing how miserable the Toshiba looks, Mr. FAF has suggested I buy a new laptop for the past year, but I just brush it aside.
Other than the issues mentioned above, my computer is still functional and serves all the purposes that I need. Some people can’t even afford a laptop. I’m lucky enough to have one, so I need to look on the bright side and make the most out of it.
I can no longer carry my Toshiba around because the screen won’t hold up. But it’s still better than throwing the whole computer away and investing $500 or more on a new one. We can put that money towards our mortgage instead.
Computers are depreciating assets and thus not a good investment. Once they come off the shelf, the value will go down drastically.
For laptops with an effective life of 3 years, the depreciation rate is 66.67% per year. It means that after one year of use, a laptop is worth only 33.33% of the original price. Ouch!
I plan to use my Toshiba laptop until it dies on me. Until then, this frugal girl will not take the initiative in parting with it.