My Angry Purchase – A $1,000 Samsung Laptop

It was almost midnight, and I was trying to upload the images of my new post onto Instagram and Pinterest using my 5-year-old Toshiba.

Whenever I opened a browser, I would need to wait for at least 1-2 minute for the page to load.

I got increasingly frustrated thinking how much work I could have gotten done with all of those wasted minutes (turned hours) of waiting for the aging computer to do its job.

Facebook in particular had gotten painfully slow, taking around 3-4 minutes to load all the text and images. “There has to be a problem with the Facebook company,” I thought to myself.

My Toshiba laptop started having various issues two years after I bought it. It ranges from a 15-minute startup process to a broken screen held together by purple binder clips.

I thought the computer looked just fine, at least it served all the functions that I needed (i.e. surfing on the internet, typing papers).

Even when I first bought it, some people asked me if I had had the laptop for a couple of years. “It’s only one month old. It can’t be that bad. It looks like new to me,” I tried to defend my new computer.

I guess that’s what I got for a $500 machine: simple, basic, and not very attractive. But I didn’t mind.

The urge to buy a new laptop

Over the past 3 years, Mr. FAF has been urging me to buy a new laptop. Since I am a very frugal person and my computer was still functional, I just brushed that thought aside.

I even wrote a post about why I didn’t want to part with my Toshiba. I felt pretty proud of that decision until I got the feedback from some readers that being too frugal in this case might be undermining my productivity and costing me money in the long run.

I started to have second thoughts about sticking with a painfully slow machine. When Mr. FAF and I went to Walmart or Target for a walk, I’d look at the $200-300 computers and told him that I’d get one of those one day.

In my mind, I didn’t need a fancy-looking Macbook or Samsung. I just needed something inexpensive and functional that could serve my typing and Internet surfing needs, or so I thought until one day.

The hesitation

I had spent roughly 20 minutes on Pinterest clicking on almost 100 images to schedule on Tailwind at 11:30 PM. That was the last task on my list that I wanted to do that day before going to bed.

I clicked Schedule and started hearing the vent fan of my Toshiba roaring angrily in the quiet night. And then the computer crashed.

I just couldn’t believe what just happened. I stared at the black screen for a couple of seconds, waiting for my scheduled Pinterest images to appear again. They never did.

I guess my Toshiba couldn’t handle scheduling so many Pinterest images at the same time. Fortunately, it didn’t die completely. I turned it on again and waited for 15 minutes for it to start. I was determined to finish my last blogging task that day.

After the task was finished, I ran to Mr. FAF’s office to vent and insisted I should get a new laptop as soon as possible. I had actually had that conversation with Mr. FAF multiple times before.

On the one hand, I would love a new shiny computer that could run fast like lightening. I wouldn’t have to turn on my Toshiba, wait for 15 minutes for it to start, and then freeze in fear that I’d lose all of my information every time the screen collapses.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to part with at least half a thousand dollars that was happily sitting in my bank account for a rainy day. I tried to make myself happy about the fact that I had a computer to use while many don’t even have one.

I also thought about how other bloggers/readers mentioned that had had their machines for almost 10 years. I wanted to hit that milestone as well.

 

My 5-year-old Toshiba

The decision

The hesitation could last only so long. I have to thank Mr. FAF for dispelling my reluctance with his love for eating out.

It was a Saturday afternoon. Mr. FAF had gone out with his friend for lunch. I asked him how much it cost him. As an honest husband, he showed me a receipt for $42 for a dimsum (Hong Kong-style brunch). He had also paid for his friend that day.

I suddenly felt my blood rushing though my body and to my brain. First, the restaurant was expensive.

Second, I had been wanting to go to a dimsum but didn’t want to spend the money. My mother-in-law, Baby FAF, and I ate leftovers from the night before that day, and I even get a bout of abdominal cramps from the old food.

Lastly, I felt like I was the only one trying to save money for the family. I was livid.

All the memories of grappling with the aging laptop came flooding back. All the frustration, fear, and anger joined forces to crush my hesitation. “I am buying a new laptop. Let’s go!”, I told Mr. FAF.

What ensued was a 2.5 hour trip to Best Buy, Target, and Micro Center to check out the new laptop models. Mr. FAF was pretty certain that I wouldn’t want to spend $1,000 on a new Macbook although I insisted that’s what I wanted to get.

I think he was secretly hoping that I’d get a $300 laptop to save money. However, the salesman at Micro Center told us it wasn’t a good idea since those cheap computers are slow and won’t last long. “You get what you pay for,” he said.

I had three criteria for my new laptop:

1. Under $1,000

My main purpose of having a laptop is to blog, check email, and watch YouTube every once in a while. If I had to make videos or perform more advanced tasks, I would look into a more expensive model. However, a laptop less than $1,000 will suffice for now.

2. Small and light

The new computer needs to be small and light enough (i.e. a 13 or 14 inch screen) for me to put in my purse or carry around at home .

I don’t travel a lot and usually prefer working at home than at a cafe or the library. However, we visit our family in Asia about once every two years, and I just want to make sure my new laptop is good for long trips.

3. Have a high quality camera

I have been thinking about making YouTube videos. While I can buy a separate camera, laziness gets the better of me. I just want all in one package. Also, it just makes me happier when I see a better-looking version of myself on the webcam.

In fact, the camera was the very first thing I checked when shopping for a new laptop (proof that I’m not tech-savvy). Mr. FAF insisted that we looked the same on all the cameras, but I didn’t think so.

The winner

After hours of soul-searching, I decided on the winner of the contest: a $899 lightweight 13-inch Sumsung ($935.99 after tax). It meets all of my requirements. It is less than $1,000, super light, and has a great camera.

 

Mr. FAF played a key role in encouraging me to splurge a little on a more expensive laptop to make it run better and last longer. I was thinking about getting another $500-600 computer instead.

After using the new laptop for an hour, I can notice significant changes to my productivity and life quality.

1. No more 15-minute wait

I no longer have to start my computer, go do something else while waiting for it to go into sleep mode, and then turn it on again in order to type on the keyboard.

If I didn’t do that, the words that I typed would be missing letters. Now I can just hit the Power button and wait for less than one minute to use my computer.

2. Faster speed

I no longer have wait for 2-3 minutes for WordPress, Facebook, or Tailwind to load and to listen to the computer vent fan running like crazy in the background. It now takes me seconds to open those websites.

3. Prettier images

With the high definition of the screen, everything I see on my computer – from the interface of my blog to the photos in my folder — looks like they just had a facelift.

4. Easy to carry around

The screen of my old laptop was falling apart and had to be held together with binder clips. Sometimes the binder clips got loose and flew all over the place.

Sometimes the screen just decided to collapse for no reason. I had to be very careful in carrying my old Toshiba from our bedroom to the kitchen to do some work while watching Baby FAF on the weekends.

With the new Samsung, carrying a new laptop now is like carrying a small notebook: easy and trouble-free. I feel like one of my biggest worries in life – having the old Toshiba dying on me all of a sudden – no longer exists. I feel freer and happier as a blogger, a wife, a wife, and a laptop owner.

5. No more resentment towards Mr. FAF

Remember the $300 mistake Mr. FAF made with his Mackbook when he spilled water on it? I was angry and upset at him for days thinking that I could almost have bought a new computer with that money. I had to deal with an aging computer while he could just make a random mistake and just paid $300 to have it fixed.

I no longer feel that resentment knowing that I have gotten the nice laptop that I want. Sometimes I just need to treat myself better to love my husband more and be a more understanding wife.

Conclusion

Now that I have parted with my Toshiba, my only regret is that I didn’t get a new laptop sooner. It would have increased my productivity, saved me so much time, and most importantly, prevented any financial resentment I might have towards Mr. FAF.

He was the one who kept pushing me to get a more efficient computer. But I kept objecting to his idea and then blamed him for not saving money for me to buy a new computer.

It was such a vicious cycle of hesitation, anger, frustration, and blame that I inflicted on myself under the guise of frugality.

I thought I was trying to save money for myself and my family. But in an effort to do so, I caused damage to my productivity and marriage.

Sometimes it’s just worth it to spend the money to make our lives easier and our family happier. And for me, the time came two weeks ago when I finally got my new laptop.

 

Related:

Why I Hold On To My Broken Laptop 

3 Frugal Wins & 2 Frugal Fails – Aug 23

The Costs of Marital Conflict

4 Reasons Why We Are Frugal

 

Join Us For The Latest Update!

 

 



28 thoughts on “My Angry Purchase – A $1,000 Samsung Laptop”

  • Ohhhh that’s a pretty laptop! I think they terms this anger purchase. It’s one reason couples have their own finances/blow money.

    A good quality laptop is definitely more savvy. You’re working on your computer all the time, I know it’s for little things like this and that but you use it everyday. I would have splurged sooner.

    Jared built his own desktop that I use and he uses his work laptop sometimes. Our two old laptops are useless. I tried to sell them and no one even wanted them lol.

    I’m the spender on food but omggg $400 on dim sum?! Where was it!? I wanna food stalk you!!! Yelp me 😀

    • Oops typo haha. It was $42. Numbers can be dangerous! 😀 It’s amazing Jared can build his own desktop. I need to tell Mr. FAF that since he’s been wanting to buy a new desktop. 😀

  • I am a pretty frugal minded person too and I don’t usually like to buy new things to improve my productivity. My thoughts usually goes like this, “if it’s not broken, why do I need a new one?”

    My laptop is about seven years old and it’s on it’s last legs, I got a new one recently as my colleague bought a laptop that he didn’t want to use and he sold it to me for les than 50% of what he paid for. It’s less than a year old and I couldn’t passed on the bargaining to get a new laptop for $300.

    After I got the new laptop, I noticed facebook and twitter loads significantly faster now. Sometimes you just have to put the frugal mindset aside and spend on the right things.

  • “Sometimes I just need to treat myself better to love my husband more and be a more understanding wife”
    Yes yes yes!! It’s hard when you’re frugal to do this, but self care is such an important part of being happy. I can always tell when I haven’t taken any or enough time for myself, bc I end up fighting with my husband and yelling at my kids. Obviously I’m not saying blow money on all things to be happy. But taking care of you, that’s really important!! It’s the only way you can be the best wife and mom you want and need to be.

    • YEP this really resonated with me too! I’m not a spender while he is and so it’s hard for me to sometimes balance that out.

      We are down to 1 laptop as my ancient one (which I basically only used for blogging stuff and occasionally watching shows) finally died.

      We are upgrading our crappy Toshiba work laptops soon … apparently we’ll be able to purchase them for $50 and although they’re shite, I’m tempted to take that deal up. If I could get a year or two more of blogging use etc out of mine, that would be worth it!

  • I feel ya here. 3 months ago I had a 5-year-old iPad and a 9-year-old MacBook. I finally decided to get rid of both of them and upgrade. I ended up selling them for $500 total (NOT TOO BAD!!!) and purchased a refurbished MS Surface Pro 4 for $900 which included the case cover and a mouse. Not too bad considering I only paid $400 out of pocket.

    Sometimes being frugal can be at the detriment of productivity, but I was pretty happy with my decision in the end.

  • Your new laptop looks awesome!

    I was so frugal when I went to get a new laptop. I ended up with a chromebook because we still had a desktop computer that worked perfectly fine if I needed to download real programs. While there are some days that it is a little annoying to switch between the two computers, it was nice only spending $150 for something that can do 95% of what I wanted.

    On a side note, I had dimsum for the first time last month and it was amazing. Hopefully Mr. FAF will treat you soon! 🙂

  • Congrats on the new laptop! Holding on to that Toshiba for so long was a great effort but I could feel your frustration just reading your post hehe. I had an asus for abt 5 years before it failed and I bought a MacBook. Refurbished. I upgraded the HD and ram myself and donated the spares to my gf at the time, which gave her another 4 years with her MacBook. Computers can be such temperamental things!

  • I’m glad that you finally got a new laptop! When laptops get old, I’m always afraid they’ll crazy, the hard drive will become corrupted, etc. Hopefully this computer will last at least 5 years. My last “expensive” laptop lasted a full 7, and I’m hoping my new fancy one will last at least that long as well.

    Enjoy your fast computer!

  • Oooo, look-it the pretty laptop. It’s so pretty :’)

    The sales guy is right – you get what you pay for, up to a certain point. And if you buy something that’s got a bit of quality to it, you should be holding onto it a lot longer than that Toshiba. My MacBook was about 10 years old when I decided to go for the lighter version (carrying that thing to work and back BROKE my back) but it’s still going strong. There’s a certain point where it’s worth it, and I think it’s definitely worth it for you!

  • New laptop is so pretty! You could probably expense this new lap top right? I’m not sure how it works in the states but for Canadian taxes if you are starting a business you can expense that. I am an apple fan and they last long for me, but not 10 years! I think my last MacBook lasted 7 years before it started making that ‘whirring’ sound and looked like it was going to crash any minute. I was able to sell it for $300 since it hadn’t crashed yet! 🙂

  • I’m sure it’s such a relief to not have to go through that 15 minute powering up process anymore! I bought a Chromebook about a year ago because I needed a laptop and it was a cheap option. It’s been a dud for me and I wish I would have purchased something higher quality. I’m trying to ride it out as long as I can, but I may be writing a similar post soon!

  • You asked on Twitter which laptop you should buy and I’ll answer here as well. You are correct that you get what you pay for. The Toshiba will probably be much better than your $500 laptop but my pick would have been a MacBook (and I was traditionally a Windows guy). The MacBook may seem overpriced but the performance is always better than comparable machines. Also the build quality is second to none. Apple stands by their products if anything goes wrong. Finally as someone mentioned above, you are able to sell a MacBook for significant money years after you buy it. The Toshiba will not be worth much in a couple years. I hope you like your new computer, but sometimes you have to spend money on quality.

  • It’s a tough balance between trying to be frugal but buy quality. I’ve started to focus more on value instead of the pure number. In that case, it sometimes makes to pay a little more for something like a computer. I actually have somewhat of a similar post coming up in the near future. I’ll mention you in it 🙂

  • Congrats to your new 13 in Samsung. Been a Windows user for many years until I switch to a MacBook 2 years ago. It’s a 13 inch MacBook Air. I opted for the light and thinner Air due to my frequent travels. I was able to save at least $200 when I bought it. How did I do that? I bought the previous year’s model.

  • Yay Ms. FAF! So happy you got a new laptop finally!! I love the new laptop feeling when everything is just running SO smooth and everything is completely effortless 🙂 It’s true having something that just works when you need it is worth the price tag.

  • I’ve bought half a dozen laptops in the past 15 years, half for work, and spent several years working on a MacBook (for work). I know everyone who has them is a huge proponent of them but I’ve come to learn that given the choice, I’ll spend $1000 on the PC that works best for me day to day, even if I can’t get 7-10 years out of it like the MacBook would supposedly give me. The daily work flow is just too important to be frustrated every day. Likewise, depriving ourselves of one or two good quality products that smooth our daily lives is a common but probably foolish decision to keep ourselves unhappy for a greater cause. I think it’s best to make sure that we have the money to fix the broken or as good as broken things in our lives and not dwell on it. Like PiC’s phone I’m going to have to replace, possibly sometime this year! I’m not going to like spending the money but toughing it out is not always the most virtuous answer.

  • Yayyy…you got a new laptop!! I figured that when you posted about your old laptop about a couple months ago you would soon get a new one. Just too many setbacks with the old laptop especially being really slow to start.
    Enjoy this new laptop Ms. FAF!! Make it last for 15 years…OK maybe that is too optimistic!!! =)

  • Ms. FAF,

    Congratulations! 🙂

    Feel good about your purchase! Your computer is very important to you AND you’ve exceeded the capacity of your old computer. There’s no shame in having used a computer ONLY five years, lol!

    I would think the time saved alone is worth significantly more than the cost of the Samsung. You made a wise choice and improved your frugal GPA in my book. Remember, a 4.0 GPA in frugality means you’re cheap. 🙂

  • Nice choice on the new laptop and good price as well. I too am in the market for a new laptop, but planning on waiting closer towards the end of the year where I can get something of high quality on sale.

    I have been fortunate enough to be able to you use my work computer in the meantime. Shhh, don’t tell the boss lol…

    • OMG those Black Friday sales! Maybe I should have waited for 2 more months ahhh. Anyway, I won’t tell anyone about your work computer 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *