We’ve all been there. One day you wake up and realize that the time has come for a new laptop to replace that aging beast sitting on your desk. Maybe your old one has gotten too slow or maybe you have decided that you want a little something different. Maybe that old one is just too heavy and you want to pick something up that is a little more mobile. Whatever the reason, shopping for a laptop can be a difficult process.
Now while I certainly recommend that you take a look at our budget laptop guides, you will most likely need just a little more help when choosing your laptop. Most people start shopping for laptops and get dazzled by all the new doodads that are available on the new machines. Of course, the more doodads you buy the more the laptop will cost.
But, not everyone has the budget for one of these ultra-expensive laptops on the market. Most of us are operating on a budget of some sort when we shop and we want to save as much money as possible while still getting a great laptop that will meet our needs. The trick is choosing a laptop that has everything you need while at the same time leaving out the parts that you won’t use. Now while this is virtually impossible to do, you can often come very close and find a laptop that fulfills your needs without spending more than you really have to.
First, let’s take a look at 5 ways you can save our money for your laptop and maybe get a little knocked off the price of your next laptop, then we will take a look at 5 different things you can leave off your next laptop when making your final choice.
Saving Money for Your Laptop
Let’s take a look at ways you can reduce the cost of your laptop and save a little money for your laptop before you are ready to buy.
1. Form a plan
Like anything in life, saving money for your laptop will require a plan. If you hope to save a little money for your laptop and not go over budget, you need to start planning today for a laptop you want say 6 months from now. Decide how much you would like to save toward your budget and begin putting away a little bit each week. Consider trying a savings account instead of hanging onto cash so you won’t be as tempted to spend the money if something else comes up. For example, let’s say you save $50 a week for 6 months. After 6 months, you would have $1,300 saved up. This amount of money will get you a pretty darn good laptop when you are ready.
2. Set a Budget
Set a total budget for your laptop and stick to it when you are shopping. If you find one with a doodad you are convinced you need, consider altering your budget only slightly. But if you find something that is far above your budget, then forget it and keep looking. Knowing how much you have to work with before you shopping can make it much easier to find what you are looking for. Browse LaptopNinja to find a laptop that fits in your budget by using our lists of the best laptops in various price ranges. This will help you narrow down your options and figure out what extras you can and can’t afford based on your budget.
3. Sell Your Old Laptop
One easy way to get a little money is by selling your old laptop. Now, how old your laptop is and what kind of shape it is in will really determine how much you can get for it on the market. No matter what, selling your old laptop is one of the easiest ways to get at least a little bit of money toward your new laptop so you don’t have to fork over everything out of pocket. If you can’t sell it until after you get a new one, just use the sale as a way of paying yourself back so you get back a little bit of the money you paid for the new one.
4. Check Trade In Programs
If your laptop isn’t in good enough shape to be sold as a used PC, then you may want to consider some of the many trade-in programs available on the market. These are usually offered by major PC sellers and the trade in is often conducted as part of the sale of a new laptop. In this scenario, you bring in your old laptop and the merchant will move your files over to the new laptop you just purchased while also giving you a discount on the new laptop. They then take your laptop and either repurpose it or recycle it so you don’t have to worry about disposing of it.
5. Borrow Money
While I don’t recommend borrowing too much money over the course of your life, desperate times do call for desperate measures. In today’s world it is hard to go without a computer. So, if you have the credit and can’t save the extra money ahead of time, consider borrowing the money and paying it back over time. Many major retailers offer some type of credit system that you can use or you could simply put it on your credit card and pay it back over time. If you do go with this method, I recommend trying to set a goal for paying back. That way you aren’t paying for it for the next five years.
Laptop Hardware You Can Forget to Save Money
Now that we are working on saving money for our new laptop, let’s look at 5 pieces of laptop hardware that are nice but that you can probably live without if you are truly trying to save money.
6. Optical Drive
The optical drive, otherwise known as the CD or DVD drive, is a technology that is on its way out. In today’s world with cloud storage and small USB flash drives that are very cheap a DVD is simply out dated as a storage media. Still, some users do need them even today. However most people can live without them pretty easily. Laptops that include an optical drive usually cost more compared to the same versions that don’t include them as part of the build. If you are looking to save money and don’t really use CDs or DVDs very much, then buying a computer without an optical drive could be a good way for you to save a little money.
7. Graphics Card
Gaming and video editing used to be the domain of the desktop, but with today’s much more powerful laptops, it can all easily be done with one smaller more portable device. Because of this, many laptops today come with dedicated video cards to handle the intense video requirements from video games and video editing. But, the average user doesn’t really need this. Instead, you can opt for onboard video that shares your RAM with your video memory. You would be amazing at how much you can save by simply leaving out this one piece of technology. So, unless you plan on doing a lot of gaming or video editing, you simply don’t need a dedicated graphics card on your laptop. So why not save that money since you won’t really be using it anyway.
8. Intel i7 Processor
It seems one thing almost always look for in a new laptop is more power, and today you can get it. Assuming, of course, that you are willing to pay for it. Intel offers the i5 and i7 processors for laptops today which are some of the most powerful processors on the market. But they do come with a much steeper cost. Most people, however, really don’t need the power offered by these high end processors as they simply don’t do anything on their laptops that really push the processor at all. Unless you do a lot of audio and video editing, gaming or even complex math functions in Excel, you really don’t need one of these high end processors. Consider instead an i3 or even an AMD processor to shave off a little on the price of your new laptop.
9. Backlit Keyboard
Backlit keyboards are all the rage these days and it is understandable. They make it really easy to see your keyboard in all types of lighting. Want to work in the dark? No problem. Today you can even find laptop keyboards that allow you to customize the color of your laptop keyboard. Pretty neat, ain’t it? But do you really need it? The answer is, not really. Unless you work somewhere that has you in the dark on a regular basis, chances are you probably don’t need it. I’m sure you already know how to type so how much are you really looking at your keyboard anyway? You should also know that those backlights use more battery power too, so if you are on the road with your laptop you could find that neat keyboard will actually reduce the amount of time you can use your laptop.
10. Laptop Locks
We should all be aware of laptop theft, but do you really need an entire lock embedded into your case in order to prevent theft? Maybe you do. But if you really want to save money, you don’t. If you travel a lot with your laptop and leave it alone setup in strange places for extended periods of time then I would say yes you do need one. Even if you don’t do this but you work on highly sensitive data you may want one. But if you are just a normal, every day user or even a more high end gamer, chances are your need for a laptop lock is very minimal. These locks are nice if you need added security, but they do add a lot of the price of a laptop. If you want to save money, lose the lock and just try and take extra special care of your laptop so it doesn’t get lost or stolen.
Saving money for a new laptop and finding ways to cut down the cost of that new laptop isn’t as hard as you think. While it may take a little dedication on your part, in just a few short months you could easily put away at least some of what you need for a new laptop and maybe even all of it. Once you are ready, remember you can cut down the cost of your laptop simply by sacrificing some of the bells and whistles you will find on many of the laptops. Once you do that, you will find that your laptop becomes much more affordable giving you the freedom to further customize the specs that you do need so you get the perfect laptop for your needs that will last you for at least the next few years.