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How to Determine What You Should Spend on a Laptop

Ever wondered what you should spend on a laptop? Let’s take a look at how you can determine the cost of your next laptop.

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What You Should Spend on a Laptop

We spend a lot of time here at LaptopNinja covering specs and features of many different laptops ranging a ton of different budgets, from cheap picks all the way through to the best of the best.  We do that for one reason, to give you as much information as we can so you can make the right decision when purchasing a laptop.  However, while we also give you prices of these laptops, we don’t spend a lot of time discussing how you should determine a price range for your next laptop.  Whether we like it or not, price is often one of the main factors in determining what we buy.

Often we are forced to make choices based on what we can afford.  While we all wish that money was no object, for most of us it really is.  That’s okay, it is part of life.  We all must decide how much we can or can’t spend on just about anything out there.

Unfortunately, many people simply have no idea what they should be spending on a laptop.  Not everyone is a technology expert, and this lack of knowledge often leads them to spend more than they actually need to spend or they spend way less and end up with a laptop that simply won’t satisfy their needs.

That is why today, at least, I wanted to spend a little time talking about how much you should spend on your next laptop and show you how you can determine what you can expect from the purchase of your next laptop.  My hope is that by reading this article, you will begin to understand some of the ins and outs of what you need to be looking for in a laptop while also showing you at least a little bit about how you can determine what you can afford based on your own finances.

Determine Your Needs

First, you need to take a look at how you use your laptop currently.  What annoys you about that laptop and what doesn’t it do that you really need.  This is the point in time when you determine exactly how you plan on using it.  Do you want to play games with great graphics?  You will need a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.  Do you just want something to surf the Internet and check Facebook?  An affordable Chromebook may get the job done for you.

Be honest with yourself and how you use your laptop.  This honesty will help guide you through the process and make sure you don’t over or under buy when you finally do make your purchase.  If you ignore your needs and go with whatever you like the best in the beginning, you may get it and realize you bought way more laptop than you need or that it simply wasn’t enough for what you need it to do, and then what are you going to do about it?There isn’t much you can do, really, other than spend more money to get something different.

Learn What Features You Can Give Up

Once you determine your needs, it is time to decide what features that you want that you could really live without.  Do you really need a 4K screen if all you are going to do is surf the Internet?  Probably not.  Do you only play simple online games on social media, etc.? Then you may not need that fancy video card after all.  Do you really need an Intel Core i7 just to write word documents?

This is why the previous step is so important.  You need to determine EXACTLY what you are going to do with it so you know where you have room to move a little.  Once you understand the specs of a laptop and your usage, you will be able to determine if you give something up to shave off a little bit of the price or if you need to stick with it and save up a little extra to really get what you need.  Once you determine what you can and cannot give up, it is time to take your search up another notch and really dig into the details about the laptops available on the market.

Research, Research, Research

So many people spend very little time actually researching the different laptop options out there.  They find one or two that sound like they will work and then make a decision.  I understand.  No one really wants to spend hours upon hours researching laptops.  Sure that’s fun for some, but many find it more than tedious.

Still, just like when you buy a car, you need to take the time to really learn about the different hardware manufacturers and what features they put into their laptops.  Check out the prices for different models and compare them to other manufactures.  The more time you spend doing this, the better chance you have at finding a laptop that will work for you, without having to overspend.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to research the laptops you are considering.  Remember, chances are you will have this laptop for at least 2 years and maybe even longer.  So why would you invest your hard earned money into something that you really don’t know anything about?  I know I wouldn’t.  Learn about the laptops you are considering purchasing before you order it.  Check out reviews online about them and read our reviews of there here at LaptopNinja.

In the end, you want to make sure you know exactly what you are buying, and this is by far the best way to do.

Examine Your Budget

Once you know exactly what you need and you have learned about all the different features and models that are out there, it is time to take a look at your own budget.  Ask yourself how much you are prepared to spend on a new laptop, and if you are willing to go just a little higher, if necessary.   Be honest with yourself about your financial situation.  After all, you don’t want to get yourself into trouble over something like a laptop.

Once you determine what your budget is, it is time to match that budget up to your short list of laptops based on your needs and specs of the laptops themselves.  Find the best ones that match your budget and then do further research on them specifically to see what other people have to say about them.  Use that info to narrow your choice down to your perfect laptop.

Of course, your budget and your laptop needs may not always match up.  When this happens, it is time to consider alternatives in your plan.

Create a Savings Plan if Necessary

I’m not here today to tell you how to save or spend your money.  That is completely up to you.  However, if you find yourself in a situation where the laptop you need and the laptop you can afford don’t quite add together, then you must do something.

You have two options.  First, you can buy one that will almost meet your needs now, or you can wait a little while, save the extra money, and get the one you really want.  If you really need one right now, then you may have to make some sacrifices, but if you can wait, you may want to consider setting up some type of savings plan.

There are many ways you can save.  You can do it the official way by placing money into a savings account that you can use one day, or you could just save that extra spare change throughout the days until you have what you need.  Whatever way you choose, make sure it will help you save up enough extra money over a set period of time to pick up the laptop you want.

Try setting a deadline if you can.  For example, make a goal to have the extra money saved in 3 months, or 6 months.  From there, determine how much you will need to save each month to reach your goal.  Who knows, the prices could change in that 3 months and you may even find that you won’t need as much money to get that laptop, or, there could be an even better one available in 3 months that puts your current choice to shame.

Enjoy Your New Laptop

Once you finally do buy it, it is time to start having fun.  Of course, in the beginning go ahead and test everything on the new laptop to make sure it works.  If it doesn’t, return it.  Make sure it will cover all your needs and if it turns out you made a mistake, see if you can exchange it for something different from the manufacturer.  Not all manufacturers and retailers will do this, but some will, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is quite a lot to consider when making a laptop purchase.  In the end, it is just not as simple as heading to the store and picking out a new sweater.  There is a lot that you need to learn about laptops before you buy and you need to be keenly aware of your usage requirements and, of course, your own budget limitations before you even think about clicking “Buy Now” on any website, including ours.

For extra help in determining what you need, we provide a wide range of guides such our  Laptops Under $500 guide which are designed to help you find the laptops that suits your needs.  Those aren’t the only guides of course, we provide a wide range of guides for just about everyone to find exactly what they are looking for in a new laptop.

Remember, when choosing a new laptop, properly evaluate what you need and what you can afford first.  This will start you down the right path towards choosing the one laptop that will give you exactly what you need so you will be happy with your new purchase and enjoy it for hopefully years to come.

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

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