Should We Get Another Laptop?

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I think we need better time management. He thinks we need another computer. One option is free, the other costs hundreds. We need your opinion!

The husband and I don’t have too many major money disagreements.  We each trust and respect each other’s control over our respective financial resources, and work together as a team towards common goals.  (With a family, that’s most of our goals, anyways.)  So I don’t think I’ve ever had a post along the lines of “she says/he says.”

That’s changing today.  Because our lives have changed.  He’s a full-time student, who has found out that he generally thrives in on-line courses.  They fit his schedule and he can usually work ahead or catch up depending on the craziness going on in our lives.  I’ve been doing this blogging/freelance writing thing, and as he’s in class and at work less, I have not been able to get the bulk of my work done when he’s not home.

That leaves us competing for computer time.  Not in a mean-spirited way; we both respect the tasks the other has to complete.  But it’s challenging to be home together (a rare occurrence,) and watch the other one internet away, while we’re running through all the tasks we have to get done once the other is finally off.

My solution is better time management, and/or a written schedule.  His solution is getting another computer or laptop.

My solution costs nothing.  His solution costs hundreds of dollars.

He doesn’t think my solution is possible.  I don’t think his solution is financially justifiable.

It’s odd, because when we grew up, having even one computer in your home was such a luxury.  Then having a computer with the internet was a big deal.  By the time I graduated high school, it was pretty much commonplace, at least in middle-class homes.

So having two computers in one house seem ludicrous to me.  It’s insane!  Remember when we lived without the net?  We survived!  We thrived.  We got bored and creative and contemplative and lived without our contacts constantly connected to our hips.  Children grew up learning to talk to people rather than texting or emailing, and books were displayed on pages, not screens.

But our world has changed.  His schooling is possible because of technology.  My writing is possible because of technology.  And both are becoming a necessary part of our lives.  I’m not sure that’s the best thing for us as human beings, but it is the reality we live in, and mostly enjoy.

I see his point.  I’ve come up with a compromise to wait until the end of summer when our cash flow is a little better.  It’s a compromise he hasn’t concretely agreed to.

So I’m posing this question to you, readers:  should we get another computer, or is the concept overly indulgent?  Do you have any creative solutions that would solve our problems without forking out the cold, hard cash?  If you and your partner both work virtually, do you have two computers to allow you to get your work done?

First world problems, first world problems.  This one is one I’m very aware is a luxury to have.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and Shoeaholic No More*

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28 thoughts on “Should We Get Another Laptop?

  1. Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents

    I think you should get a second computer. I imagine it’ll be tough to manage your competing schedules and it’ll give you more flexibility on that front. That said, pretty much my entire life I’ve grown up with 1 computer / family member, so I see it as more justifiable and necessary than you might.

    Reply
    1. Inequality Today

      I think you should buy another laptop. Don’t think of it as indulging in a luxury. A luxury is something that you buy for pleasure. Think of buying a laptop as an investment in your future. You use the laptop for your freelancing, and he uses it for school. Buying a laptop is buying another tool to help you accomplish your goals.

      Reply
  2. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    Maybe get a second computer but put money in savings specifically for that and don’t buy one until you have that savings? I do agree that most people kind of need their own, especially if they are doing TONS of work on it. I would personally have a hard time sharing my computer.

    Reply
    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      I think that’s what we’ll do. All of our money is currently dedicated to bills or house savings, and I’m not willing to draw from that savings. So we’ll have to make a new goal. Hopefully we can make it quickly because apparently he’s totally in the right on this one!

      Reply
  3. Andrew@livingrichcheaply

    Since you both have computing needs (him with the online courses and you with the blog), it seems like buying a 2nd laptop might be worth it. Currently, my wife and I share a lap top since she gave hers to her parents to use. It’s been fine since she often just surfs the web and stuff on her phone. But I think it would be tough to share if we both had to consistently use the lap top.

    Reply
    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      Yeah that’s where we were until last year when he started online courses. It would probably help both of us get to bed earlier and have a better quality of life. I’m overwhelmingly wrong! I’m so glad I asked you all!

      Reply
  4. kay ~ lifestylevoices.com

    Jay and I went through this a few years ago. We had 1 laptop. That’s pretty annoying when the other person needs it. No matter how amiable you are about it, it’s inconvenient and annoying. Once I loosened the money belt and forked over the laptop dough, we’ve been happy campers ever since. I know it sucks to spend the money, I know it does, but you’ll see it’s worth it in the long run. Trust me. Would this (cartoon) face steer you wrong?

    Reply
    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      Haha I trust that cartoon face because of the voice behind it! And you’ve got me pinned… I hate spending money. Good thing I’ve got a normal partner to point out my unreasonable weirdness and escalate it to a point where you all prove him right.

      Reply
  5. middle_class

    I would get a second laptop, too. If it’s not Apple, there are many decent inexpensive options nowadays.

    Reply
    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      So good to hear from you! You know, the first thing my mind went to was Apple’s student discount program, but if it’s not deep enough I’m definitely looking at other options. Their prices, combined with the fact that I’ve only ever used a Mac for six months when I had a photographer roommate, generally make it not worth those added features to me.

      Reply
  6. Chela

    My husband is in school full time, too, and we both use our computers very much. We definitely need two–I think you´ll be making your lives much easier that way. I would recommend maybe looking at a middle or even bottom-middle of the line laptop, though, especially if you´re really only blogging. People think if they´re going to get a new computer you should get the top of the line and it has to cost thousands. Honestly, you don´t need top of the line graphics cards, sound cards, processors, etc, if you´re just blogging and browsing the web. You can get a really decent machine for about $300-400. Hopefully that won´t break the bank–and will increase productivity for the two of you!

    Reply
    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      Yeah I’m not a gamer or anything so really err just need storage for kids photos and pretty basic functions. Well, he’s a gamer but he has a PS3 and no time to play it already. I couldn’t imagine spending thousands! Good to hear from someone in the same situation!

      Reply
      1. Chela

        I was at the Windows store yesterday and thought of you… Saw this HP Stream Signature Edition for $229 and it looks really decent!

        Reply
  7. staceylogden

    My husband and I both have our own laptops and I honestly don’t know how we’d make it work otherwise. We both do a lot of work online and need the computer a lot, but that’s not the only thing. If you’re scheduling computer time, then one of you is online while the other is “free”, then you switch. Not only is that inconvenient, it also means that a lot of your time together is eaten up by one or the other being on the computer.

    Reply
    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      You know what, that is a fantastic point. Our time together truly is limited so the more I think about it the more I thinks about it the more I think spending a few hundred would be worth getting some of that time together back. Thank you!!

      Reply
  8. Joyce

    Femme, you are my girl and I love you but you “gotz” to get another pc/laptop. *hides* I see your point, but having another PC/laptop will help you both and might even increase your income. I will suggest buying a refurbished one or used one. If you need help shoot me an email. Have a great weekend!

    Reply
  9. bg

    I wouldn’t get another computer. Today’s technology is so integrated and at our fingertips. ..use a tablet if you have one. I personally, gave up my Samsung 5 for the galaxy note. Why? There’s a stylus pen n holder with the device. I can access Google drive n use Google dox, slides, sheets, etc. I hardly touch my laptop.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I’ll have to look into that as an option. I have a hard time blogging from mobile devices, but we’ll have to see how his online courses function with one. He does a lot of writing for his courses, too, so we’ll have to see if we can get either one of us functional on one.

      Reply
  10. Vickie - Mustardseedmindset.com

    Since both you and your husband need a computer to accomplish your career goals, it will likely be beneficial to your family to purchase a second one. You would be making an investment in your family because this purchase is more of a ‘need’, not a ‘want’. I completely understand that you don’t want to spend a lot of money on one, so you may want to consider a Chromebook, which can cost as little as $200. Chromebooks are more limited in their functionality than a Windows or Apple machine; however, if you use it to access the internet and write for your blog or if your husband needs it for his class, this inexpensive option should work well for you without breaking the bank. There are also a lot of refurbished computers that could also meet your needs. Hope this helps.

    Good luck,

    Vickie

    Reply
  11. Mel

    I remember just having one computer in the house too, but it feels so long ago now – it almost seems like laptops are like cell phones, I’m so used to the idea of everyone having their own.

    I’d vote for finding a dependable, but cheap model – probably in the $400 range – and just continue to share until you have that amount saved up.

    Reply
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  13. middle_class

    I think I already “voted” on an earlier post for a mid-tier 2nd laptop. I don’t think you’ll regret the purchase. The only other short-term solution I can think of is to use the library. We have one near our house where you can get free computer time for blocks of time. That might work if your husband needs to focus on writing or a class.

    Reply
  14. The Frugal Exerciser

    I know my response is late and you went with the majority but here is my response. I will use Dave’s(Dave Ramsey) recommendation, do you need it or do you want it? It is needed so save up and get a new computer LOL.

    Reply
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