Computers are among the most expensive purchases you can make, especially when dealing with some of the latest models and needing various programs and peripherals. Reaching four digits isn’t just a likelihood but an inevitability when buying a computer that is more than just the basics. You need to think of it as an investment, but that does not make things any easier when money is tight.
Try to think of the following ideas when going out to buy a new computer:
Think of the Computer Lifetime
Not all computers are built the same and many aren’t meant to last more than two or three years. Other computers you might be able to keep four or five if you manage to find the right one. It might be worth paying for an $1100 computer if it means you won’t have to buy two $700 computers over the same amount of time.
As a general rule, desktop computers will last you much longer than laptops, and the benefit to owning a desktop is that if a single component breaks or is damaged you can simply replace the part instead of the entire computer. Building your own is a great option for increasing longevity and saving money, as you will know exactly what you want and know the ins and outs of your computer. If you want to have a long-lasting computer to save you money in the long run, make sure to buy a good power supply, case, processor, and motherboard. Other components are easy to replace and upgrade, but these you really can’t unless you effectively want a new computer.
One you find a model of computer you like, look around the internet to see where you can find the cheapest model. Often you might want to stick with a preferred retailer when making online purchases, but a computer is such a large purchase it warrants a look around. As long as a website seems legitimate, it might be worth your time.
Also, you will want to take into account costs such as the warrantee, should you want one, and the shipping. Things such as that and potential coupons and rebates can add up to be a difference of $100 between websites, so it is worth considering.
If you are building your own computer or planning to change out a few parts immediately after getting a new one, the principles of this don’t really change much. You simply need to look around for each part. You might be lucky and even find a bundle deal of the parts you are looking for. There are tons on the market, so know what you are doing and know which parts are compatible, so you don’t wind up wasting several hundred dollars on a part you can’t use.
Protect the Computer from the Start
If your computer dies on you very early on or falls victim to viruses, then you’ve lost your investment and lose even more money than you tried to save cutting corners. This means getting a warrantee and getting programs to protect your computer.
If there is a two-year warrantee, I recommend getting it, especially if said warrantee is less than 20 percent of the cost of the computer. You should get at least a one-year warrantee just in case a part in your computer is defective. If there is a problem, don’t be afraid to send it in, as problems on computers will only get worse until it is too late.
From the beginning, you will likely have an internet security program installed with a free trial on your computer. If you do not have one, then you need to get a good one and install it before doing anything else. If you do have one pre-installed, then you need to decide if it is a good program and either subscribe to it (they often have a first-year discount) or pick out another one that suits your needs. You do not want to have to spend money on new programs or computer repair if you get attacked by malware.
You will also want to get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect yourself from hackers, especially if you go onto public networks with your new laptop. What a VPN will do is connect your computer to an offsite secure server in such a manner that it creates a “tunnel” from your computer that no one will be able to crack into. Otherwise hackers might be able to intercept your data and cause all sorts of other problems. This can lead to costly identity theft and other potential problems. One of most popular ones is ExpressVPN, a low-cost option with great features. You can read reviews to determine if it is right for your new computer. Otherwise just know that any VPN is better than no VPN, and the cost is worth it in the long run.
Set Up a Maintenance Schedule
Once you set up your computer and start using it, you need to immediately start thinking about its maintenance. Try to get to know the inside of your computer and see if there are any places that might get overheated (especially if your computer uses a graphics card). Also schedule a time that you will want to set aside every three months to clean it, removing any dust from inside of it. At this time you might also want to perform other tasks such as doing a virus scan and deleting any files you no longer need.
Try to think of your computer as you would your car. It needs maintenance and while you could take it in to do so, managing it yourself in most circumstances will increase your knowledge and save you a great deal of money over the long run.
Thank you for reading, and good luck with finding the computer that is right for you.