A "free" computer every 24 months.
Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 6:04PM
Chris Fenwick in Opinion, Rant

I’ve been buying equipment for along time and i’m always amazed that people have such a hard time dealing with how to pay for their new tech purchases. I’m going to share with you a secret of mine that will allow you to get a free computer ever 24 months, and when I say free i mean “free” with gigantic air quotes.

First of all be realistic. If you are in this business and have been doing it for a few years you know that new gear comes out all the time. It’s GONNA happen. Remember when the Blue and White G3 was the rage? You just had to have one right?  Remember the Grey and White one? the various models of grey ones? That one that had the holes on the front that made it look like a bowling ball? And then the first G5 with the all aluminum case?

We all remember these iconic bits of hardware because we either, A. Owned them or B. Lusted after them. or C. Worked on them. The one thing we know as sure as the sun is going to rise is that in 12 - 16 months there will be something new that we want.  Don’t kid yourself, The computer you are about to buy today is NOT the last computer you are ever going to own. 

Ok… if that is indeed the case, that we do in fact realize that every computer we buy today will in fact be replaced in a year or 2, then why is it that we don’t act differently with our money in order to be READY to buy that computer when the time comes?

No… instead what we do is we wait until we MUST own what is new… we look at our bank account and we realize we don’t have the coin to buy it… we dig thru our wallets and find a credit card that doesn’t have smoke coming out of it and we ask the sales associate to ‘gently’ swipe it, who knows, there may be one more big purchase on there.

The problem is that IF the card isn’t rejected we get our new computer, we take it home and we NEVER THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN. That is… we don’t think about how we are going to pay for it. Instead, we fall prey to the damn credit card companies that, for all intents and purposes are committing the felony of “usury” - Don’t know what that means?  Usury is “the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest”.  What, you may ask is an “unreasonable” high rate of interest? Well in 1980 the US congress basically gave free reign to banks to charge us what ever they could get away with and, because most people can’t read their credit card statements they just pay the “minimum amount due” and proceed to get screwed for the duration of the time they keep that credit card.

You see, when you are buying your gear, many people are borrowing the most expensive money possible to buy a piece of equipment that will probably not last as long as the amount of time that most people take to pay off the bill.

So what do you do?

I’m going to tell you how I get a “free” computer every 2 years. 

First off, I’m realistic. I DO NOT buy every computer that comes out. You can’t, you can’t if you think you are going to make a living AND a profit. You just can’t. You need to learn to skip a generation. If you do, you’ll ultimately be much happier. (Same applies to iPhones people). 

That is not to say you can’t manufacture an excuse or a reason for WHY you need the latest or greatest but believe me, you can wait. Just do it.

Second. Instead of paying the credit card company $100 bucks a month, or WHATEVER, until you pay off that new Mac Book Pro you bought, why not do this. Take the cost of the computer you currently have, divide its cost by the number of months you are going to own it. Then, start saving for your NEXT computer TODAY!

Example: A new Mac Book Pro is about $2400 bucks… Mine is going to last me 24 months. So, I’ll save $100 per month from the day I buy it till the end of its life span and at that point, my NEXT computer is already “paid for”. All I have to do is pull that money out of the bank and go buy my shiny new computer.  You may want to try using a separate account so you don’t accidentally blow this cash on a Vegas weekend. 

By doing this for several years, when my current machine is 2 years old. I already have the money set aside for my NEXT computer. I can, and HAVE, literally taken my current machine and GIVEN IT AWAY to someone that is in need of a computer because my next machine is totally funded and basically just waiting for me at “Steve’s House” for me to go pick it up.

Its important to realize that this is VERY similar to paying off the credit card company $100 bucks a month but with the interest involved you are going to spend WAY MORE than that $2400 purchase price on your laptop than I am going to spend on MINE and we both were out $100 a month. The difference was, you were paying a credit card company WITH INTEREST and I was just “paying myself”.

Give this some thought. You’ll save so much money it will make your head spin although, to be fair, its REALLY hard to calculate how much you ARE saving because you have to be a rocket scientist to understand how a credit card company charges compounded interest. I would also encourage you to do this with other things in your life.  

Good luck… 

(BTW… pretty soon now, I’m getting a new laptop.)

Article originally appeared on Chris Fenwick's Custom Tutorials (http://chrisfenwick.com/).
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