Spend or Payoff?

Help me out here: Do I keep my new laptop or should I put the money towards our next student loan?

In the past year, we have only made one extra payment on our student loans. Although it was significant — $2,000 — I am anxious to make another. Mr. Stapler got a better-paying job, so we should have the ability to make more payments.

This month, I calculated that we could make an extra payment of $1,500. I was psyched. I started calculating whether we could pay off the next loan by New Years.

Then Staples had to go and have a great sale on laptops over the tax-free weekend. I thought it was the perfect storm of savings to get a great laptop for $850.

The only reason for getting a new laptop is to get something lighter. Lugging it back and forth to work is a drag on my back, where it’s already being dragged down by my big ole pregnant belly. I have been using a rolling bag, which helps, but it would be wonderful to have a lighter bag (because of a lighter laptop), without wheels.

(I asked my boss for a laptop or desktop to use at work and he has blown me off for over a month. I’m not hopeful that he’ll get me one.)

The problem arose when the perfect storm went out to sea. I picked out a $1,300 laptop that I could pricematch down to $950 and use the $100 off coupon, plus get it tax-free. I don’t know if Staples changed its pricematching policy since the last time I used it — when I could pricematch from anywhere and then add a coupon — or if the representatives I had before were bending the rules. Regardless, they refused to pricematch it down from anywhere online except Amazon and wouldn’t apply a coupon afterwards. It was an hour until the coupon expired, so I went ahead and bought it despite blowing my budget wide open — at a $1,200 pricetag.

With the $1,200 laptop, we can only make a $300 payment on a student loan, and I feel guilty about spending $1,200 on myself frivolously and anxious for the next payment, which won’t be possible until October.

I haven’t received the laptop yet, so I expect I’ll be able to return it as long as it’s not opened. Should I return it and get something cheaper? Should I return it and just suck it up with my current laptop? Should I keep it and only put $300 towards a loan this month?

10 thoughts on “Spend or Payoff?

    • Mr. Stapler picked out the laptop (he’s a tech guy) and thinks it’ll last me for years. He doesn’t want me buying “a piece of junk” just because it’s cheaper. but since it’s his loan we’d otherwise pay off, I think I can convince him.

  1. I’d return it and keep the current one (if it’s got sufficient memory/speed, etc) if you have a rolling bag already. And make the big loan payment, you’ll feel so good afterward, i think you’d be more likely to regret a laptop than a payment.

  2. Always a tough one. That seems pretty expensive for a new laptop. We just got a refurb from Woot.com for 375. It has win8 and is 15.6″.

    We realized that we don’t do anything that requires amazing specs. Microsoft office, web surfing, maybe some netflix, and of course ebay stuff. That’s all. Unless you’re a heavy gamer or do a lot of graphics intensive 3d modelling etc., I think that is a lot of laptop. You can buy one every few years for that price!

  3. I think if you bought “above your needs” then you should return it. You paid 40% more than you thought you were going to. If you’d known that morning “This particular computer going to cost me $1200”, would you have made the trip?

    Now that the pressure of “but tax-free weekend is here” is over, step back and do a real needs-analysis for the kind of system you need and that will serve you best. While weight is obviously an issue, you need to think about what is really a value for you in your next computer, and what is just the sign of a good computer, but not something you’ll ever need or use.

    Return, and make a better purchase, even if it means paying sales tax.

  4. Pingback: September Financial Update: Over $1,800 in Extra Income and Increased our Net Worth by $4,500 | Stapler Confessions

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