Laptop Returned, Money Saved, Old Computer Optimized!

Goodbye my pretty laptop.
Goodbye My Precious!

After much debate, I walked over to the Apple store and returned my oh so sweet Macbook Pro laptop.  Today was the last day until the return policy on the laptop expired.  

I actually felt a little bit sad, because I got to see the laptop when the store clerk cut open the sticker to make sure I wasn't returning a couple cement blocks instead. I'd resisted opening it myself for so long!

Why I Returned A New MBP Laptop

I really would have enjoyed using that shiny new MacBook Pro laptop. But, I feel I made the right decision to return it.

My reasons to return it were quite simple

  1. No reasonable bids came in for my 8GB, iPod touch for $199 that I got for free. The day after Apple stopped their promotion of a free iPod with every Macbook purchase, they lowered their price from $239 to $199! I didn't change my pricing on Craigslist fast enough, so it was a little too late to negotiate.
  2. My guest post failed to get published within two weeks at a large personal finance site. I made a submission which was immediately responded to and accepted the very next day. It took me several hours to write 1,350 words, and several more hours to edit. Although they confirmed receipt of my 2nd draft, it's still in the queue. At least I got a nice $10 gift card at Amazon! :)
  3. My cash flow cannot afford $1,465 for September because a $1,700 bill is coming due for a couple airlines tickets I purchased at the end of August.  I try to only buy stuff through cash flow, and never touch savings. Otherwise how will I ever build a big enough nut for retirement?  Going into revolving credit card debt is NOT an option and never will be!
  4. I made a promise not to buy anything in September and feel guilty breaking a promise.  With only 6 more days left to go for the month, I need…to…stand…strong…and fight the spending addiction! I wonder if this is how a recovering addict feels, where every day of non-use, and in my case non-spend, is a victory? It feels good to go 24 days in a row without buying anything other than food!
  5. Finally, my wife actually fixed my old iBook G4! Its speed is as good as new thanks to several updates and clean ups. Too bad the battery life still only lasts 25 minutes.

Optimize A Laptop Before You Buy A New One

I am one of the biggest computer morons on earth. One time, I think i started panicking when the computer wouldn't turn on. Then I realized it was out of battery and wasn't plugged in :)  

I get so frustrated trying to fix things myself. Thus, I'd GLADLY pay some person $100 bucks an hour to fix a bug, or a slow internet connection. It's just hard to trust every shady ad on Craigslist. Thank goodness for my wife, and her patience!

The Wife's Simple, Free Tips For Optimizing Mac & Browser:

  • Delete cookies – Safari menu, Security tab, Show cookies, Remove All
  • Close browser windows and tabs when done
  • Empty cache – Safari menu, Empty Cache, Empty
  • Secure empty trash – Finder menu, Secure empty trash
  • Shut down computer 1-2 times week – Apple menu, Shutdown
  • Run software update – Apple menu, Software Update. Adjust the scheduling frequency in System Preferences,Software Update
  • Keep firewall on to restrict incoming access – System Preferences, Security, Firewall
  • Run antivirus and malware / spyware removal software
  • Manually put your computer to sleep from the apple menu instead of just closing your laptop. Helps battery life.
  • Remove the application icons from the dock if no longer in use by dragging icon to trash
  • Run disk utilities once a quarter – Finder, Applications,Utilities, Disk Utility
  • Move any files on the desktop into the documents folder
  • Keep at least 20% of your total hard disk free of space. Once less than 10% hits, everything slows down drastically.
  • Turn airport off whenever you're not surfing – Airport menu, Turn Airport off


After two weeks of temptation, I had to let the babies go. It's interesting to note that over this time period, the laptop and iPod got buried under a mountain of clothes, papers, and new shoes. 

The clutter syndrome was in full effect! I'm disappointed not so much by the fact I'm not typing to you on a new computer. Frankly, it feels good to get $1,450 credited back on my card. It's just disappointing I failed at achieving all my mini-goals to justify the purchase. C'est la vie. Maybe next year!

If you have a big purchase to make that you're 100% sure about and can afford, make sure you buy it with one of the best rewards credit cards. There are a lot of fantastic offers today from cash back, miles, to travel rewards. Might as well get rewarded if you're going to spend anyway!

Related Posts:

“Controlling The Urge To Splurge”

“Mea Culpa – I Just Spent $1,450 At The Apple Store”


Financial Samurai

“Slicing Through Money's Mysteries”

About The Author

16 thoughts on “Laptop Returned, Money Saved, Old Computer Optimized!”

  1. @admin if it already has two chips… that’s no prob! as long as the machine can handle > 512KB ram, just get 2 more chips at 512KB each… or more!!! (i took out both original sticks in mine for a 2x2GB upgrade) :)

    thanks, though it’s totally yuck– spend all day working on sites– don’t want to come home and deal with more of them…

  2. I agree with Bill about getting another battery.

    swapping out the processor might be difficult and/or impossible with chips/motherboards being upgraded in 5 years (motorola->intel), but like automobiles, the labor charges for computer repairs are insane. At “geeksquad” it’s $50 for hardware install. It takes ~3 minutes to install RAM on a laptop (desktop PCs less). that’s $1000 / hour. Yikes.

    Here are some laptop upgrades you may be able to do yourself:

    –buy a bigger hard drive, and an external usb enclosure. swap out your current HD for the new one and use your old one for a backup.

    –If your machine can handle it, buy more ram. I got 4 gigs of ram for $70 (-$30 rebate) at newegg and installed it in minutes. go to to find the ram for you machine– then shop around for it.

    I would go as far to say, one should never buy new laptops with these upgrades pre-installed, or even buy these upgrades from Apple. the ram upgrade i mentioned above at Apple is $200. HD and ram upgrades are pretty easy DIY stuff and can be found for great deals around the internet (newegg, tigerdirect, zipzoomfly…).

    imho, the only things that _really_ matter in a new laptop is the processor, then, the video card.

    If you’re not spending a lot of time editing video/music/photos/programming/protein folding/etc. do you really need something new and ultra fast? (you’ve already answered that :) )

    1. Hey Canz! Good tips. I think my memory drive is full i.e. it has two, 256KB chips in it already yiiihaw! I just took the laptop to the rest room this morning to do some editing, and before I could finish, the battery died :( I’m definitely gonna get a new battery, b/c a 8 minute battery life is ridiculous!

      Thanks for the encouragement. I used to love playing games on the computer 10 years ago, and would probably still do so now if I had time, but I don’t.

      Cool computer programing site you got there btw! I’m so horrendous at everything computer related, it’s a miracle I’ve got this site up.


  3. Buy a battery off ebay.

    I got one NIB for an iBook G3 for $10 (under $20 shipped)

    Even a used battery will have more than 25 minutes of battery life.

  4. @David@DINKS Finance Yeah, my iBook G4 is 5 years old. Actually, I just realized this iBook was originally my wife’s! I bought it for her Christmas 5 years ago before moving into our house. Hmm….. I bought her, her current one, and the old one which is now mine, is a hand me down. Gosh, I’m a nice guy. Actually, maybe I have a problem rewarding myself, or just find pleasure giving things to others.

    I just really dislike computers David. They are draining after a full day’s work, and break a lot. Mac’s have been much better than PC’s though.

    I added $1,450 to my “Freedom Fund” on the right. Road to $1 million here I come!

  5. Wow you truly are intentional about making the best use of your cash. You should see us “younger generation.” It’s almost a given you buy a new laptop every 2-3 years, no second thought about it.

    Maybe I can follow some of your wife’s hints and last 4 years, which is unthinkable to someone under 30! :0

  6. @Larry L, New York Ok, will do Larry. When I use the tax software and put a sample business expense in, it never seems to save me any money. Says the expense has to be at least a certain % of revenue or something. Hence, if you are running a highly profitable business and have huge margins, then a lot of expenses won’t fly I guess what the gov’t is telling us.

    More punishment for efficient folks!

  7. William & Mary

    Well done Samurai. You held strong. Fight the spending addiction and never surrender!

  8. Larry L, New York

    The proper response would be to ask your accountant. Not sure about expenses with an existing employer.

  9. @Larry L, New York Larry, I agree. The only place I take my old G4 is up the stairs, and then back down the stairs.

    The battery life is a killer (bad) now at only 25 minutes I admit. I long for the 6 hr battery life of the new Pro’s.

    If I ever decide to make an income from FS, or of Rupert Murdoch ever decides to buy us out, a laptop business expense would be perfect! BTW, do you know if there are income caps on my existing job to expense?? Or, do I have to incorporate a new company first?


  10. Larry L, New York

    The question becomes how much time do you waste with the existing portable. Being slow and with a small battery life and more than likely 5 years old. I’ve found in most cases a computer older than 5 years (desktop, portable, server) is almost never worth keeping because of the cost to upgrade or repair, or the time lost in how long it takes to run newer applications.

    In my case using computers daily and quite a bit (since that’s my biz), the $2400.00 new MacBook Pro I just bought, is MUCH faster than the old G4 I also have. It boots in less than 30 seconds and has a battery life of approx 6 hours. If you didn’t use the portable frequently you are correct in returning the new portable, if you use it daily for hours on end the new portable was well worth the expense (which was 0% for 12 months through Apple) and in addition is a business purpose. It becomes more obvious when you are billing clients at an hourly rate with it.

  11. *sniff*

    I think you made the right choice though. If the cash wasn’t there for you to keep it, then returning it was the only logical choice.

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