Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big spender

Parting with my money has always been difficult for me. Whenever I make a big purchase (usually when I buy something like plane tickets once or twice a year) it just hurts. I immediately feel guilty, and mentally go over my budget again and again to reassure myself that yes, I can afford it.

Before I moved in, I had planned and budgeted for the purchase of both a bed and a dresser. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been sleeping on a klick-klack sofa since I graduated from college two years ago, mostly to conserve space in the small apartments I've lived in. The dresser I had in my last apartment was purchased from some dude on craigslist for $50 a year and a half prior, and was falling apart. I had about $1,000 budgeted for this; I wanted a nice matress/bed that would last for a long time, and can you blame me after I'd been sleeping on a glorified pull-out-sofa for almost two years?!

Well, when the previous tenant moved out, she left her bed and dresser behind for me. She'd bought the bed last December, so it was less than a year old, and the dresser was a relic from her grandmother's basement that she didn't want back. That means that I had $1,000 left on the table. Normally I'd throw that at my loans, or put some in savings, but there was one thing that I'd been wanting for a long time: a new computer.

My old computer, a Toshiba laptop that I purchased in January 2005, had died around January of this year. Well, it still works, technically, but the screen is too dark to make out much of anything. Sometime soon I'd like to hook it up to an external monitor so I can snag all my photos and stuff off there. Anyway, not only did I want a new computer, but I kind of needed one, too. One of my jobs is being a freelance fact-checker, and I've had to take shorter stories that I could do over my lunch breaks at work, which means that less was money coming in from that channel.

I had my sights set on a MacBook, for various reasons. One being that I knew it wouldn't die of spyware complications within a year, as Windows machines have a tendency to do. After much research, I went with the low end model and upgraded the memory, bringing up to speed with the higher end MacBook for $100 less. I also got a "free" printer (after rebate). The whole thing wound up costing about $1,100. It's a lot of money, and paying the credit card bill was definitely painful. But, it was the only big ticket item I plan to purchase this year. And I could afford it.

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