Friday, November 5, 2010

Saving for a New Computer

Overall, I really like my computer. However, it's 5 1/2 years old, and most people will tell you, that that's a good life span for a computer (especially one used as much as mine). However, it's been VERY slow for awhile now, and HORRIDLY slow for the last few months.

Okay, I admit, part of it is that sometimes I try to run Photoshop, Lightroom and have Firefox open, usually streaming Pandora. Oops. Yes, I know the drain on resources is HIGH. *sigh* But, I would think that a computer should be able to handle that.

Oh, and did I mention that several times over the last few months I've gotten errors about no room left on the hard drive. Seriously. I used to get Scratch Disk errors in Photoshop all the time, until I moved the scratch disk to my external hard drive (the scratch disk basically holds the memory for the last few editing motions done, so you can undo them or redo them) -- so, when I got them, it meant there was no room on my hard drive to support them. About a month ago, I was uploading photos from my camera to my computer, when it told me there was no space left. Oh dear! And, recently, one of my programs that automatically updates couldn't because I didn't have the space. Yep. Really.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I have already upgraded my RAM once, and maxed it out on my computer (in other words, I can't add anymore, even if I wanted to). And, as mentioned, I have a 1 TB external hard drive to hold all my giant files (my digital scrapbooking folder alone is a little over 37 GB), since my computer's hard drive is only 80 GB (I remember laughing when I got the computer how there was NO way I could fill it up -- that was before I discovered digital scrapbooking).

So, around the beginning of this year, we decided that we needed to start saving for a new computer. Now, yes, we have money in savings that I could have easily just taken out and plopped into a new one, but we knew that we had many things around the house that we wanted to get rid of through selling (whether Craigslist or eBay), so Brian and I made a pact that the money from things we sold could go straight into a computer fund for me, as well as money made from other sources other than a job (gifted; credit card cash back programs; surveys, etc.). That way, we could get rid of things we really needed to get rid of.

So, as of right now, I have almost $550 toward a new computer. My goal is probably around $1,000. (That MAY seem excessive for a new computer, but I have to make sure that it's a Pentium chip, because it handles Photoshop better, and I have to ensure that I can max out the RAM right off the bat. There's even a slight possibility of maybe thinking about a Mac. But only slight.) I would also love a new monitor, but mine works great, it would only be to make bigger. So, if I don't quite make the $1,000 I will still have plenty for a nice, new computer.

However, I wanted to make a quick mention about surveys. It's actually a little bit more involved than that. In 2009 I signed up with several Survey and Research companies that conduct focus groups for other companies. They usually have you come in to their office and talk with a third-party rep about a particular product or idea. And, the best part, is that they're usually pretty fun and they pay really well. Usually $65-100 for a couple hours of your time (a little more or less, sometimes quite a bit more, depending on the study). I've only been to two (every study is very particular of who they are wanting), and I'm about to do one this weekend. The nice thing about the one coming up, is that I can do it from home, and besides being paid for it, I am also getting a free Webcam! (I have to use the Webcam as part of the study, but I get to keep it.)

So, you're certainly not going to get rich quick, but it's a nice way to have a little extra cash now and then. (If you're interested and live in a major market, then let me know and I can let you know a little bit more about it.)

So, hopefully, by the end of the year I will have the money to buy myself a brand new computer. I'm very excited! ^_^


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