One of the things Mr. Fi and I wanted to do this year was buy a second laptop. We’ve been successfully sharing one for well over a year but lately we’ve been each wanting to use the laptop at the same time, all the time. Enough was enough and a couple of months ago Mr. Fi said he was buying me a laptop for Christmas. Although the idea thrilled me (I mean, who doesn’t love shiny, new electronics?), the other part thought, “I don’t want to drop a few hund-o on a new laptop just because we want one. How can we ‘frugalize’ this?”
So after a quick brainstorming sesh, we came up with the following ways to frugalize the purchase of a new laptop thus eliminating what I like to call “my shopping guilt.”
Take Advantage of Company Rewards
My company, as I’ve mentioned before, is a meritocracy where raises and “bonuses” depend on how well we do our jobs. I say “bonuses” because we don’t receive traditional bonuses at my job. In true meritocratic fashion, a job done well done comes with recognition by another party within the company. They will award a certain amount of money that can then be applied to a select suite of gift cards. This means no real bump to my paycheck at the end of the year.
While I’d rather have cash to invest in our future, this has been pretty helpful throughout the year to pay for things like: our kitchen remodel, lawn and garden projects (Home Depot/Lowe’s gift cards), presents for birthdays and Christmas (Amazon/iTunes/you get the idea), as well as other miscellaneous home and clothing accessories we might want or need throughout the year. So when Mr. Fi said he was ready to get a laptop, this was the first idea that came to mind. I’m good at my job and knew I could get some awards in the next couple of months–yes.
Use those Gift Cards
Mr. Fi also received a couple of gift cards over the holiday that we’d been holding on to. We’ve gotten really good at only buying things that we actually need and not spending frivolously, even when it comes to “free money” such as gift cards.
Sell Your Old Stuff
The idea of bringing new electronics into the house triggered our realization of how many old electronics we still had sitting around, not being used. For example, I had an iPod I bought back in 2008 before my trip to Europe that probably hadn’t been used since 2010. We had an older Kindle Fire that we had recently replaced by a new Fire because it was on super-sale, and because the old Kindle’s battery life was less than ideal. Mr. Fi also had his Verizon Galaxy S3 that was WiFi-use-only since we switched to Cricket months ago.
Finally, there was my brand-new (not refurbished) replacement phone from Motorola that Mr. Fi alluded to selling in his earlier post already packed up and ready to go (I had vowed never to use another Motorola product again by the time we received the replacement and had already replaced it with a new iPhone. If you have anything Motorola, beware, their customer service is the absolute worst). After months (years in the case of my iPod) of putting it off, we finally put these items on eBay and just like that, we had more cash in our account and less clutter in our office.
Cash in Your Credit Card Points
As stated in not one, but two credit card posts, we’re big advocates of responsible credit use. And one of the uses we love is points towards stuff we need. Just like we’ve done for our flights in the past, we decided to apply our credit card points towards the new computer. It wasn’t much, but our Chase card got us $35 put towards the laptop.
Wait for the Best Deal
Once we had our idle items sold and our gift cards accumulated, all we had left to do was wait for the computer to become “in-stock” on Amazon. After researching and determining how I’d use my new computer, Mr. Fi decided on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 – 2015 Edition.
Almost everything I do is on the internet (blogging, Instagram, Netflix, etc.), so a computer that focuses on this as well was the way to go.
- Job Award Money: $150
- X-mas Gift Cards: $50
- eBay Income: $139.37
- Credit Card Points: $35.08
- Laptop: $329.99
- Total: +$44.46.
That’s right, we came out ahead! Frugalize for the win! I have a beautiful, new laptop that I use every day since its arrival while simultaneously ridding ourselves of unneeded things.
I now have the decluttering/selling bug (poor hubs has no idea what he started) and I plan on getting rid of things and adding to the total amount above until we at least match the price difference between the old phone and the new iPhone I purchased to replace it.
Do you have a need to frugalize your purchases through coupons, gift cards, etc. (or is that just me)?
Do you have any examples of how you did this? We’d love to hear from you!