My Computer Died! To Repair or to Buy a New One? Hello, Murphy

This is a picture of my computer.  (Excuse the dirty, toddler finger stained monitor.)

The computer is on.  Only nothing happens.

Not good.

Last week the computer went on the fritz, and we quickly backed up everything.  (Except, duh, when I did all of my work this week, I didn’t back up!)

This morning it froze and was very slow, so I turned it off and tried to restart it.  As I have several times since.

This is all I see.  Not good.

I do all of my freelance and blogging work on my laptop.  Right now, I am borrowing my husband’s ancient computer.  The plan was for him to inherit my computer when I got a new one because I knew last winter that I would eventually have to get a new one. . .But I kept putting it off because we never had the money, or because I would rather put the money on debt repayment.

Now, here we are.  Hello, Murphy.

This month is a tight one.  I just paid for the Financial Blogger Conference and am waiting on a reimbursement from my sponsor.

My husband and I are going to California in November for his conference, and we need to buy the airline tickets.

I have just had a series of expensive medical tests, and our deductible is not even close to being met, so we will have at least $500 to $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

The Big Question

Now, we can’t decide if we should get this one repaired or buy a new one.

If we get it repaired, we are likely looking at several hundred dollars as the diagnostic test is $149.  (I have had this computer fixed twice before usually to the tune of $250 or $300.)

If we buy new, we are looking at a roughly $700 purchase, with money we don’t have.

Then again, I do all of my work on my computer, and it is not feasible for my husband not to have a computer while I use his.  Arrgg

To repair or to buy new?  What do you think?

And if you think buy new, what type would you recommend?




  1. Unfortunately, buying new equipment is part of the cost of doing business. At least you can write it off on your taxes! I suggest buying new… though $700 sounds really expensive. I just bought a laptop for $400, and I needed it to be able to handle high end graphic design programs. It is an HP.

  2. You didn’t specify what your minimum system requirements are regarding memory, hard drive, processor speed, size, etc which will play a part in price and suggestions. Do you want to stay PC based or switch to Mac?

    Does the school your husband work for offer discounts for preferred partners? For example, the companies that my husband and I work for use HP or Dell exclusively, so we have corporate discounts available with them. My personal laptop is a 5 yr old Gateway and it’s still running (albiet a lot slower when compared to my new work laptop).

    I was able to get my parents a basic Lenova laptop earlier this month for less than $300 at Office Depot. This is their first computer and is mainly for internet use with some basic word documents and picture editing. Obviously, I went with the lower end setup since they’re not gamers or running high end software. 🙂 I know for a while this summer Best Buy would have at least one under $500 laptop in their ad every week.

    I would say buy new if you don’t need a super high end system. By the time that you pay for the diagnostic test and the repair, you’ve paid for at least 1/2 of what you would pay for a new mid-range system. Knowing that you’ve had issues before, is it worth the stress and worry about when is it going to crash next if you keep repairing this one?

    Don’t forget to check out non-electronic specialty stores like Costco, Sam’s, or the office supply stores or even online only retailers. Also if you do buy new at some stores, they’ll price match if the same item goes on sale within a certain number of days.

    Good luck!

  3. Sheila Laurence says:

    Is a laptop a must? Because desktops are less expensive and less likely to break. The toddler fingerprints might be a sign of a bigger issue, though. I don’t know what your repairs have been, but dirt and especially moisture are really difficult things for computers and will greatly reduce their lifespan. I am a software engineer, and honestly have never had an issue with either my laptop or my desktops (never needed a repair for any of them – replace only after they are so old they are just out of date), but I don’t use my laptop the way people typically would (it mainly stays docked), and I think that’s a big part of the reason I don’t have issues with them. I do understand the convenience factor, but I think it comes at a cost (which I think you are seeing). As for brands, my company buys HP, so I think that’s a good recommendation since they buy and maintain so many of them (thousands), but I think any of the most well-known brands can be good. I personally steer away from things like Acer, etc.

    • I think you are right about the dirt issue. I do want a laptop because I use it upstairs, downstairs, and when I go to Starbucks for my early morning working session. But there is a build up of dust around the keys, and lately I have gotten messages that it is overheating.

  4. Repair! Do you attend a church or any kind of large group? Ask around if anyone knows anything about computers! My husband is a computer guy and he is always helping out friends and neighbors. If you can find someone that knows about computers, they can usually at least open it up and try and figure out the problem for you, saving on the diagnostic test, even if they can’t repair it themselves. Of course, Black Friday is also coming up in November if you can hold out that long to buy a new computer. There are always awesome deals!

  5. Last year our daughter was begging for a laptop for christmas. Ummm 4 kids and that is not in the budget. But we knew she would need one soon because of high school. Most of the homework is done online. So we prayed about it and went searching. Then we found a great deal on tigerdirect. We got a referb one that has a huge screen. When it came we were totally impressed. The same one had been $300 more at the store.
    We ended up paying under $300 for a 17 inch screen laptop with all the upgraded software.

  6. I say buy a cheaper laptop. You can get one that is probably about the same as your old one for maybe $350? That is guaranteed to work rather than a diagnostic that may lead to repairs not worth the price of the laptop.

  7. You should check out they have some good deals. Also runs things that are nice, but Microcenter is great. Can get a laptop or pc for the price you are looking at in getting one repaired.

  8. With the costs you’re stating for repair, I definitely wouldn’t go that route. It must be a regional thing because most repair places around here would probably charge around $100-$150. Maybe shop around?

    If that is the going rate for repair, go new. I think $700 is an outrageous and unnecessary price to pay these days unless you are doing high end photo editing as well as high end gaming.
    I highly recommend watching the site – they post all sorts of tech deals. Over the years, I’ve purchased (and helped friends pick out) many many laptops and desktops for hundreds of dollars less than the asking price thanks to waiting for sales and coupon codes. Our current laptop would have been about $1300 bought straight from the Dell site, but waiting for a sale and using a coupon that was posted on GotApex, it was less than $600. I’ve helped two friends buy awesome computers (used mainly for Word, basic digital camera stuff and Internet) for about $430.

    I think you can definitely find a brand new DECENT laptop that will last many years in the $400-$500,

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