Or maybe enough time passes so your computer is well and truly out of date – new software requires a new operating system, the screen has begun to lose colors in spots – or any of the other myriad symptoms and conditions that indicate it’s time for you to replace your computer.
There’s never a good time to buy a new computer
As far as I’m concerned there’s never a good time to buy a new computer. I know from experience, just like you, that switching computers means I’ll lose at least a full day of work fiddling, getting files uploaded, directors set up and what have you. When it requires changing operating system I figure on at least two days.
Sure there can be sales at various times of the year. Or I might, who knows, when a new computer if I ever entered any of the contests. If I’m really smart I’ll be able to plan for the transition.
But what amazes me even more is that my computers apparently sense when I had little money to invest in new ones. At least that’s how it used to work or so it seemed.
How to save for your next computer
The answer is to save money for your next computer. It may seem obvious to you, but it took me awhile to figure this one out.
Several computer experts have told me we should plan on replacing our computers every couple of years. I tend to run a computer for four or five years before it gets wonky. But all computers eventually need to be replaced.
Here’s one approach. Set up a special savings account just for the next computer. Decide how much you expect to spend on your next computer, and divide that by the number of months and you know how much you need to save.
Sure there are variables. You may not need a new monitor or mouse when you replace or the hard drive, etc. But build your numbers as if you had to replace everything.
Imagine getting your laptop stolen in finding you had more than enough money to buy a better, new one.
Computers are a business expense for freelance writers and it can make better sense to simply set aside a percentage of every bit of income you have just for equipment replacement. This would be in addition to the several months of emergency funds you set aside and any other savings you’re doing.
You probably want to base the percentage on last year’s income and on the amount you suspect a new computer will cost you.
If you know what you pay for your last computer, add 10 to 25 percent to that. Or take a few moments and do so online shopping for the computer you think you want. Either way you end up with a savings goal.
When you save for your next computer (or cell phone or printer or…) you take a good deal of pressure off yourself. Not only that, you’re doing the business-like thing and making it possible for you to keep writing pretty much no matter what happens.
Has saving for my next computer actually meant they don’t break down as often? I like to think so. 😉
Are you interested in learning more about using technology well as a freelance writer? I’m starting a mailing list for writers interested in technology – you can join here.
Write well and often,