I Want to Upgrade My Computer


QUESTION:

I’m a 24-year-old graphic designer who has been working for an advertising company for a year. In my spare time, I also do freelance work by designing brochures and other print materials for personal clients. I’m currently using a Desktop PC at home, but since I’ve had this computer since I was in college, I’m thinking of upgrading it or buying a new iMac instead.

1. How are you going to pay for the computer?
a. I’m going to pay with my credit card 
b. I’m going to take some of my emergency fund and pay the rest 
    with my savings
c. I’m going to pay all with my time deposit that matures next month

2. How much is your savings?
a. I’m still trying to save more each month. I have less than Rp 20 million
b. I have around Rp 30 million as my emergency fund, but that’s about it
c. I have secured an emergency fund and I’m now saving up
    for my vacation fund

3. How is the performance of your computer now?
a. I can still use it for work, but it’s a bit slow sometimes
b. Sometimes my graphic software would crash or restart itself   
c. I can’t open two programs at the same time, so it costs me a lot of time 
    to get things done.

ANSWER:

If You Score 50 or Less:

As a graphic designer, you definitely want a top-notch computer to be able to work with the latest version of graphics software. However, since you still don’t have enough savings, don’t increase your financial burden by adding a credit card debt. The rule is “don’t use your credit card to buy things you can’t afford”, so it’s better for you to save up more money first –cut your shopping expense, save your bonus and freelance checks— and use the old computer for a while.     

If You Score Above 50-80:

You probably got your desktop PC from your parents when you entered the university, so it’s not necessarily your own choice. Since you’re now fully responsible for your expense, set your budget and consider these things before you decide to upgrade or buy a new computer:
1. Compare the price and how long these products are estimated to last
2. Calculate the maintenance cost --for example, if your iMac breaks down 
    you have to repair the whole thing and it’ll be more expensive if you
    don’t have AppleCare Protection Plan
3. Don’t just rely on brochures. Read reviews and ask other graphic designers
    who have more experience.  

If You Score 80 or More:

Since you have the fund to upgrade your PC or buy a new one, the only question left is when you should make the purchase.  It’s good to buy when the rupiah strengthens against US Dollar, or during a computer expo --where you can get discount or bonus for a purchase. Also make a pro-con list between having a desktop and a laptop. The second item has smaller screen, but will enable you to work in different places and present your works to your clients. Whatever you decide, make sure it will increase your productivity and become a good investment for your career development.

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