Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

This is so ghetto

When I moved out of the crime ridden ghetto into this much quieter neighborhood I made myself a promise.  I would rid myself of all the years and years of accumulated STUFF.  I promised I would not be afraid to throw away something or be worried I couldn’t replace it.  Hoarding broken and useless stuff is common among the poor.  I may be an expert at being poor but I’m determined not to look poor any longer.  I’m determined my home will look thrifty but not ghetto anymore.

I’m tired of broken, rigged up, and glued together STUFF.  I want NEW stuff.  Ok, I know I can’t afford everything new but that doesn’t stop me from wanting new things. I have a lifetime’s worth of thrift store finds, yard sale items, road side rescues, and other people’s discarded furniture.  I ask myself, isn’t it time I got newer used STUFF?  I’m not opposed to having used furniture but even that can only last for so long.  Eventually things need to be replaced with newer used and repaired things.

When I found this bargain, not long after I moved into my house, I jumped for it.  A brand new, in the box, computer desk from a clearance sale.  I got it 50% off for $54 and I had a gift card for $20 bringing my final cost to $34.  I was so excited!  This means I can move the grey fold up picnic table currently being used to storage or for some other purpose.

New, still in the box, computer desk

I found the desk very near the same time I was given a newer used computer as a housewarming gift from a friend.  Both the computer and the desk just sat in their boxes over the last year as I went about my daily work of quilting.  Because the quilting machine is not working I’ve got time to do some organizing.  So; last week I decided to let the a computer guy help get the smaller computer working because it will fit the desk better.  I wrote about that in my last post.  Well just look at what I have now.  Yes, that’s two computers and two monitors setting on a gray fold up picnic table.  I shudder to think how much electricity this set up is using.

When I want to write a blog post I plug up the computer and monitor on the left.  If I want to add photos to the post I must unplug that computer and monitor; move to the other computer and monitor and plug them in.  I upload the photos from the camera to that computer and then upload them to my blog photo library.

Now unplug that computer and monitor; re-plug the others again and finish writing the post.  All my business files are on one computer and can only be printed by that one because the printer doesn’t work with the other one.

He did put copies of all my photos onto a tiny little thing he called a jump.  Or was it a flash?  Anyway, he ran out of room on it so the business files are still on the first computer.  Oh, and I can’t forget that I have a third computer without a monitor, mouse, and keypad.  Its wifi enabled just in case I want to work on a computer in another room.  In which case I’d have to move a monitor, mouse, and keyboard back and forth from room to room.

Now seriously, does this computer set up look totally ghetto or what?  Does it look like I’m getting rid of STUFF?  Don’t misunderstand, I’m grateful that the man did what he could to help me.  Its not his fault that all the computer things I had were really old and won’t talk with each other.  This will be the set up until I’m able to figure out exactly what I need in a computer and printer or where I’m going to get one.

I’ve never actually bought a brand spanking new computer before.  I’ve always accepted other people’s discards.  I’m thinking Amazon might have something close to new that would work for me.  However; I don’t have a clue about what I need to look for or how to find a good bargain.  I could go to a store and ask but they are “selling” so how can I be sure of getting only what I need and not being sold their top of the line commission sale?   What would a good low to mid range computer cost?  The only thing I know for sure is everything should be wifi enabled and to talk with each other.  If I get a wifi computer does that mean I can get rid of the black box thing I rent from ATT?  Is it possible I can buy a wifi thing and stop renting one?  Should I go to some computer repair places to ask about used ones?  Maybe I should wait for the Christmas sales? Or look for an off to college sale?  Hmm… a list of requirements and some internet research seems to be a logical path.  It will be much easier and faster than taking a bus to look.

Well, this is the first post on my ghetto set up computers.  Hope it goes through ok.  Any advice for me would be greatly appreciated.

28 comments on “This is so ghetto

  1. maris
    September 24, 2017

    I have a new in box D link cloud router I would send it to you if you like

    • Anita
      September 24, 2017

      Sure. I guess. What is it? By router I believe you mean something to do with the internet?

  2. jestjack
    September 24, 2017

    Do you have access to a “rewards program” from your credit card company. The computer I use now I “bought” with rewards dollars from the CC company’s website…And when it arrived it was in a Best Buy box along with info about Best Buy handling the warranty. It has served me well. As others have said be careful when buying because the new stuff all runs on Windows 10 and A LOT of things like printers won’t work. I have a fairly new printer that can’t be used because of this and the manufacturer nor Microsoft will offer a solution….such a waste. As for things getting more and more expensive….I couldn’t agree more. I’m VERY tempted to do away with cable and internet as it goes for almost $100 a month now. I’m within walking distance of a Senior Center that provides FREE WiFi and a computer lab with two dozen computers. In addition I live within 2 miles of the library and that internet is free there as well…..Now to get the DW on board…..Hmmmm….

    • Anita
      September 24, 2017

      I don’t use credit cards but thanks for the suggestion. I’m within walking distance of the library. I’ve been thinking of using their computers for awhile and give up the ATT internet.

  3. Kathy in CA
    September 23, 2017

    Dear Anita, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Internet Service PC’s for People (pcsforpeople.com)? My brother found it last spring and I’ve been using it for 4 months. It costs $10-$12/month and you have to buy the little modem for $75 so there is an initial outlay but you get unlimited service and it actually works unlike the other low-cost services I’ve tried. There are eligibility requirements as it’s for low-income people but if someone meets them they’re really a high-quality operation, in my experience. I’ve had awful services before. Best of luck. Kathy

    • Anita
      September 24, 2017

      Thanks, I’ll check it out.

  4. Lilli
    September 23, 2017

    I bought a small HP for school two years ago. It was junk and after the third repair, the Wal-Mart extended warranty gave me a gift card for the full amount. I used a little extra money and upgraded to a Lenovo. I love my computer but seem to only use it for printing coupons. I find myself using the cheap Kindle I bought last year . We just cancelled our two year special price internet when the price was jacked up. My son called in and set up a new account in his name for the same special pricing. I need to double check on what buying the modem would cost to buy versus the charge we sure are paying. Between dvd’s and free channels we have lots to watch. My amazon prime was bought for half price ( 50.00 )using my student email which is good for 4 years. After that , I will switch over to my son’s college email to start a new account. Two people can share an account. There are always free trial offers for hulu, netflx , hbo, showtime, starz, bbc, direct tv and sling. Googling for these deals often shows bonuses. But 3 months of Hulu get a free roku I will be changing my cellphone over to Sprint this week for their free year of talk text and data. At the end of the year I will switch my number somewhere else. This reminds me of changing long distance carrier in the old days to get cash bonuses. Being poor and moving around the special offers is the only way we can enjoy extra anything..

  5. basisbyte
    September 23, 2017

    Hi nana, first time commenter but following the blog for a while from South East Asia. You might want to lookup “Chuwi” computers. I’m a programmer by profession and in regards to hardware I’m super thrifty, as I don’t see a reason to spend a fortune on the newest shiny-shiny. My computer I’m using daily is actually a Lenovo 100s 11.6 i bought for 180 dollar brand new 1.5 years ago. Weighs less then a kilo, uses nearly no power at all and works 8 hours on one charge. Actually my next will be one from the Chuwi lineup as this company offers the best stuff for the lowest amount of dollars. They are actually a Chinese producer with the ambition to produce notebook computers with a high end finish, for a much lower price then Apple and Microsoft for example. Think alloy bodys, high end displays and the like. Their 15.6 inch notebook sells brand new for around 150 dollars for example – i think some american retailers have them otherwise orde it directly at banggood.com or aliexpress. Harddisk is not the biggest, you might want to look into an external one for around 30 sth dollar. Battery life should be awesome and as the computer has a low power cpu and no physical harddisk it consumes approx between 1/10th to 1/20th of what these desk computers consume power wise. Low power still means more then enough for what you want to do, as ling as you’re not a gamer. Amongst thrifty computer people this brand has a good reputation. Hope this helps a little. Thanks for your great blog :), Klaus

    • basisbyte
      September 23, 2017

      Just wanted to the link so it saves the searching work – its this computer I’m talking about http://m.chuwi.com/mobilep/index/Chuwi-LapBook156.html – not an affiliate link, just a well meant recommendation 🙂

    • Anita
      September 23, 2017

      Thanks Klaus, I’ll have a look at them. I like the idea of using little electricity. I’ve never heard of Chuwi computers but maybe other people have. Any suggestions do help me to learn more.

  6. Tish
    September 22, 2017

    US Micro has refurbished laptops. I just bought a refurbished HP elite laptop for $267 (free shipping). Look for one that is 8GB, rather than 4GB. They are very reliable and refurbished laptops that corporations lease. The HPs and Lenovos are corporate workhorses and better than the ones sold in stores to consumers.

    • Anita
      September 23, 2017

      What or who is US Micro? How do I find what they offer? I’ll have a look at them.

  7. Linda in NE
    September 21, 2017

    Others have given you good advice. Decide what you need a computer for and then buy one that does those things. Remember all newer computers will be Windows 10 (if it’s a PC) and those don’t like to “talk” to older computers or use older peripherals like printers or scanners. So be sure those are Windows 10 compatible. If it was me, I’d get a nice laptop with the built in wifi adapter with a 15″ monitor, then keep your big monitor and full size keyboard. They can be plugged into the laptop & can make typing and seeing what’s on the screen much easier. By the way, once files are saved to the flash drive they can then be saved to the new computer, the drive can be erased and more files can be moved between computers using the same method. I have faith that you will get it all figured out, get rid of all the extras, and put that spiffy little desk to good use.

    • Anita
      September 23, 2017

      Thanks Linda, I believe a lap top with a built in wifi will be best for me and a wifi printer too. Thanks, I’ll keep the monitor and key pad to use. I can see how they will help me.

  8. carenowplease
    September 21, 2017

    I’m no expert but my understanding is you will need an internet provider like AT and T or Comcast or Time Warner. Wifi devices just don’t need to be plugged in to the modem.

    I just use a little lap top now and plug it into the printer to do invoices etc.

    When I get rid of internet, which is now $76 a month, I can take it to the library or most coffee places to check emails and read the few websites I like to look at.

    I can check emails on my kindle too, if I travel ( rare now ) I take it with me.

    I have printed out blank invoices I can just write on in the event of a power outage. Always seems to happen at most inconvenient time.

    Have been experimenting with ordering food online this week, may not work well as we have another flood warning after heavy rain. After the Harvey floods in August/Sept mail arrived which had clearly been under water- would not fancy food in that state!

    I can see a day when I will give up on the computer, if it becomes more trouble than it is worth. I think I could use the library computer for documents, email and websites, which is all I use it for.

    My son got me this computer but I think it was ‘refurbished’, it works fine for email, documents and internet. I think it was less than $200 with the tax and shipping.

    • Anita
      September 21, 2017

      Yes, I do have ATT wifi and rent their device for $20 a month. I just found out I can buy my own device and stop renting this one. I can imagine someday not having internet too. The cost keeps rising but my income stays the same. I remember the day I gave up cable. Wow did it feel good. I went through the house and cut all the connections coming through the walls. Air tv is so much better. But we can’t have a good thing very long. Somebody always figures out how to make money from it. Hmm… now that you mention it, I really don’t need much in a computer. A word processor, internet, and printer with wifi are my only needs. The video editing is an add on software. Hey, thanks.

      • carenowplease
        September 21, 2017

        My modem costs $10 a month to rent, I could buy one for less but I don’t know how to set it up and at the next opportunity I plan to get rid of the internet service anyway.

        HOA stuck us all with cable so I am enjoying watching it because I sure as hell would not buy it in future.

        I envision my future not with mindless hours surfing the internet or watching tv but completing a few writing projects I started years ago, reading, painting. I can get a little radio and listen to that.

        We lived without all this stuff before and we will live without it again is my mantra!

        I’m tired of everything being a revolving door of ever-increasing expenses and traps to spending.

        • Anita
          September 23, 2017

          Me too! Its a spend, spend, spend world. You either spend money to have services or you spend money to not have the same services. Either way, they get your money.

  9. sarasinart
    September 21, 2017

    All that would be so frustrating. I’m pretty computer dumb and can’t help you, but wish you good luck!

    • Anita
      September 21, 2017

      thanks

  10. janeisgreenJane
    September 21, 2017

    Wow, what a pain in the you-know-where! Years ago, I had a little money set aside and decided to buy a brand new computer. I’ve always used Macs, so I bought an iMac with a big screen. There is no separate computer and monitor. They’re both in one very thin (like a new tv screen) monitor. I finally bought wifi thing a couple of years ago, so I pay no rent for anything. I bought a cheap printer that is connected via wifi, too. Macs are more expensive than PCs, but this has lasted me many years already with no problems.

    • janeisgreenJane
      September 21, 2017

      BTW, I have no television, so watch movies and TV shows on DVDs from the library and on YouTube, on my computer, too. The screen itself measures 18.5″ x about 10.5,” plenty big enough to watch movies and tv shows.

      • Anita
        September 21, 2017

        That’s about the same size as my tv.

    • Anita
      September 21, 2017

      Yup, a pain. I rent a wifi thing from ATT and just found out I don’t need to rent it. I can buy my own device and just pay for the service. After I moved here I originally got the wifi for Ladybug to use her tablet when she visits. She’s the one who showed me how to find a movie on the computer then tell it to play on the tv. Then she showed me how to use the roku stick to watch PBS shows and the news channels. Both the tv and the roku were Christmas gift and birthday gift last year. Maybe this year it will be a new computer and printer. IF I can figure out exactly what I need then put it on my Santa list. I do not have cable. I have air tv.

  11. Kathi
    September 21, 2017

    oh my. now THAT is pretty crazy Anita. I did recently bite the bullet and get a new computer. I did NOT transfer ANYTHING from old computer as I thought it had a viris and was not taking any chances on anything. (remember me? the ocd/paranoid one? giggle) Yes, I lost a lot of stuff. I did NOT purchase Microsoft Office, mainly because seems it’s more leased than owned. NOPE. I did find a “free” semi office like program but there is a LOT different and things I can’t do. yet I hope. My “business forms” were lost. Well, I made em before and can make em again. I did get new computer and printer to work together, but my printer was only, oh, 5 years old or so. GOOD LUCK is all I can say. would another “flash drive” or “stick” as I call them help? transfer MORE stuff to that stick? working with TWO computers is rather “odd” to be kind. but I so get it. Oh, and a wifi enabled computer, good, but I think you will still need a wi fi house box of some kind. YOu seem to need a BETTER computer Geek. GOOD LUCK friend.

    • Anita
      September 21, 2017

      I’m not actually transferring anything. I’m putting them on one of those little plug in things that stores photos and documents. I’m getting a free version of office something or other. Its all I really need to type up blank invoices or charts and stuff. This little stick thing he gave me is about an inch long by about half an inch wide and only about a quarter inch thick. Tiniest thing I’ve ever seen to have 20 GB memory. It has about 6,000 high resolution photos on it. I’m only keeping the one computer in order to print hard copies of all my business stuff. I’ll use them as a guide to, like you said, make them again. This is only a temporary situation. I can put up with temporary so long as I know there is an end coming.

  12. craftytadpole
    September 21, 2017

    In my experience, computer stuff goes on sale after the kids go back to school and in January. I have also found that good tools are always worth it. Good luck.

    • Anita
      September 21, 2017

      You’re right. The best sales are after the event. Like candy after Halloween or Easter and toys after Christmas. I forgot. Thanks for the reminder.

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