A good deal now versus buying with bigger debt later?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by luffytubby, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    My dilemma;

    I am a student, and for the next six years I will continue to be. While I am suffering from dyslexia, going to school has and is difficult, and it has meant that I always had to invest more time into studying than others. This has made my time allowance for part time jobs, lower, and thus I have been unable to save up for expensive things.

    I was going to take a massive(for me) loan in the bank, for a Thunderbolt Display + a high end Haswell refreshed Retina MBP 15 inch, and apple care and see if this setup could get me through the majority of the years at university, thus justifying the price of admission paying it off.

    The problem is that the interest rates a student like me gets are horrible. We are talking interest rates of 25-30% which means that if I take a loan of 5000 dollars, I am going to be paying the banks more than double the amount back over the course of four years. That is going to suck.

    Being 25 years old, having never taken a loan thus far, and still having not travelled and all that, I fear I underestimate the consequences by taking such a crazy loan.

    But alas, a guy I know told me about a deal for the employees of the reseller store he works at, were I can get a MBP15 with Retina Display, with interest rates at 1% over the next three years. It comes only with 8 gigs of ram which bumps me out, and not having all the wonders of haswell - faster CPU, GPU, integrated GPU, new wifi standards and all that.

    The problem is that this opportunity, is only for a few more days so I need to make a decision.

    So its not just a question of need-versus wait. its a question of debt that is fair, and crazy-debt to go even more all-in. taking the loans feel more lucrative because im going to be more future proofed and I can get all the accessories and thunderbolt display at the same time.

    but on the other hand, taking the inferior MBP15 retina now.. its a good deal, and it aint even refurbished.

    TL;DR - Im a 25 year old man of ignorance, who hopes that someone with more financial wisdom and life experience could give me advice on what to do.
  2. pockyrevolution macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    What kind of work do you plan to do with the machine?
    If more along the lines of Word docs and PowerPoints, I would pick up an older refurb: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro

    If you will be doing high end computing such as video editing, providing us more details could help us recommend a better machine for you.
  3. luffytubby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    Well, I think I am just a power user. Without a desktop now (had a nice gaming computer until a short while ago)!
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    I would get a base classic 13mbp and a 150 dollar 1080p monitor at bestbuy

    Being a student does not mean you need high end stuff

    I am a grad student and I have a base 13 mbp and it is mooooooooooore than enough

    I got through my undergrad in engineering with a base emac at the time and it was mooooore than enough

    To spend 5k on a machine as a student is beyond silly IMO. Save your money and get a cheaper setup.

    I would never take a loan out for a computer.
  5. DTKblaster macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2012
    If you need to take a loan out, then a mac is not for you. The cheapest windows notebook will get the job done, even if it aint pretty.
  6. luffytubby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    dont you feel hampered by the integrated graphics? My experience has been that it doesnt take a lot of tabs while browsing the web, before everything comes to a halt!
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    I browse routinely with sometimes up to 30tabs in one browser and a multitude in another and all sorts of apps open

    Never has been an issuer for me

    Then again, I don't game with my machine so graphics doesn't mean squat to me besides being able to run my apps
  8. hkim1983 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hm, I'm not sure which machines you were using, but the current crop of integrated graphics are fairly decent. If you need to do serious media creation or gaming, that's a different story, but for everyone else, it's more than adequate.

    I agree with everyone above me, you don't need to be spending this much. You need to be more specific with your actual computing needs, but it sounds like a cMBP 13" with an external monitor will be more than sufficient for you. That'll set you back approximately $1,300 before taxes, maybe less depending on what you'll accept for an external monitor.
  9. luffytubby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    Well to me,

    one of the benefits of Mac is how its all-in-one.

    I think the great thing about the rMBP 15 is it's versatility. It's basically the only desktop replacement computer that can call itself truly portable.

    The speakers, the retina display.

    For both recreational purposes, as well as work intensive - photoshop, indesign, illustrator and final cut pro. And adding to that my love of games, and watching movies in bed, I would call myself a hardcore laptop user.

    I dont have a tv, I dont have consoles, I've just been a laptop user for many, many years. I just felt I wanted the solid construction of the unibody, decent speakers, great battery, powerful, yet portable and something that can I live with for the next 3-4 years!

    but im worried, that the haswell leaps will be to steep. the 10% performance gains to CPU, GPU, 100% increase in integrated GPU, and who knows how much better battery life...

    at the other hand, I can get this 2.6 rMBP 15, 8 gigs of ram with 512 SSD, and apple care, without going into debt with interest rates, and just pay it off without crazy bank schemes.

    I think the latter is more sound, more plausible, yet I wonder if I will be dissatisfied later on.

    Or, actually - I know the current rMBP is fine for my needs. I only worry about two things;

    1) battery - since I use my laptop every day, for many hours, I am worried I will go through the rMBPs cycles very fast. I heard upgrading the battery in rMBP is very, very, expensive. Almost to the point were you might as well buy a new one.

    2) 8 gigs of ram. im not going to run virtual machines, but I might try parallels 8 for some stuff. im just not sure 8 gigs is enough down the road.
  10. IPadNParadise macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2013
    From an older financially experienced point of view, right now you are at the point in life where you need to look at your needs vs your wants. The time of life that you can (hopefully) look to your wants is later after you are more financially established. A non retina sounds like it can meet your needs. Maybe you can get a really good deal on something like that.
  11. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    By a reasonable PC with windows 8. No Mac worth debt for poor college student unless it has something related to your major that is a REQUIREMENT. If school work, internet and email is really all you do. You could buy a new computer every year for the price of the rMBPO and Thunderbolt display.

    BTW retina highly overated, and definetly not a requirement. So the screen is a LITTLE better, so what. Most software not to retina resolution anyway.

    Haswell, somewhat better, but I never believe in waiting for the next best thing. If you need one now, get it. If not, then wait. To me the 100% increased to the intel GPU is minor, since I mainly run the Nvida GPU.
  12. samuelk0814 macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2011
    I would wait and see if they offer that 1%deal on the Haswell version.
    If you need one now though I would get one
  13. Crzyrio macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    If you do not need one now then wait, usually I would say it doesnt matter but this is the 1st Gen Macbooks and you do plan on using it for the next 6 years so it might be worth it.

    As for the debt problem, the rMBP is deff worth it but the thunderbolt display is most deff not. I would suggest getting a 24in 1080p monitor from Canadacomputers Tigerdirect, for 150$ or so.
  14. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    A MBPr is a nice machine, as are thunderbolt displays. But you are just a student, so I don't think they are worth going into such heavy debt for.

    I make pretty good money running my own business and I could not even justify such a setup for my business. In fact, I sold off my iMac so I can buy the retina 15 inch and I have been using it to do all my business since. If its good enough to run an international corporation out of, it's good enough for a student - sans Thunderbolt display.

    Honestly, this is just lust and not real love for you. I know from experience once you start getting what you want you will want more of it. I can guarantee you that you will not be happy with the setup for more than 1 year when the new models are announced.

    And 6 years? FORGET ABOUT IT. By 6 years from now the MBPr will have undergone probably 2 major design changes and your equipment will feel like a dinosaur by comparison.

    The better strategy here is to get an Air and a regular external monitor if you need that kind of setup. Or if you go retina, leave it at that. No one outside professional photography NEEDS a 27" IPS display. Yeah, they are nice to have and if you got money sure, but going into debt? BAD IDEA.

    You have no idea what kind of debt you will need to take on in the future years as you need to buy books, school supplies, maybe have an emergency, etc. You don't want $5,000 of debt as your starting point for a computer.

    College is also a rough time and things happen in dorms and such. It will be easier to replace a $1299 MBA than a ~$5000 setup.

    Also it will be easier to find a buyer for an MBA or a cheaper piece of equipment so you can recoup costs and get the next upgrade.
  15. Arnezie macrumors 65816


    Oct 10, 2011
    Your looking past your means buy something cheaper maybe a $300 used Toshiba but never go in debt for wants.
  16. luffytubby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    Thanks for the advice guys! I hear what you are saying. I'm a technology buff and always want the latest.

    The fact is that my economy would be hurting every month for the next three years if I dropped in now! Hopefully I will make some more cash in the future! Maybe then!

    Thanks again!
  17. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    I'm not sure what your financial situation is but if you apply for FAFSA, it typically covers a bit more than what you actually need. If you wont be dorming, you'll get a nice refund check. The student loan interest rates are not as high as if you took out a loan directly from a bank. Check with the school for details. They might even be able to take out a higher loan for you if you tell them you need extra money.

    There is also what's called a PLUS loan that depending on your credit, you may be eligible for. Interest rates are a lot lower than banks.

    At this point you have to ask yourself if the retina/TBD will benefit your disability. I don't know much about dyslexia.
  18. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    Good choice! Just stick with what you need. I know how it is cause I'm a tech buff too, but I would not be taking on debt for a computer. Always buy in cash or pay it off that same month.

    I am sure you will pick up some extra work, maybe do some side jobs, fix computers for people for some extra cash, etc. and before you know it you can buy the machine of your dreams with a clear conscience.

    Again good choice! You can sleep easier without debt.
  19. HKSSS macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2012
    It sounds like you want the best thing but you only need lower spec models and can't afford it.
  20. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    No duh. :rolleyes:
  21. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    I agree, but with a caveat.

    It depends on how you are "going into debt". If you're swimming in debt, then don't do it. But if you're only spending a few thousand at most, for an investment that will last and give utility over the course of your undergrad, that's not a bad idea (that's key -- if you're not going to use it for a long time, then you're throwing money away, but that's obvious... some people get upgrade fever.)

    I like to think of it in terms of utility. Like all things, the marginal utility of having each additional dollar decreases, there are diminishing returns. When you're a broke college student, a thousand dollars is a tremendous amount. (If you only have a dollar, it is worth the world to you.) But when you're out and making a living, it is still a large and non-trivial amount, but it's just not as big of a deal. (If you've got 100K in the bank, you really don't care much about that additional 100,001st dollar.)

    So if you save up all your money throughout undergrad, and don't use it, by the time you're done and have a decent job, all the potential utility of it will be diluted and diminished. In terms of happiness, you are better of spending some of it and enjoying it and your life.

    That said, use common sense. Don't spend all your money. Don't go into ridiculous debt. Don't buy excessively extravagant things beyond your needs. But, it's okay to splurge every now and then. Just be sensible.
  22. Arnezie macrumors 65816


    Oct 10, 2011
    Cash is king my friend debt is dumb. never I mean NEVER would going into debt be the best idea when there are options of much cheaper computers out there, it's thought processes like yours that keep people in debt. You know how to stay out of debt DON'T GET IN IT! Google Dave Ramsey and listen to a few episodes of his. And sure it's ok to splurge now and then when you have the cash but stupid to splurge on your credit!
  23. Haifisch macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2012
    Don't go into debt for luxury items. And yes, any mac is a luxury item for a student, if you are doing email, internet, word processing, and spreadsheets. Get a $500 Windows machine and call it a day. Or find a used mac.

    I've "been there, done that." I wasn't stupid, but I wasn't frugal either. I could be further ahead in life now had I been smarter. If you can live at home, do it. Those who think it's okay to blow cash while you have it is not giving you the best advice either. If you are young and single, chances are, you gotta save for downpayment for a house, car, getting married, reno a house, child, savings, student loan repayments, etc. You really don't have disposable income until most of those things are settled. Sorry for being depressing but that is reality.
  24. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    As others have said, don't get a bank loan when you're in college. buy what you can afford and treat yourself to a nice computer on graduation/new job, etc. Seriously, it's a terrible idea.
  25. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Listen to this.

    This computer isn't "an investment" unless you escpect to use it to generate revenue, in which case the loan would be OK if the additional revenue you would get from owning the machine at least covered the interest payments and depreciation.

    If that's not the case (and it sounds like it isn't), then you want to stick to what you can actually afford if the interest rate on the loan is anything higher than zero. The nice thing about Apple products is that they generally last a long time and perform well over time, so buying an older machine can still give you useful performance over a decent lifespan.

    Were I you, I would consider purchasing a base 2010 or 2011 uMBP-13 or uMBP-15 and upgrade it aftermarket. Your cost for the computer should be well under to $1000 or so depending on which model you get. The 2011s will come with Thunderbolt as well so you can run a an ATD should that fit into your budget.

    Good Luck


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