Dad trying to control which computer I buy

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SirJ, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. SirJ macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Hey everyone,

    I am currently a high school senior - soon to be an alumni. I'm currently in a small town in Iowa, but I'll be headed off to college on the West Coast. Since I'll be traveling quite a bit (flights to and from CA) and the distance I'll be walking each day, I want to get a macbook air. Of course, being a longtime PC user I've been nothing short of ecstatic when considering the idea of running around (not literally) with my air.
    Earlier today took my mom to Best Buy to show her the computer and familiarize her with it. We got home and she told my dad and that's where this all begins.

    After telling my dad, he informed me that "You will not be buying a high end Mac. You'll get a middle-of-the-road, average Mac and that will be fine for you." As a champion smartass, as well as an incredibly sarcastic person, I responded with, "Great! So you're paying for it, then?" Since we've both known that I'm paying for my own computer, he said no. I pressed him on this issue and he said, "You'll use your money for books. You have no idea what kind of expenses you're going to encounter. You'll save your money and use that for books and other expenses."
    We are fairly well off financially (given the current market and economic situation, which has had an effect on our portfolio), and of course we are trying to save a lot of money in the even that something unforeseen does occur. However, as stated before, this laptop will be purchased with my money. I've worked hard over the past 2 years (and will continue through the summer) and have saved more than enough for at least two years of books and a macbook air and the other things I'll need for college. I am fortunate enough to say that money is not an issue in this matter.

    What are your thoughts on this? What should I say to my dad regarding his views against my own? I will admit, an extra 2 lbs is nothing to me - I'm an all-district football player and can handle just about any weight. The macbook air is, of course, a luxury. But it's a luxury that I can afford and I want.
    I am only 18 years old and am not wise in the ways of the world. Does anyone have advice for me? Can those of you who are more mature than me think of something that might convince my dad to back off? Or should I just shut up and be happy with a macbook?

  2. sn00pie macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    United States
    Just shutup and be happy with a Macbook. :p

    Good luck in college btw
  3. MasterNile macrumors 65816


    Apr 9, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    If it's going to be your main computer, I'd go with a MacBook instead of MBA, that way you save money and build muscle :p

    Besides the MB is a more powerful machine, if I were to get a MBA I would have to have some kind of desktop to go with it and that's a lot of money to spend for a secondary computer.
  4. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003
    Get the 999 white macbook. Save the rest of the money for a little while. Unless you're a graphic arts major, you can get by on a macbook. There's always cool stuff around the corner, I say save now and get the new hot thing later.
  5. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    having a son in school which is costing us over $5k a month he doesn't dare bitch about what he has. he is not doing without with but at one point i told him to very nicely to shut up an stop his whining.

    In using your words yes your advice to shut up and be happy with the mac book is very good advice to yourself.
  6. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    It's your money so you get to spend it. If you asked your parents to pay for it, then that's another story. Tell your Dad that if he wants you to buy the MB, then he'll pay for it, but if the MBA then you pay for all of it.
  7. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Shut up and be happy with the MacBook.

    Not because your dad said so, but because the MacBook is a much better value, especially if it's going to be your only computer. You'll be glad to have an optical drive and the faster CPU for more than $500 less.

    I admit I lusted over the MacBook Air, but after some serious contemplation (and ever-disappearing Benjamins), I decided to stick with my iMac as my main computer, and my 2002 (yes, that's year 2002) Compaq laptop for travel and exams.
  8. Lurchdubious macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2008
    IMO you're gonna regret the lack of memory the Air has. Do you like music? movies on your hard drive? Sure the Air is pretty, but as your main computer it would really suck.

    I've been in college for over 6 years (finally in professional school now, lol). Do yourself a favor and get the higher end aluminum macbook.
  9. SirJ thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Thanks for everyone's response.

    bruinsrme, you seem to be the exact kind of person from whom I wanted a response. I completely understand that college is no cheap matter (I also have a brother in school and a sister 2 years behind).

    Your advice is very blunt and very powerful. Thanks for your contribution - I think you changed my mind. I don't want to come off as ungrateful - I've been fortunate in many regards and realize that - but I often feel like my parents are too controlling, particularly in the financial arena, and have been frustrated many times with their curt responses of "you're not buying that."

    That's certainly not to say that I want to buy a macbook air just to piss them off. I have many reasons to purchase one, but I'm not sure this is worth starting a war within our household...
  10. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    You have a lot to learn in life son.
    If you want something that bad and your parents aren't paying for it then get the ****ing thing when you head off to school.
  11. Dan in PA macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2009
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Saving the extra money for unknown expenses is probably sound advice, no matter how financially well-off you are. I'm wrapping up my first year of university, and my new MacBook has served me very well. I'd want the Pro if I was a graphic arts's your money, I think you should be allowed to buy the air. But if your parents are paying for's their call:cool:
  12. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    you're going to have a tough time finding an 'average', 'middle-of-the-road' macbook.

    and if you were to find one... the MBA would be it.

    respect your elders man. your dad raised you and is sending you to college.

    i can't imagine anything either of my lower spec macs can't do - and as a fulltime student, for school these things are absolutely fantastic!
  13. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    With respect to your parents - somehow, infuriatingly, mom is always right. And you said it, something like this is not worth starting a war over.

    Besides, you'll have lots of buying opportunities when you're on your own. Personally, I always subscribed to the theory of "better to ask forgiveness than permission" when dealing with my own purchases. ;) Sometimes I'd play the "how long will it take them to notice" game... :D Dad learned to frown a bit and shake his head, but accepted that I take responsibility for my choices.

    With respect to your choice of computer -- the guys are right, an Air would not be a good choice for a primary computer. Get a MacBook, or an iMac, and if you really need an ultra portable, get an Air later, or consider a Hackintosh netbook....
  14. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    My son's major is in animation, ALL PC software so no need to buy the fully loaded MBP, he wanted to divert the funds to a LOADED alien. He was rather bitter to the answer of NO!!!!
    But now he is very happy that he didn't get the alien because during his first 2 semesters there is enough money in reserve that his apartment can be upgraded to something much bigger.
    Pinch pennies where ever you can because your priorities are going to change after you get into school.
    If you can get an open box or refurb look to save there. Don't forget you may need a decent bag, printer, monitor and other iems.

    not buying the alien, my son has a 37inch plasma, xbox360, printer, mouse, keyboard, external monitor.
  15. Boxer757 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    You are getting good advice here. The MBA is slick but really the new MB is a more powerful machine that will get more done. Bigger HD, better processor, and the list goes on and on. The only thing the MBA has over it in my opinion is a slight edge in size, weight, and looks. But that is all cosmetic and should not make a big impact on your decision from a practical standpoint. I definitely understand your wanting the MBA but really it is not practical for your situation and you would actually be handicapping yourself IMHO.

    I relate to your situation very well. I am about to graduate college but only 4 short years ago I was graduating from HS, from a fairly well off family, I was also an all-district football player, I had spare cash and I also had a taste for nice things. I've learned alot since then and though it may seem your dad is being harsh, he is truly looking out for your best interest. Right now I have the money and the freedom to buy whatever the hell I want but the funny thing is that I still consult my father before making any "big" purchases. He knows alot more than I do and will for a very long time.

    Down the road you will be happy you saved the money as well.

    Just my two cents. Good luck with your decision.
  16. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Beer and condoms cost money. Save your money for those "expenses"

    Both machines are good but buy it in the summer. Get a free iPod if that promo is still going.
  17. j5045096 Guest

    Oct 27, 2007
    To quote Bill Cosby: "your mother and I are rich you have nothing".

    The reality will soon hit you (unless your parents just give you their money) that your on the brink of having to make it on your own; money IS an issue now son. The MacBook Air is a waste of money; don't be a putz and make the same mistakes America made to get into the mess they're in right now; buy the practical choice (MB) and put the rest of the money into savings or buy some stocks or something right now -they're about as cheap as they've been in a long time and you obviously can afford to lose a few hundred bucks; the potential upside is enormous for you.
  18. drossad macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2008
    No matter how curt his response was, he's right. Your father may have trouble communicating in an effective manner, but he is only looking out for you and wants what is best for you. Plus, he's been around the block a few more times than you.

    Two reasons you should get the unibody Macbook:

    1. It will last longer in terms of specs and retaining it's value. You want this computer to be useable for at least 3-4 years.

    2. If your parents are paying for your college, then they should have a say in what tools you buy to help you.

    I really think you will be happier with the MB in the long run. MBA's are only beneficial for certain people, and it doesn't sound like you are one of them.
    Go for the MB. You won't be sorry you did it.
  19. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The MBA is in a less rugged frame, like the old MBP was ... for college we tended to tell people to skip the more expensive machines and buy the MacBook.

    Before the major reasons were, the MB Pro premium was better spent on food, and the plastic MacBook was more rugged.

    Not that the Unibody is out it is a bit tougher, while the LCD is still fragile, the MB and MBP will both work with broken screens and neither squish as easy as the old one.


    Still we'd say MB and the Plastic one if you can hack it, since a drunk roomate or you will push the machine onto the floor at some point the day before a paper is due.

    Buy the MBA if you can afford to buy a second one at a moments notice.
  20. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
    Well I believe that if you are paying for it with your own money then your dad should offer advice but not force you or make your decisions. Plus your going to start living on your own so its time that the two voices inside your head(mom and dad telling you what to do) stop. Pretty soon your going to have to start making decisions and they will not be there to hold your hand.

    BUT I seriously think people should only buy a MBA if they have a main computer. MBA are really meant to act as a second computer. Plus they lack features/ abilities that normal computers have. Plus not to mention it's slow and lacks upgrade options. Oh and it is more expensive.

    And yeah as others are saying, buy in the summer for the free iPod and do not forget to take advantage of the discount.
  21. petermcphee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
  22. Psychmike macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2008
    It's painful how horrible we can be at communication sometimes. If I can make a suggestion: try to take the grain of truth in what your dad is saying and read the emotional subtext. Let me take a shot at translating. Consider me an expert after several years of painful interactions with my own dad! (We get along much better these days.)

    "Son, I love you very much and I am worried that you will be moving so far away from home. I worry that you're spending so much money now and may regret it later and I'll be too far away to help. What if you meet a nice girl and want to take her on a trip? What if you run into some unexpected expenses? Please just consider that the extra $500 might be something that is more important to you later than it is now. Of course, I worry too much and I can't protect you forever, but a lot of my life has involved being your dad and the one thing I can do is to try to offer my advice on this issue."

    I say go for the MB too but in the end it doesn't really matter. Whatever you do, I'm sure you'll be fine. But let your dad know that too.
  23. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    There's a lot of bad advice in this thread, ranging from illogical to flat out wrong. This, for example, is simply untrue:

    For the record, the Air has the same NVIDIA GPU as the MacBook and base iMacs.

    The facts as I see them are: you're buying this with your money. As such, while your father should be entitled to have input, the final decision should be yours. He's also entitled to tell you things like "Buy the Air, but don't call me asking for money for books because you blew it all on that computer."

    But the final decision should be yours.

    There is good advice in this thread, but it's all stuff you already know. The Air is expensive, and you could get buy with a cheaper machine. But if you really want the Air, and you can afford it while still having money left over for books etc., then go for it.

    You're going to university: dad's not going to be there to make decisions for you any more, so this is as good a time as any for both of you to get used to that. And it sounds like he might need some time to get his head around that fact.

    FWIW, I had to fight a little with my parents to get a Mac. It was an expensive machine compared to what was available from Dell or Toshiba, but I made the right choice. :)
  24. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Already many have provided some great advice.

    I would like to add that it's great to learn thrift and practicality early in life. Many of us find this out the hard way after pissing away many dollars over the years.

    Our parents simply want the best for us, which is too learn these valuable lessons. And then we in turn as parents try to pass them on to our children.

    Unfortunately, many lessons must be learned the hard way in life.

    OP, consider yourself lucky that your parents are trying to help you lean these valuable lessons. Get a MB and be happy. :)
  25. budkid macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    buying college textbooks sucks. It burns a hole in your wallet.

    But I do hope you find decent macbook for college.

    Are you going to school in NorCal or SoCal?

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