How I put a $1700 dent in our budget with a simple error


Asus desktop with 4th Gen intelcorei7, 16GB Ram, 2TB Hard drive and Windows 8

Nothing Lasts Forever If You Are Careless

If you follow me here at Canadian Budget Binder you know I am a big fan of having an emergency savings fund and using a budget. Every month I post our budget and net worth update to show how we made out for the month and areas we need to improve on or we feel we are on target or exceeding with.

Unfortunately not every month is going to be a good month and sometimes we have to suck it up and move on just like we’ll have to this month with a silly error that cost us $1700 but the buck didn’t stop there let me assure you. We often ask ‘how can I protect my computer from viruses?’ but sometimes you also need to ask yourself ‘how can I protect my computer from myself?’

Water in computer

It all started one evening when I was sitting in my office minding my own business with beverage chatting to my fans on Facebook for my nightly What’s for Dinner post when I accidentally spilled water on the keyboard of my netbook. It was not a happy site and I frantically tried to dry up the mess and if you were here you would have thought I was a right nutter blowing on the keys, pretty much doing anything I could to dry up the liquid that would potentially ruin my netbook.

It only took a few minutes to realize something was wrong and to be honest I was not surprised. I had lost the ability to use 3 keys on my netbook because the water had done the damage to the keyboard like I had expected it to although I was still being optimistic that it would dry up and in the morning everything would be back to normal and life would go on. Wrong!

Nothing changed come morning and although I did as much research as I could on spilled water in computer or a pcfix there really wasn’t much of a solution other than ‘keep your damn drinks away from your computer’. I pretty much agreed 100% after the fact of me spilling water on the computer that it was the only smart idea.

Buying a new computer

I still have a PC in the house and that was my saving grace and another net book but it’s not mine it’s the wife’s so I wasn’t going to invade her computer so I started looking online for a new laptop to purchase. I really wanted to spend my money wisely but not cheap out at the same time, so snagging a great deal would be optimal.

Our desk top PC is so old it was running on G wireless when all the rest of our computers were on N which meant the PC slowed everyone down to G. It only had a 40gb hard drive so space was at a premium too. I’ve contemplated for the last couple of years to buy a new PC but I wasn’t prepared to just yet as I needed to sort out this laptop issue of mine. We went to Future shop after I did some research and had a look around.

In no time at all we had a sales associate helping us and we went through our options which were plenty but ended up picking a Toshiba Satellite laptop with a 15.6 inch screen, intelcorei7, 16GB Ram/1TB space, awesome graphics and audio plus so much more. By the time you factor in all the taxes, office 365 package, anti-virus and I admit I paid for them to get is all ready to rock and roll as I just didn’t have the time.

I actually paid for a convenience that I felt was worth it to me for $100. When all was said and done the laptop rang in at a cool $1349 and no i did not bother with the extended warranty. When I did the math it really made no sense to me because over the life of the warranty I would have paid enough to purchase a brand new laptop so what was the purpose?

It’s been one week now since this beauty has been in our home and I just love it. I’m not so keen on the Windows 8 as it’s a lot of fluffing about but I’m slowly getting used to it. I opted not to get the touch screen simply because it was just another gadget to go wrong and I pretty much could care less about that. So just as all of this was starting to settle in, the big purchase and all I manage to screw up again. Oh I know I’m an accident waiting to happen every single day.

I run every single day and this particular day I was running and texting (I know, I know) and of course sweating like a hog. Well if a few drops of sweat didn’t fall on to my wife’s cellphone and all of a sudden the bloody phone stopped working. If you were in ear shot you would have heard every word under the sun starting with the letter F, S, D and FFS you’ve got to be kidding me.

We don’t have cell phone insurance because the phone is so old even the older people look at it and laugh. Some kids even say, wow where did you get that Mrs. CBB lol. Just goes to show you how technology evolves so quickly and how some generations are in awe when they see old school gadgets like ours.

Water on cell phone

When i was done my run I took a shower like usual and started researching what I needed to do if anything to get this phone working again as I didn’t want to have to buy her a new phone. That and she was probably going to ring my neck for being such a moron although sometimes I can’t help it, hey I’m a guy leave me alone. She’s been bugging me to upgrade for the past couple of months and I did give in and say go for it.

The reality is she’s been with Rogers for over 12 years now with a cell phone and no plan so she might as well get a contract and be done with it. She didn’t waste any time and was on the phone to Rogers and was able to negotiate with Rogers wireless for a decent cell phone plan.

I ended up on the advice of my friend who I called because he is brilliant with this kind of stuff and he told me to put the cell phone in a bag of rice. I know it sounds odd but it worked. When I tried the phone in the morning it was back up and running and I was smiling. Mrs. CBB on the other hand was frowning because now she doesn’t have to go and get the new cell phone even though I said for her to get it. She said not yet but she’s the worst decision maker so we’ll just see how many times she changes her mind.

They say bad luck comes in three’s and that it did this past week. So we got the cell phone sorted out and the new laptop up and running and we thought everything would be fine. Wrong again. The PC started going on the fritz now and was dropping the wireless signal every few minutes. I was struggling to get online more than normal as you see this has been going on for weeks.

I was on wireless with the old pc and it was really old and I finally said to my wife, listen we’ve worked hard, saved our money and have no debts at all. Let’s just get a new PC for the office and a good one so it lasts us so we aren’t struggling to get online and the PC is not wasting our time as it’s so slow. It would take me ages to get anything done plus there was no sound card and the Cd-Rom drive didn’t work so it was pretty much a dinosaur computer to most.

Back to Future Shop we go…… they loved us this past week.

New desktop computer

Well we had to make a decision on a new desktop computer and although there were some fancy new all-in-one type desktops that are similar to a giant laptop we opted not to go that route. They seemed like fancy gadgets that were bound to mess up and cost me more than I was interested in paying for especially since they weren’t near as fast as putting a system together purchasing the desktop and monitor separate.

I ended up getting an LG 27″ border-less LED monitor which cost me a bit more money just over $300 and an Asus desktop with 4th gen intelcorei7, 16GB Ram, 2TB Harddrive and Windows 8 and all the same features that are on the lap top pretty much minus the webcam which I will just buy separate. It goes like shite off a shovel and I’m so happy with this computer. In the end the total for the desktop rang in at just over $1700 with the MS Office, anti-virus and set-up plus all other taxes and fees. It even comes with a music maker so I can mix and cut my own tunes… watch out MC CBB is coming soon! Overall, this desktop computer is amazing and is the one in the photo you see above.

How to protect your computer from damage

  • Keep your space clean and organized
  • Do not drink or eat near your computer
  • keep all your electrical chords neat and tidy
  • Keep your computer in a non-moist environment
  • Don’t walk around with devices that are not hand-held devices
  • Use a surge protector to protect your investment
  • Invest in the extended protection plan offered by the seller
  • Invest in a good virus protection program if you feel it’s worth it to you (do the math)
  • Protect your computer with secure passwords in case of theft
  • Keep your computer dust free and clean it often so it doesn’t over-heat

So this month the budget has gone through the roof to the tune of over $3000 spent on computers for the home office but an expense that was in the making. We knew at some point we would have to buy a new computer but we weren’t anticipating the cost of the new laptop due to my simple error of drinking and spilling water on the computer.

It was certainly a lesson and something I don’t plan to repeat, ever again. Now, one more small problem. The printer we have which is a DELL from about 10 years ago will not work with Windows 8 (geesh) so I’m looking at picking up a new printer and to be honest the price of ink for the Dell All-in-one printer that we have costs a fortune so we might as well join the masses in buying a printer and tossing it when the ink runs out and buy another.

It seems to be the cheaper way to go. I hope you learned a valuable lesson today from my simple error and how I put a dent of over $1700 in our budget not including the new laptop just from being careless.

Have you been careless with any of your devices or computers in which you had to buy new or pay for costly repair?



Are you NEW to Canadian Budget Binder?


  1. ouch, that hurts! sorry about that. I am always careless, it drives people around me crazy because I lose phones, cameras, have things stolen, they break rapidly… I say I prefer to pay for not caring about them every day instead. But sometimes they really don’t last long. I am trying to be more careful, that is really money thrown out the window.

  2. I unfortunately killed my cell phone in the rain. It was pouring but I had zipped my phone inside my waterproof jacket. I guess it wasn’t waterproof enough. I tried drying it in rice but it was beyond repair. I moved on from a simple flip phone that didn’t even have a camera to an iPhone. They didn’t even make phones like the one I had anymore.

  3. Holy junk that is an expensive week! Sorry to hear about the troubles Mr. CBB, but I guess you needed some new electronics anyway! Our laptop is on it’s way out (about 5 years old), but we’re opting for another refurb. Might not last as long, but we can only afford about $400, and need something decent.

    Also, my wife dropped her new phone after 2 weeks of owning it recently, and I tried to repair the screen myself and ended up break the phone worse. $200 gone! And another $100 for a new phone. Double UGH!

  4. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped my phone into water or spilled water on my keyboard, so I can relate! Thanks for the great read!

  5. Reblogged this on The Fat Cat Lady and commented:
    Protecting Ourselves form Ourselves. Avoiding silly mistakes that can bust your budget. An experience.

  6. Hmmm…so I shouldn’t be drinking my coffee at my computer when I am still half asleep? Great reminder to take care of our stuff!

  7. in the long run, page for page, laser printers are cheaper than ink jets

  8. I had to giggle at your post. I’ve spilled many a drink on my laptop. Every time I say I’m never going to drink at my desk again. Fail! Luckily I’ve never had any damage. My cell phone is another story. It’s been dropped in water a couple times. Both times, the bag of rice saved it. But my volume doesn’t work and sometimes my phone won’t work unless I’m on speaker.

  9. The preventable mistakes hurt the most. I know I’ve made lots of them myself. I bought an old piano that I *knew* was in awful shape, but felt I was obligated to because she brought the thing over in a truck. I ended up giving it away on Freecycle. Fifteen hundred down the drain.

  10. studentdebtsurvivor says:

    Technology is so expensive and so easy to ruin. I once spilled a whole cappuccino into my cell phone key pad (lucky it was an ancient Nokia). I took it apart rinsed with water, and by some miracle when it dried out it worked fine for another year.

  11. Holy new tech toys batman! 🙂 Kidding aside, nice stuff.

    I’ve dropped a laptop here and there, and my cell phones take a beating but for the most part, I’ve been lucky. (Knocking on my head, on wood).


  12. I was reading that with a glass of water next to my keyboard. Of course it’s just the keyboard an and the tower is below the desk, but why take a risk, right? Oh I hate stupid human errors. That’s such a bummer! 🙁

  13. A whole truck of rice won’t fix a cell phone that’s done a cycle in the washer. Not that I would know or anything…..

    It does suck when all the things seem to go at once. We’ve had car repairs or maintenance on all of our vehicles over the past couple of months. I hope it’s all done for a while.

  14. You’re now a technology powerhouse! I know the truth: it’s all part of your evil master plan to take over the world… Step one: “spill water on keyboard.”

  15. You can save a cellphone from severe water damage, by putting the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice, which will absorb all the fluid!

  16. Oh no! Its a good thing you have that E-fund or things would have been really sticky. Good for you for planning ahead.

  17. Electronics are weirdly fussy about getting wet. I’ve seen people spill beverages on their keyboards and have no problems while other’s ruin their computers. My web person spilled something on her laptop and had to replace it this past Spring. I know she was pretty upset. Not having beverages by our laptops is such good advice that we all break. 🙂

  18. Jodi Gonzales says:

    Wow…crazy week, but your accounts were prepared…best laid plans… :o) Off-site backup is very important…I use carbonite. I’ve been considering investing in a color laser printer. They aren’t as expensive as they used to be, and I think the cost would become savings in the long run because laser printers last longer, and the toner cartridges last many times longer than ink cartridges. I haven’t done the detailed math yet though. Has anyone out there compared long-term costs/savings between ink jets and lasers? (color)

    • That’s a great questions Jodi as we were at Staples and Future Shop tonight looking at printers. The sales guy said generally the cheaper the printer the more expensive the ink. That’s all I learned tonight but they are pretty much out of stock since the students came back and raided the store so I”m going to wait and see what goes on sale. I have an ink jet here and for the most part it’s been great except the Dell ink is a bit pricey but i found it on kijiji for cheap too.. but that’s not always the case.

  19. Cathy Bryant says:

    I did the same thing, only I totally knocked over a full glass of iced tea on my laptop keyboard while traveling. Also reacted as you did, mopping up, but also blowing the hairdryer on it (carefully) and leaving it propped upside down all night. FORTUNATELY, the next morning I was back in business but for some reason (wonder why?) the disc drive didn’t cooperate. Took it to the computer fix-it place, and unfortunately it is truly dead, they said probably a blowout of some kind due to the tea. So since February 2012 i have been operating with no disc drive. amazingly, it really works out because so much now is downloaded online that I can workaround not having a disc drive. This laptop is a Dell, bought in 2008 or 2009, and I plan to use it as long as it works!

  20. Wow, those sales people owe you guys a bouquet of flowers to say thanks for the business last week! Have you guys considered laser printers? If you get one and only use black toner it can be quite affordable and they seem to last us much longer and be low maintenance.

  21. Agree on back up! Highly valuable, especially when you own a small business like me! I have 3 external hard drives. Each month I back up anything important ( business files, pic’s, etc) to the hard drives. I have 1 at home, 1 at my Mothers, and 1 at work. I figure 1 place might be destroyed by fire etc. But all 3 ? Highly doubtfull.

  22. We’re currently shopping around looking for a new computer as our old one is starting to have random issues and is getting a bit long in the tooth.. Our last several computers we’ve bought on Dell Outlet store, and have always been happy with the computers we got there, usually for $3-400 less than you could get them brand new. The one we bought way back in 2005 is still going strong, althought it has been gifted to my mother-in-law. Now we just have to decide if we want an All In One or a stand alone desktop. We’re leaning towards that all-in-one just for the space saving..

    • Hey Peter the all in one looks great and does save space and looks good. They cost lots no matter what way we look at them and it’s just one of those expenses we have to think about down the road in our budget now. Good luck finding your new toy!!

  23. Ouch! Sorry to hear that Mr. CBB! I am guilty of drinking near my laptop all the time. I know I need to stop. I use a Nalgene bottle that has a lid I always put on so that mitigates the risk. But, I am just waiting for one of our little ones to come over, undo the lid and pour all 32 ounces on my laptop. I think they’d likely pick up a few new words for their vocabulary, Lol!

    • You and your liquid courage I bet lol. I hear so many horror stories about kids and technology. My nephew we have to watch him like a hawk as he loves the netbook and to skype his grandparents so he goes nuts for it. One of these days I can see a bottle full of milk or juice in our other netbook lol.

  24. Ugh how frustrating but maybe a blessing in disguise. I’m at the point of needing a new computer. Mine is old and so so slow. What should take me 30 mins to do can take upwards of an hour. Kills productivity.

  25. When my husband needed a new computer but was in no rush to buy one, I started buying unwanted Best Buy cards off Kijiji at 80% of the face value. I then started watching for sales and refurbished tower deals. So I got a great huge screen and a great PC for under 900$, plus got the 900$ with 20% off with my gift cards, making my computer around $720.

  26. Mary F Campbell says:

    Expensive week Mr CBB! I had a week like that a while back and all I can say is… thank God for the Emergency fund!! If ever there was a reason to make sure you have one, it’s all these little disasters that show up when you least expect them, generally in multiples and always when the chequing account is running on empty. 😀

  27. Why not get a printer with refillable ink cartridges?

    • I can refill these cartridges which we did once and they leaked in the printer. The printer is so old that Dell has no driver updates and it won’t work with Windows 8 so we are just getting a new printer. Cheers mate

  28. Chandra Christine O'Connor says:

    you should be like me and enter contests I won my z10 blackberry phone and it is so great takes great pictures too. cost of them around 700 dollars new. and it was freeeeee

  29. This would also be a good time to think about a backup solution for your new computer. When I made my last upgrade, I also started a subscription to Crashplan. It’s an offsite (cloud) based backup company that lets you store ALL of your stuff (encrypted with passwords and custom keys if you like) so if your computer is ever lost, stolen, or gets killed by coffee, water, toddlers, or viruses, you’ll have ALL of your precious precious data.

    For a freelancer like myself, my work (my data) is my livelyhood. It’s $4/m for UNLIMITED storage.

    Nothing says oops in your budget like having to pay $2500 to have a hard-drive rebuilt and/or recovered.

    • Thanks for letting us know I had no idea about this.

    • Mary F Campbell says:

      I use iCloud for my non-sensitive files because cloud computing can be hacked. I was at a seminar in California discussing that it happens relatively frequently. Sensitive materials I don’t want to risk to any cloud computing and their security. Mine are backed up to 3 external drives and weekly I move one offsight, just in case. I don’t actually keep anything on my computer hard drive except my applications and could easily do a restore if the worst happened. 🙂

      • Christine Weadick says:

        The new computer looks pretty good!! I don’t know anything about windows 8, but hubby’s big beast runs windows 7 as does the younger boys laptop. The older boy and I share my laptop and it runs Vista. He has an external hard drive and has backed up all my stuff on that. At one point hubby was using the laptop as well so our son set it up that we all use a password to get to our own stuff. He knows the passwords, but I’m OK with him knowing as he does all the tech support work on it. We have an Epson printer right now, it uses separate colour cartridges so when one runs out we replace that colour alone. It is supposed to be wireless but I can’t use it that way, thanks to having Vista, and the others are all Windows 7… I either have to plug into the printer myself or go on the big beast. I prefer to plug in as that way I don’t have hubby looking over my shoulder at every little thing I do. It’s not that I’m hiding anything(I’m not) but it drives me crazy having someone looking over my shoulder and yapping in my ear telling me what to do while I’m doing it as if I don’t know how to run The printer. I do know,and I’m the one that has to change the cartridges because he can’t figure it out. I don’t think we have ever picked up the extended coverage on a computer but we do have a good virus program. ESet’s Nod 32, if you have ever heard of it…. Works quite well and a good price.
        Our daughter will be looking to replace her laptop at some point soon thanks to our grandson…. Not only do you need to watch you don’t spill anything on a laptop but you might want to watch out for little boys picking up a spray Febreeze bottle and spraying it around the laptop. It was on the way out anyway but it’s fried now, her brother is going to try to pull the hard drive and recover the files if she gets a hard drive case for it. The laptop still smells Tropical Fresh by the way….
        We use the younger boy’s cell when we go out of town. It’s a very basic pay as you go unit he bought in late Sept 2009 when his father was in the hospital and the land line went dead. It’s with Bell and everything else is Rogers. Which can be handy when Rogers has gone down we have a phone in an emergency if need be. He just keeps buying the cards for it and is happy with that. The phone is an emergency use phone so that all works out.
        Have fun with the new electronic toys……….

        • I never thought of it that way having 2 phones from two providers just in case. The windows 8 really takes some getting used to. I feel like I’m doing things backwards but I’m hoping to learn some short cuts to make it go quicker. These computers run so fast it’s perfect for blogging.

      • I’m going to have to look up the ICloud as I have no idea what it really is apart from what you are all telling me. Thanks Mary

Add Your Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: