When do you take (or pass up) a good offer?

Hypothetical Scenario:

You have a four-year old white Macbook. The CD drive burnt out two years ago, you’ve dropped it a handful of times and it goes “Crrrachhhhsmackashh” every time you open it, and the hard drive died six months ago, but was replaced for $50.

Now imagine:

You are at a football game on a Friday night. A friend of yours casually states the following…

Hey, I’m quitting my job at Apple in 7 days. If you’ve been thinking about getting a new computer or anything, I can hook ya up and get you a 25% discount before I quit. Need anything?


What do you say?


If you haven’t caught on, this situation isn’t hypothetical at all, but very much the quandary Girl Ninja and I are currently in. I’m gonna lay out the facts as I see ’em…


  • We each need (and by need I mean really enjoy having) our own laptops.
  • In our house, we have two four-year old white Macbooks, a first generation iPad, a relatively new Mac Mini, and two iPhones. Needless to say, we like Apple products.
  • We will buy a new Apple laptop when one of ours passes away.
  • My laptop could literally spontaneously combust at any moment, it’s that beat up.
  • Girl Ninja’s laptop probably has at least another 12 months left in it.
  • The iPad is cool but, in my mind, not a laptop replacer.
  • Apple products never go on sale. Like Ever. So this 25% discount is SUPER appealing.
  • We can afford the laptop.
  • We want  a new laptop.
  • We definitely don’t need a new laptop.
  • We would not be looking to buy a new laptop right now if there wasn’t a 25% discount offered.
  • We could sell one of our current laptops for a few hundred dollars on Craigslist to help mitigate the cost of a new laptop.
  • The thought of replacing our current laptops, while they are both still “mostly” functional, makes us feel like we are stereotypical “American Consumers”.

And thus ends our dilemma. Although Girl Ninja and I have an idea of what we will do, we’d like to hear your two cents on the situation before we share. We would totally appreciate your opinions as to why we should or should not get the new laptop (maybe you have insights we haven’t considered). To buy, or not to buy. That is the question dilemma.

Have you ever passed up a deal and regretted it later? Ever taken advantage of a deal and realized it was a waste? I feel like no matter which route we go, we will always wonder if we made the right decision.

p.s. Don’t turn this in to a Mac vs PC fight.

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35 thoughts on “When do you take (or pass up) a good offer?”

  1. One of the reasons to save money and have excess free cashflow is to take advantage of market opportunities. This is why your brokerage account should always have some sort of cash position (to buy when the market goes haywire due to tsunamis, Japaneses earthquakes, or a stupid Congress). In my opinion this represents another type of market opportunity to upgrade in a brand you trust at a 25% discount. If you read my blog, you know I am definitely not a materialist. However, I am certainly an opportunist.

    As an added tip, if you have the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you can use it to buy Apple gift cards at the grocery store to fund this purchase and get an additional 6% back bringing your total discount to 31%. Sweet!

  2. As someone who has worked in retail, it may be against your friend’s employee contract to purchase things for others using his discount – I don’t know, I didn’t work at Apple. You might ask him if that’s an acceptable company practice to purchase items on behalf of friends before buying it (and if it is, for the record I think you should get the laptop!)

    But a deal isn’t a great deal if it compromises a person’s ethics.

    • My friend works at Apple and she gave me her discount. I don’t see what the problem is, people do it all the time at Apple. They just have to put it under their name, but the credit card info and shipping info was in my name. It worked out great. Buy the laptop now, sell the other one on Craigslist or eBay!

  3. You work hard, pay your bills, save and are an inspiration for others. You are in a position where you can easily afford this purchase. Like Nike, Just Do It!

  4. I say BUY BUY BUY. Replace the one that’s oldest and leave the one that’s got life left alone. In another year, something nice will be out.

    Can you friend buy gift cards from Apple for the same discount? If you you can get one laptop now, and buy a large amount gift card and buy another laptop a year later. Just make sure that the GC doesn’t expire and they don’t charge you money after a certain amount of time.

  5. You buy. After all, if you’re willing to buy things like TP in bulk when it is a good deal and you know you’re going to use it, why not by a new computer a little earlier than you expected because yours really isn’t doing so well and you’re buying it at a time when it is on sale? If you want, you can still use your old one until it dies again and keep this one in storage, but that is probably a waste of the warranty coverage that is a part of it.

  6. The operative statement you made was “we can afford it”. Those are some of the sweetest words around. Nothing wrong with buying something you want and will enjoy as long as you don’t go into debt to do it. You can sell the old one and after it’s all said and done, you’ve effectively gotten a 50% or more discount on a new laptop. Now that’s a good way to spend money for something you know you’re going to need anyway.

    I teach people in my Celebrating Financial Freedom course that cash is king. There is nothing wrong with buying nice things or things you really want as long as you use cash and don’t sacrifice other more important things to get them. How do you get out of debt? It all starts with learning to use cash and really considering how you use it.

  7. Air or Pro? Screen size? Not a comparison, just thinking of the dollars saved now versus dollars spent later. Let’s use Air – $2,000 later or $1,500 now? I’m going with the $1,500 now. Stash the $500 and get some kind of return on that savings. Versus spending it all later and having no return.

    But I think you may have already done that math.

  8. You buy it now, you get 25% off. You buy it in six months, you’ll pay full price (which probably won’t drop because Apple doesn’t drop prices on anything ever).

    Where else are you going to get a 25% ROI in six months?

  9. I agree with Murphy’s Law poster above – as soon as said friend is no longer working at Apple, the computer is going to bite the dust. hard. and laugh in your face as well.
    Since you know that you have to replace the computer in the very near future, why wait? So you can pay 25% more???? 25% off any Apple product is a crazy good deal. Be a good ninja and take it.

  10. Seriously – buy 2 laptops now!

    I do not want to hear about coulda shoulda woulda’s in a few months when one of them dies and you have to pay full price.

    PS you sisterninja would love a new laptop hers broke a while ago. Wink!

  11. I’d all over that deal like stink on a monkey! Like CFM and Melanie pointed out, now that your Mac knows you’re looking to replace it, it will die the day after your friend moves on from Apple… guaranteed!

  12. You can afford it, your laptop is on the way out, and it’s what you would buy if you needed one now anyway. It’s something you constantly use and it never goes on sale. Plus, whether you replace one laptop or both, you can sell your current ones and take it as an extra discount. Go for it! 🙂

  13. You’re laptop may be “mostly” functioning, but not fully functioning. You’re not replacing your old laptop because you are bored with it, but because it has reached the end of it’s useful life. This is an opportunity, you can afford it, and should take advantage of the opportunity.

    I suspect that your friend will only be able to get one laptop on his way out the door, I’d take advantage of the opportunity. Companies often limit what an employee can purchase right before they leave, so they can’t stock up and turn around a sell it for a profit later.

  14. You buy…as MUCH as you can….THEN…your inner entrepreneurial spirit kicks in AND YOU RE-SELL AT FULL PRICE! If you sell on eBay you pay 5-8% in fees but you make an instant 17-20% on your money! Of course, be smart and don’t buy products that will be replaced before you can close your sale!

  15. Just food for thought – Girl Ninja is a licensed educator. You may be able to score discounts on Apple products if you order from them directly. It’s worth checking on. I have a friend who teaches at the college level and is able to purchase Apple products through her college at a discount.

  16. I say go ahead and buy it since you it sounds like you have a dying laptop that could literally stop working at any moment, plus a 25% discount, well that’s awesome! I think you might regret it if you don’t buy it and then your current laptop stops working. Also, like you said you could always sell it on Craigslist to help bring down the cost.

  17. I’d definitely consider replacing yours. GN’s might be a bit more of a stretch to me, but a 25% discount and you can sell yours to cut the cost a little? I’d probably go for it. And, with my luck, if I passed up replacing one in similar condition to yours, it would die the day after the discount disappeared lol.

  18. I think there’s a balance between saving and spending. This purchase isn’t completely frivolous if it means less headaches with your own computer and depending on load time potentially less time wasted with all your work on the laptop. Plus there is a time to reward yourself! I would probably buy one to replace the one that’s on it’s last legs but not for the one that has at least a couple of years left.

  19. I seem to be along the same lines of thinking as everyone else. You save, you do everything right, you have enough extra cash to make it worth it – I say go for it!

    It is a sure thing that your laptop will fail in the future, they always do. By taking advantage of this opportunity you are not only going to save yourself money on your purchase, but you can also sell your old computer for more money than you would have been able to once it died. Double win!

  20. I’d say go for one now and get a second one later. Reason being. You can get one on discount now but everyone who knows apple knows that a “newer”, “better” macbook will be released soon and there is a very tiny possibility the new one may have something you really want. So basically its a compromise(that is if you are planning to get two).

    If you only want one then the choice is yours, wait for the new revision or get a current one now at 25% off.(Which is a huge savings) Given your laptop might just kick the bucket soon the risk is at you. I think I would take the discount though given your mac is about to die.

  21. Honestly, I could go either way. On the one hand, you’ll eventually need to replace it, so why not now? On the other hand, Apple products have a habit of lasting and lasting and lasting, so you could maybe get another year or even two out of your laptops. Who knows! I have a five-year-old white Macbook and it still runs like an absolute champ. I’d expect to get at least another year out of it. Possibly two. So you could wait and spend the money later.

    One thing to consider, though, is where the product is in the product cycle. If you’re looking for a MacBook Air, now would be a good time to buy since one just came out. If you’re looking at an MBP, though, I’d be more inclined to hold off since they’ll probably release a newer model in the next few months. You can check out the cycles and recommendations here: http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#MacBook_Pro

  22. I say go for it and then give them to eachother as Christmas presents. It makes good use of the deal, works as a present for an upcoming holiday, and you would probably have replenished your savings by then and totally feel like a baller for having 2 brand new computers and huge savings accounts:)

  23. Do you replace your car when it completely dies? No, you replace it about a month before so it still has resale value and it croaks on some other poor sucker.

    So why wait for your laptop to die when it’s sounding more and more on the way out all the time? Look at replacing it now… and hey, 25% off at a convenient time!

    Only question is, which one do you get?

  24. I know I am late to the party….I find this question fascinating. I am just beginning my journey from spendthrift to debt free so my brain is diseased and stores questionable financial judgement. A month ago I would say BUY whether you needed it or not or could afford it or not. You WANT it right? Done and done.

    After reading your blog, David Ramsey, Thousandaire and others and paying cash for everything (did you know that purchasing items with cash is much harder than with my debit card? Even if I NEED it – it turns my stomach to let go of those 20s) in my heavily indebted situation – I would say no and hope for the best with the equipment I have.

    You, however, are out of debt and can afford it. So there is no reason not to make the purchase unless you are really concerned about other people thinking you are a “consumerist”. Who cares what they think – you’ve made the right choices, saved your money, planned for retirement and are helping others (like me) realize that debt is the incarnation of evil itself. (So there are some karma points for you).

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