Pick the Right Computer

Years ago computers were huge & expensive, but nowadays you can easily get what you want for a decent price.  

A laptop is portable to give you the option to move around with it easily, so is usually preferred over a desktop computer. A PC is also generally preferred over Mac due to the lower price. 

So what should you look for when shopping around?  

For $500 you should easily be able to get a mid-range without a touch screen. some things you should look for: 

  •  storage (hard drive): 256gb SSD or more 
  •  memory: 8gb or more 
  •  processor: Intel i5 gen8 or more (or AMD equivalent) 

For me screen size 14-15″ is about right, since you can plug it into a larger monitor when at a desk. I didn’t bother with touch screen, but I did want to get a full HD screen when I’m not plugged into a larger monitor. 

The specific laptop I chose was the Asus VivoBook 15 which is currently $480 on Amazon 


If you want to be extra productive, having a bigger/separate screen can really help. With a standard HDMI connection you can usually even connect a larger TV like the 40″ 4K TV I use, or opt for something smaller like this: 

27″ 4K $250 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZSGR5TM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B07ZSGR5TM&pd_rd_w=9xc6z&pf_rd_p=48d372c1-f7e1-4b8b-9d02-4bd86f5158c5&pd_rd_wg=Gu3rZ&pf_rd_r=658GZFEAE94M9SYPGFYK&pd_rd_r=f6ab978c-d993-4643-bfec-d053a1f0ec11&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyTUJJVDgwRFk2N1JGJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzI5NzA2M0xNUTlCQjFVVFVTSSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwOTI4OTQyMk5FNTdPOVFEN1cwMSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbCZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=&linkCode=ll1&tag=digitalbeyond-20&linkId=0b8a78a8c84c3dea3ffd2565cb0dc577&language=en_US 

Runners up are: 

43″ 4K TV $230 https://www.amazon.com/Hisense-43R6090G-43-Inch-Smart-Compatibility/dp/B087F8GCVC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?crid=338DQS6CWKRBH&dchild=1&keywords=4k+tv+43+inch&qid=1592959723&refinements=p_n_feature_keywords_three_browse-bin:7688788011,p_n_size_browse-bin:3578041011&rnid=1232878011&s=tv&sprefix=4k+tv+,electronics,288&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=digitalbeyond-20&linkId=eda2d7d652ab94d34636d67d4bfe638d&language=en_US 

32″ 4K monitor $385 https://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronics-32MU59-B-Screen-Monitor/dp/B075RPVGBX/ref=as_li_ss_tl?dchild=1&keywords=4k+monitor&qid=1592960123&refinements=p_n_size_browse-bin:3547808011,p_n_feature_fifteen_browse-bin:17751804011%7C17751806011&rnid=17751799011&s=pc&sr=1-6&linkCode=ll1&tag=digitalbeyond-20&linkId=32127a7ef882963395c2dc797d8c43ac&language=en_US 

I like having my larger 40″ TV screen at 4K to allow many windows to be open at once versus a smaller screen. However, if you choose the smaller monitor options you can adjust the scaling on them to make the smaller screen work. 

Keep in mind for some laptops it may take several weeks if it is not already in stock (e.g. you chose custom specs). 

Also if you have an old laptop you’ll want to get all the files together (it is best not to open individual files to avoid the time drain, just move them to folders inside one area & you can sort through them later). Common areas for files are Desktop, Documents (including pictures/videos), & any shared folders such as on a network. 

You can check the size to see if they easily fit on a USB thumb drive, & we can also copy over to the cloud if you have a cloud service such as OneDrive. 

What computer or accessory are you looking for? Let us know in the comments 

Three Secrets to Achieve Goals

So what is the secret with achieving goals? Maybe you’ve reached some, but if you are like many you make big goals & then give up when it gets out of reach.

 In my younger years I struggled for years with keeping consistent with exercise. Then the TV show Ninja Warrior came along where I trained for 30 days & completed most of the obstacles. The same thing happened with my financial life – for years I lived in fear of picking the wrong investments, but now with the power of FIRE I’m on track to reach financial freedom in 7 years so my daughters can model the behavior.

Let’s look at what works:

  1. Fun – Make it a game with rewards along the way. I love trying new craft beer, so for me that is a great incentive along the way to keep me motivated. I also love competition, so  challenging others can also help.
  2. Strong Desire – Having a powerful purpose drives our passion. Having a WHY is critical – the 80% vs. the how 20%. We need an urgency to help motivate us daily, so a shorter time like 30 days is a great time to solidify a habit & get 1% better daily.
  3. System to stay on track – Our brains can tend to make something bigger than it is, so don’t let it. Break what you need to do in small steps where you can get into the habit even if it is just for 5min a day, & make sure you are building a Growth mindset so you won’t give up.

For more on the secrets above, check out the books Start with Why, Atomic Habits, & Grit.

So get started, now is the time! Give yourself a 30 Day Challenge & get excited while you challenge others to set their goals. If you need some ideas, I’ll share what our family is up to:


  • Code a playable video game – this includes designing the characters, story, sound. My daughters have been taking free virtual classes, & are even helping teach me. Along the way we’ve upgraded our computers & tried out old & new games, so look for an upcoming post on that.


  • Play 30 new songs on piano – I’ve always loved music in games & movies, but it wasn’t until recently that I saw myself wanting to learn piano. Practicing one key at a time has been very helpful, & you can see my previous post of the USB 32-key piano I’m using on my computer.


  • Running a new PR – I used to hate running, but when I started training with runners I learned the tricks of the trade. Just before COVID-19 I had my best time ever. So now I’m not only looking to reach that again, but also look into completing
  • The “Murph Challenge” – by later this year by starting with doing a shorter half-Murph. Look for a future post & a virtual 5K group that we’re starting.


  • Read 5 books – this is a perfect time since I’m pursuing certification while helping colleagues adjust to COVID-19 & working remotely. I’ve also added friends that are avid readers to my Goodreads so my list of books to check out will never run out.
  • Level up the Spanish Language – 5min on a language-learning app is something that can easily be done daily, & making it a game makes it fun.


  • Legacy document – this is crucial when you start building wealth so that your family has a clear path of what to do after your passing. I also want to
  • Challenge others to invest – in their future, even if they are just getting started. If you qualify, you can still contribute to a Roth IRA for the 2019 tax year.

What 30 Day Challenge are you going to tackle, & what reward will you choose? Let us know on Twitter using #30DayChallenge