Airfare Sites to Check Out for Your Summer Plans

6 Airfare Deals Websites Every Traveler Needs to BookmarkJohnny Jet (yep – that’s his name) is a professional traveller, and if anyone knows the ins and outs of travelling, it’s him.  He has his own site and I recommend you bookmark it if you travel much.  He has posted links to his favorite site for finding deals on airfare.  Here’s the link to his page, have fun travelling this summer!

DEAL: Epson Workforce 3640 for $99, 500 Sheets

imageThis is my favorite ink-jet printer, and it’s on sale at Best Buy (and other places as well) for only $99.99.  It prints very fast, also scans, copies and faxes.  As a bonus, this printer hold a whole ream of paper, 500 sheets.  All the stores here in Austin (except for Cedar Park) have it in stock.  If you need a new printer, here you go.  And of course, be sure to buy some extra ink.

If you prefer having boxes delivered to your door, Amazon has it on sale for the same price.

The Retention Specialist is Your Friend

imageI’ve had clients over the years ask me about how to lower their entertainment bills (TV, Internet and phone) and I always have advised them to call the competition, get their best deal and then call back their current provider and talk to a “retention specialist.”  Now, most of you reading my blog are pretty smart people, so giving a few seconds to think about it – what do you think the job description of a “retention specialist” is?  That right – to RETAIN you as a customer.  They have the POWER to make you a deal the first level flunkies who answer the phone can’t offer.

Finally, I decided it was time for me to save some money.  My Internet is with the cable company – and it’s awesome.  My television is satellite, and it’s awesome.  The problem is that between the two it was around $180 a month, and I wanted to cut expenses.  So I called the cable company and asked them to make me a deal I couldn’t refuse to add TV to my service that was equal to the service I was getting from my satellite provider.  After an hour of joking and having fun, they were prepared to save me $70 a month.

Now, I knew I wasn’t going to get as good a picture and I would probably have more service interruptions with cable, but to save $840 a year, I was willing to do it and scheduled an installation date.

BUT…. when I called my satellite provided to cancel, being SURE that there was no way they could match the deal, basically giving me my present level of satellite service for $20 a month (that’s what was needed to match the savings,) not only did they match the price, they added HBO for a year.  Now, HBO is usually $15 a monthly anyway, so I’m getting my HD television WITH my DVR for $5.

I was SO sure that not even a retention specialist has the juice to save me this much money, that I barely even gave them the chance to make me the offer – I’m glad I shut up long enough to let them do it.

What I had forgotten is that both the cable and satellite (and uVerse, FIOS and any other TV provider) care mostly about the NUMBER OF ACCOUNTS.  That’s because that is in part what drives the value of their company as well as what they can charge advertisers.  My satellite company won’t make any money directly from me as a customer, but I add value to them because I’m one more out of millions that they need to keep their head above water.

The bottom line, it cost me a couple of hours total on the phone over a few days, I have the exact SAME level of service with the same provider that I’ve been very happy with, and now I’m going to save $70 a month or $840 for the next 12 months.  When that time is up, I’ll spend a few more hours on the phone.  Competition is a wonderful thing if you actually put it to work.

DEAL! Lenovo Laptop for $359 With no Crapware!

Image result for microsoft storeNeed a laptop for someone going to school in the Fall?  Looking for an inexpensive yet powerful laptop that won’t run out of gas in 2 years?

Well, much to my surprise, the Microsoft Store has the Lenovo G50 on sale for only $359.  The G series is Lenovo’s entry level line, but they are still good computers (I would take this over a mid-line HP, Toshiba or Acer any day.)  Many of you are still not familiar with the Lenovo name.  Would you recognize it if I said “IBM PC”?  Lenovo bought the IBM PC (including laptop) division several years ago, and they still make high quality computers.  This one has an Intel Core i5 processor with 6GB of memory and a 500GB hard drove, webcam, high-speed wireless, bluetooth and a DVD burner that many new laptops no longer include.  And, it weighs less than 5 lbs.

Coming from the Microsoft Store, it’s part of their “signature series”, which means it is a pretty pure Windows installation without all the garbage the manufactures add.  That means it’s easier to get it set up to your liking or if you have me set it up for you, it costs you less because I don’t have to spend time uninstalling whatever crap was added.

There is a Microsoft Store here in Austin in The Domain.  If you’re not it Austin, their web site will tell you where the nearest store is.  Of course, you can always order it online and have it sent to your doorstep.

Here’s the link to their webpage:

Hot Deal on Hot Performance Upgrade

imageNewegg has the Crucial 256GB SSD (Solid State Drive) for $119 with currently a $10 discount that makes it only $109.

This is probably the FASTEST of the SSD’s out there and will make a HUGE difference in the performance of your computer.  It comes with software so you can copy your existing hard drive to the new one (you might need some additional hardware, or just give me a call.)

I wrote about SSD’s back in August here, so if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can read up there.  I have SSD’s in ALL my computers and have updated many clients with them with amazing results.  It’s like a turbo-charger for your car.

So before you go out and spend a bunch of money on a new computer, consider upgrading the hard drive.  Here’s the link to the drive on Newegg:

DEAL, DEAL, DEAL on a 27” Monitor–$209!!!

imageAnd this isn’t some no-name monitor, this is an Acer 27” that is LED backlit and has VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs.  It has a full HD resolution of 1920×1080, is very thin (it only weighs 11 lbs.) and has built-in speakers.

I really wish I could come up with a reason for me to justify replacing my two 25” monitors with this, but alas, I can’t.  But if you’re using a 23” or smaller monitor, you’ll be amazed at the difference.  A year ago this monitor would have been an easy $350.

If you have a laptop and would like a large monitor to work with when you’re home – this is the one.  If you’re in the market for a new monitor – buy this one at NewEgg:

You Don’t Have It, And You Need It. Save Some $$$

“What is it Laurie?” you ask.  Well, this may not be as practical for you if you have a laptop computer, but if you have a desktop pc, or an all-in-one like an iMac a little spent now can save you money in the future.

For most of you, UPS means one thing – the company that delivers packages to your door.  But UPS has another meaning for folks familiar with computers and security.  UPS stands for “Uninterruptible Power Supply”, which is basically a battery that keeps your computer running in the event of a power outage. 

But there’s more than just keeping the computer running, there’s PROTECTING the computer from power problems that reduce it’s life or completely break it.

A proper UPS will not only protect your computer from power outages, but from low and high power voltage fluctuations in the power lines, and will allow you you safely shut down your computer without the loss of your data.

The one I’m recommending right now that’s a very good deal is a CyberPower UPS that can handle any normal PC and monitor for several minutes with no problem in the event of a total power outage.  This model is (right now) only $119.99 with free shipping from NewEgg (free shipping is valuable because these are heavy as you will see.)

You don’t need your printer or other peripherals to be on battery backup, but you will certainly want you PC and monitor to be so you can save your files and shutdown safely.  It comes with software that monitors everything and WILL shut down you computer after a set amount of time in the event of a power outage, but the battery backup gives you the opportunity to save what you’re doing without any data loss.

Power supplies in computers are very fragile.  Think about your desktop computer, you have this thick power cord that plugs into the back of your computer.  On the other side of that plug is a box approx. 4” x 6” x 6” that converts your house voltage to computer friendly voltage.  I replace power supplies all the time for clients, so much that I keep them in stock in the trunk of my car.  The cost to replace them is at the least around $100.  Buying a UPS can pay for itself in the first outage, AND you won’t encounter any downtime in the meantime.

Just consider this preventive maintenance well spent.  I don’t make any money if you take my advice, I probably will if you don’t.  Gat a UPS, this one is a good one at a good price and save yourself some money in the long run.  Here’s the link to the UPS on sale at NewEgg:

Need a Deal to Replace That Windows XP Computer?

imageI had a client recently upgrade to a new computer, and they just gave their old computer to me.  So I’ve totally wiped the hard drive clean, ran maintenance software on it to make sure it was in good overall health, then installed Windows 7 along with Microsoft Office.

This Dell computer is a quad-core Intel processor (same one I recently used as my main system), along with 6GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive with a CD/DVD burner.

Those of you reading this are getting first chance to pick up this computer for the cost of getting it ready – $250.  The computer itself without my setup is easily worth $200.  And in addition, I’ll transfer your data to the new computer for free!  This is a really good computer that will last you for years – if it will make you feel better, I’ll add a 1-year warranty on it for another $50.

Next week I’ll open this up to my clients on a budget that I know need a replacement computer, but if you’re following my blog, I’d like to reward you first.

Now, if you’re NOT in the Austin area, you’ll need to pay the shipping costs to get it to you, but I’ll still remotely handle the data transfer for you.  I probably won’t get another system this good to recycle, so get it now or go buy a new computer (figure $500 for a new PC plus another $150 for the setup/data-transfer.)

Contact me if you want it – it’s ready to go!

DEAL – Lenovo Desktop w/ Core i5 for $410

imageThese are factory refurbished (probably just returned to the store because they wanted something else) Lenovo H520 desktops.  It comes with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, a HUGE 2 TB hard drive, DVD burner, built-in wi-fi, and a 1 year ON-SITE warranty.  Now THAT’S a great deal!  As of the time I’m writing this, there are only 23 left in stock so don’t spend too much time thinking about it because these deals move fast. 

If you’re still running Windows XP (you’ve only got a month left), here’s one of your best chances to move to a safe operating system.  Here’s the link to Lenovo’s site:

Deal: Lenovo 17.3” Laptop with Core i7 for $769

imageLenovo has their Z710 desktop replacement for $769.  If you have an old Window XP machine and are wanting to (you really NEED to) upgrade to a new system, this is a good one.  You can use it at home and yet being a laptop you can take it with you when you travel.

Here’s the link:

Deal: Fast Lenovo 17” Laptop – $729

imageIf you’re looking for a big laptop with lots of power (4th gen. Inter Core i7), memory (8GB), storage (1TB) and a full HD screen then here you go.  The Lenovo Ideapad Z710 is a great laptop, well built, and comes with a back-lit keyboard, 4 USB ports, an HDMI port and DVD burner.

Get it directly from Lenovo here:  At checkout, apply the coupon USPZ7108526 to get the price.

Deal: Epson Wireless Printer Hold 500 Sheets

imageHave kids that print a lot of homework?  Hate having to constantly keep putting paper into your printer.  Well, Best Buy, Office Depot and Office Max all have the Epson Workforce 3540 printer on sale AND in stock.  It prints (on both sides if you wish), scans, copies very quickly, also faxes, can use high capacity ink cartridges so you aren’t changing ink so often – and it’s wireless and can hold al full ream of paper.  It has two paper trays, you can even put letter size in one and legal size in the other if you want.  You can put it anywhere in the house or office where there is an electrical outlet.  You can also print DIRECTLY to it from an iPhone, iPad, as well as Android phones and tablets.  It works on all versions of Windows and on Macs since version 10.5 (which means almost all Macs running today.)

And the best part it’s only $129!  It retails for $199, so that’s quite a discount.  Order one online or go pick one up in the store.  This is a really good printer and will serve you well for a long time.  If you’re thinking about getting a new printer – stop thinking and go get this one, you won’t be sorry.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s What NOT to Buy Tomorrow!!!

Black Friday dealsThanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, and many people look forward to the “Black Friday” sales that start that evening and into the next day (Friday) for their Christmas shopping.    Before you knock yourself out at midnight or worse – in the middle of the night, make sure you’re not wasting time and sleep. has a few tips for you….

Are You Still Running XP? Times Running Out!

That’s true, come April next month Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows XP.   What that means is that if your computer is running Windows XP, it’s not safe.  Microsoft will no longer be fixing flaws that may arise in the Windows XP operating system. 

Now, don’t get mad, Windows XP has been around longer than any other version of Windows, but after 13 years, Microsoft is putting it to bed.

If you have a computer that is still running Windows XP – as long as you don’t go on the Internet you’re ok.  But if you’re like some people and use your computer to go on the Internet AND are still running Windows XP, you’ll be in trouble soon. 

It’s possible you MIGHT be able to upgrade your existing computer, but frankly, it will be cheaper in the long run to bite bullet and get a new computer.

I can help you shop and get a good deal for no charge.  Let me know what you have, what you want and I’ll find the best deal around for your new PC.

Find Cheap Flights Over Thanksgiving

Some of you may be planning to travelling by air over the Thanksgiving holiday.  If you are, be sure to check out Johnny Jet’s article on finding cheap fares.  His is also a great site overall for travel tips, bookmark it if you travel much.  Here’s the link to his article:

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