Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saving money- the geeky way

At the moment, I have 4 computers in the house. All working, all in fairly decent condition. All running stable operating systems. The question is, how can you be saving money if you're plunking money down to get these operable and licensed, etc.

The answer: I'm not.

Here's what I have: 2 desktops and 2 laptops.

One desktop was a free promotional item from my phone company. Its a dell optiplex, simple, its running Windows XP home edition.

One desktop was something I"ve had for a couple years, that wasn't working very well. Its a built computer so there's no brand label on it. Its running Kubuntu O/S

The newer laptop is my HP, runs Vista. And all the headaches associated.

The older laptop was one of my moms. A few years ago, my brother stepped on it, while it was open. The keyboard is wonky, the power button bar is touchy, and the hard drive was toast. Put a new hard drive in it, straightened the keyboard, and loaded Kubuntu as well.

Kubuntu. One of many Linux distros. Linux is an open source O/S. It can be slightly intimidating for someone used to Windows. But there are actually many flavors that make the transition easy. Kubuntu is one, Ubuntu, Knoppix, etc. There are many, so if you're interested click onthe link in the title of this post and see what there is.

A great thing about linux, is that most if not all of the applications and programs are at no cost. Many of the most used applications are included with each distro, but some you'll want to add.

When I installed Kubuntu on my desktop, it had Open Office pre installed. OpenOffice is an open source office suite. I had to download Firefox. The browser included was fine, but not what I'm used to. I've been a Firefox girl for years. I also downloaded Thunderbird as my email client. There are many options out there but I stuck with what I know. For the kids I downloaded a few games. There are so many it was hard to choose, but I picked a few that I thought the kids would like.

Now you all know how excited I get about finance programs. Free ones especially. I put a program called GnuCash on here. Its easy to use, keeps track of finances, debt reduction, itemizes, does business accounts, auto budgets, allows editing, and that's just what I've played with so far. It also makes it easy to reconcile the account. I like being able to forecast my account, spending every dollar on paper, before the month begins. I think I've got this down. I've slipped on keeping track and my budget, and have sat here and wondered where my money has gone. I think though that I'll be able to get my finances in order again, and get my E-fund funded.