Instead of a new laptop, maybe consider this 2007 Toyota Prius. For $3,500, it’s priced slightly higher than the mid-range 14-inch model, but it does get better gas mileage. If you’re looking for a new project, maybe go in the opposite direction of a new computer with an older, more analog car. This 1925 Ford T-Bucket project needs quite a bit of TLC, but that’s the purpose of a project, right? Also, it’s priced identically to the Prius at $3,500.
It’s surprisingly hard to find unironically dilapidated rides up for sale in this price bracket. But fortunately, there’s always the sacrificial Chrysler PT Cruiser. This $4,000 example happens to be the GT-trim, which is a turbocharged 2.4-liter making north of 200 horsepower. So yeah, this is a prime example of a less desirable ride that you actually might want to buy, so as long as you can admit to your friends that you own one.
If you’re willing to spend enough money, you can score a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro. A completely maxed-out model with a 32-core GPU, 64GB of memory, and an 8TB SSD will run $5,899 as a 14-inch model, or $6,099 as a 16-inch.
At $6,200, this one is just a tad over budget (unless you factor in the cost of AppleCare+) but it’s worth it: a 2005 Honda Element with a manual transmission. Power everything and tons of cargo space make it a great practical pick, and 160,000 miles on the clock means that it has plenty of life left. And did I mention that it was a Honda Element?