liam spotlight

Jan 7, 2021

When the pandemic hit, this Greenlight teen built his own computer

What do you do when you’re thirteen years old, stuck at home for months and miss your friends like crazy? You save up to build your own gaming computer — from scratch. OK, maybe. Maybe not. But that is the true story of this game-loving Greenlight teen, Liam G.

Meet Liam

Liam is an eighth-grader who has a knack for science, a lot of friends and a passion for games. Sports, video games, you name it. He especially loves video games because it’s a way to hang out with his friends while doing something they all enjoy. But that changed when the pandemic hit. Most of his friends had gaming computers to play together, but he didn't. He decided to build one himself, so he could play with all his MVBs — Most Valuable Buddies.

How he got started

His friend built a gaming computer, and it planted the seed for Liam: He could do the same! But first, he had to convince his mom he had a solid game plan. Here’s a rundown of what Liam needed to do to build his first gaming computer: 

Step 1: Figure out what parts to buy 

After getting a list of parts from his buddy, Liam went straight into research mode. He spent 2-3 weeks comparing prices to make sure he could afford everything. What all goes into a gaming computer? A lot! 

Liam needed:

  • Computer monitor

  • Desktop case 

  • Power supply  

  • Motherboard, aka control center

  • CPU (central processing unit)

  • RAM card (for memory)

  • SSD (storage card)

  • Graphics card 

  • Gaming Headset

  • Keyboard

  • Mouse

Luckily, Liam already had some of the accessories. Still, he’d need to save up $700. (A graphics card alone costs $200.) That’s where Greenlight came in handy. 

Step 2: Save up with Greenlight

Liam’s parents got him Greenlight before the pandemic, so he had some money to work with, but not enough to build his computer. Little by little, he grew his savings by doing extra chores around the house — combined with allowance money. All in all, it took Liam 77 weeks to save up the money he needed to build his computer.

bold fact, Liam saving up for 77 weeks

Step 3: Buy the parts and build it

His parents moved the $700 from his Save account to Spend account, so he could order the parts. Together with his dad, Liam spent four hours building his first gaming computer — but it didn’t work properly. After some troubleshooting, he realized he needed Windows 10, which was not in the budget. Fortunately, one of his buddies had the file and put it on a thumb drive for him to use. Problem solved. 

Now that he has a gaming computer, Liam’s been able to reconnect with his friends. He’s also teaching other teens how to build their own computer. Oh, and did we mention he built a second computer to challenge himself even more? Go, Liam, go!

Liam's two cents quote

What’s next?

Liam’s researching his next challenge: How to create a website from scratch. He’d like the focus to be building computers or building an e-commerce business. The coding, the costs… it’s involved. But he’s got the smarts (and smart money habits) to do it.

Are your kids gamers like Liam? We’ve got good news for you: Video games are a fun way to have the money talk with your kids.

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