The laptop market has come a long way in a few years, and now you can comfortably spend under $500 a get a great little workhorse, capable of doing the everyday jobs you need it for as well as using it for work or in your home office.
Equally, if you are not careful, you can easily pick up a right stinker that also fits into the same price bracket. As laptops go up in price, there is less and less chance of this happening, but in this cheap category, you are open to abuse and ending up with something which is borderline useless almost from the second you take it out the box.
True story: Last year the kid’s grandparents bought my two children a low-cost Windows S machine from HP each for Christmas. Forward on a few months, and not only do they not have enough inbuilt storage to install the latest Windows update, but I physically can’t delete anything else from the meager flash memory they come with to sort out the issue. They are barely worth their place in the house as doorstops anymore.
Let’s be careful out there and have a look at where your money can be much better spent.