I'm on my second laptop and I love the portability. It seems that, regarding hardware, the thing to give out the quickest is the battery. While your laptop is still portable without a battery, it kind of defeats the purpose, if it has to be plugged in wherever you go. What fun is a laptop if you can't take it to the park?!?
I realized that it is simple to remove the battery on my new laptop. On my old one, it required a tiny screwdriver, and then there was a gaping hole. The new one is a Dell, and there is a toggle switch sort of thingie (it's a technical term, I promise) on the bottom that I slide over and the battery pops off.
So, I make sure the battery is fully charged, and if I'm going to be leaving my laptop plugged in at my desk, I simply remove the battery. If I do want to switch to battery power, I just pop it back on, wait a few seconds, and I'm ready to go!
I then use the battery until it runs all the way down (sometimes it is over the next several sessions) - whether I am at my desk or not. Once it is run down, I plug it back in, and once fully charged, I remove the battery until I need it again.
As an aside, while I'm at my desk I much prefer to plug in a regular monitor and a keyboard for comfort's sake. I had both left over from my old desktop, and it's nice to be able to get more used out of them. I also use my mouse and mouse pad at all times since the touch pad just doesn't do it for me.
Hope this helps you get more out of your laptop! For more frugal ideas, visit Life as Mom.
And, you can see what I'm praying about this week here.