Hello Cheapskate! I use a Dell Latitude D630, and, while not exactly cheap, it has thus far served me well. Unfortunately this is one of those things where you truly do get what you pay for, so you must consider it an investment. http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/latit_d630?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&~tab=bundlestab
There is a trick to purchasing computers – don’t just go on line and order one – call and haggle; though it may take some time you can usually find a good salesperson who’s having a good day and will go out of their way to help. Remember to ask for freebies – throw in MS Office, or whatever software you need, at no extra cost.
Good luck in finding the perfect laptop!