My budget will be $3500 or better, and all I did was put out a jar to collect change from people that come over and gave up eating fast food for lunch while at work.
Goes a little something like this. Fast food costs about $8 a day, usually closer to $10, but it doesn't really matter. $8 is the amount I established as what it costs, this way if we decide to go hit up a place for lunch on a Friday, I don't feel guilty about going along since I underestimated my cost. So, $40 a week, except that I now buy bread, a meat and cheese and packets of condiments, bottled water and cans of soda to have a sandwich and some stuff to drink. Overly estimated to costing me $16 a week on groceries which it really doesn't, it's less then half of that, but again, in case the crew decides to go somewhere for lunch I can go along and not feel guilty about being there. Also holidays wouldn't count so this makes up for that too. So I put $24 away each week. 104 weeks over the span of 2 years and I put away $2496.
Now I started collecting change back in January. Just have a jar out that has a note on it that asks "Spare Some Change?" I've gotten about $400 from that already and we're just starting September. Assuming over the next 16 months, I collect half as much I'll end up with $800 from that.
So that's $2496, plus a very modest $800 more, and I'm at $3296. Kick in $4 more just to make it a nice round number and I'm up to $3300. Now, I have every intention of giving my nephews the computer I'm currently on. It's a pretty good system as is. Vista 64bit, Core2 Quad 2.66 Ghz, 8GB ram, 2gb GTX 650 graphics, 500gb hd with plenty of space in the case to add a couple more drives, and a 500 watt psu keeping everything running. (My current system does in fact play SC, but I'm going to get a new one anyway.) So my current system is waaaaaaay more then a 8 and 11 year old (presently) need and considering the PC they have now is just disgustingly pathetic, 2 cores, 1gb of ram, integrated graphics... They only play minecraft and my old Command and Conquer games on it, my sister said she'd give me $200 for my current one. It's worth a hell of a lot more, even a year from now, but I was going to give it to them for free, so I'll take the $200 with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. It's a great deal for them and I get a little bit more.
So that gives me $3500. (Can be much closer to $3900 if the change I collect stays at its current pace, and well over $4000 if I wasn't so modest with how much I I save by not having fast food for lunch.) I believe that'll buy me a pretty damned good system and all I did was pretty much nothing at all...
If you motivate yourself properly and put a good solid plan in place, you too can have a bad ass system by release time.