There are some things in life you don't mind spending beaucoup bucks on—like a new laptop—and other things that don't even seem worthy of your hard-earned $30—like a case for it. Illogical? You bet. But you can go the cheap route and DIY yourself a just-good-enough laptop sleeve from a standard bubble mailer.
Instead of investing (wasting) money on an overpriced envelope of unpadded fabric, grab a self-sealing bubble mailer from your local office supply store.
Once you get it home and get your laptop inside, instead of sealing it, grab some self-stick velcro strips and attach them to the opening of your envelope. Now you'll have a re-closable, padded laptop sleeve with just enough durability to convince yourself you're better off than those guys who spent their money on store-bought sleeves!
They come in a variety of sizes and (depending where you shop) tons of different colors and patterns, giving you plenty of options for customization. Or you could attach a sticker or decal on the front like Stan did with the Apple logo.
We wouldn't recommend drop-testing it, but it does pretty well keeping dents and scrates away when it's rustling around in your bag.