Backing up is a cheap insurance policy against data loss. It does not take long (backing up data to a DVD takes less than ½ an hour) and to purchase a 10 pack of rewritable DVDs at Staples costs under $18 on their website. To recover data on your hard drive from a data recovery service will run about $500 minimum up to a few thousand. Recovery is not guaranteed however. One service also prices out by emergency service which is 24 hours; priority service which is 3 days; and standard service which is 2 weeks turnaround time. You want 24 hour turnaround and you will pay for that level of service.
On a personal note, when I have had to reinstall data from my backups, I was up and running with the essential files and programs within about 4-5 hours. Note that you should have your program disks in a safe place. That said, usually I can have my computer up and running in about a day. The cost, not in the hundreds or thousands of dollars but less than $20 in files (I back up pictures at full size which does use a few DVDs) and the time spent to upload the DVDs. Any losses I may have incurred of data were minimal.
My question to you then is what scenario would you rather have when your data is lost? Personally I prefer my inexpensive insurance policy so to speak of backing up my data in case I need it in case I have a computer issue where it is lost. Several years ago in about a 3 week span, 2 friends of mine lost data on their computer. One was due to a flood in their office and the other was due to a hard drive crash. They did not have backups. Confidential client data and irreplaceable family pictures were lost. Had my friends backed up their computer, any loss would have been minimal. If you think this could never happen to you, think again. As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Further, I also have copies of backups away from my home. In case the unforeseen happens, I still can get my data. Hopefully that scenario will never happen but if it does, I am prepared.
You can use different media to back up your data. A USB drive (although I do not recommend that you use this method), DVD drive, external hard drive, online backup service. Prices will vary of course. If you are using an online service, some also offer a free version. These versions are not as good as the paid versions. If you choose this route, mozy.com offers a plan with unlimited space for $4.95 per month. I have only heard good things about it.
In the end the choice is yours. Before deciding that you will not back up your data, think about what would happen if you don’t and you have a hard drive crash, a virus that destroys your data or some other mishap.