6 Ways to Save Money on iPads, iPhones, and Macs
Apple makes powerful products that are intuitive and sexy. That's why I've been thinking of switching to a Mac for the past year. But one thing is stopping me: They're so damn expensive!
1. Buy Refurbished from Apple
Apple has one of the best refurbishing programs around. Some of these machines never left the factory and were simply held back due to things like scratches, dents, or additional testing.
You still get a one-year warranty (which is rare for refurbished products) and each product has gone through a rigorous testing process, so you are getting top-notch Apple quality.
The downside is there is a limited selection of products, but if you check out the refurbished store frequently, you're bound to find what you're looking for. This is one of those tips that long-time Apple fans have been taking advantage of for a long time: You're basically getting an almost-new machine at a pretty good discount.
Sample Deal: 16GB Wi-Fi iPad for $429
Typical Discount: 15-20%
MacMall is a great place to find brand-new iPads, Macs, and iPods at a slight discount. It's rare to find a vendor that doesn't simply sell at the retail price, but MacMall manages to pull it off.
They are authorized by Apple to sell their products, and they offer Apple's full warranty program. If you want brand-spanking new and you don't want to pay full price, this is a great option. They'll even give you free shipping for orders over $49, which shouldn't be a problem with Apple's prices...
Sample Deal: 11.6" MacBook Air, 2GB RAM, 64GB Storage for $969
Typical Discount: 3-4%
3. The EDU Discount
Students and teachers can get up to an 8% discount on all Apple products. Pretty sweet, huh? You can even shop online at Apple.com and get the discount by looking up your school and purchasing via the Education Store portal.
I haven't gone through the process online, so I don't know if you can just say you go to a certain school or not, but if there is a check, I'm sure you can find a relative or a friend who can hook you up.
There are limits to how many products you can purchase with this discount in any given year, so make sure you review their terms and conditions beforehand.
Sample Deal: 15" MacBook Pro, 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive for $1,999
Typical Discount: Up to 8%
4. Buy Used
Buying used has always been a great way to save some money. But you will have to do your homework. Craigslist and eBay are my favorite places to buy used anything, but please make sure you meet these people in a public place, check out the machines/devices carefully, etc.
And make sure to shop around: You might find a machine that's in better condition for a little bit more, and that might be a good sign that the device will last longer while you own it.
Sample Deal: 16 GB iPhone 4 for $440
Typical Discount: Sky is the limit
5. Buy the Previous Generation
You can save a lot of money by simply buying the previous version of any Apple product. Every time a new version comes out, the old ones lose a little bit of luster and a little bit of their wow factor. That means there are a bunch of people who want to upgrade, and they will sell their old Macs and iPods for cheap. You might not like the idea of being a generation behind, but unless you're a heavy-duty user and actually need the fastest hardware (most people don't), then why not save a few bucks?
There are already rumblings that the new iPad will be coming out this year and the current ones will be selling for cheap (cheaper, anyway).
Sample Deal: 13.3" MacBook Air with 2GB RAM and 2.13GHz processor for $1,125 on Amazon
Typical Discount: 20-40%; sometimes more
6. Other Discount Programs
There are lots of other places you can find discounts depending on where you bank and where you work. I have a Bank of America credit card, and that means I can purchase some products via their WorldPoints Mall and get extra points that I can then turn in for cash.
It's not a straight discount, but it does help bring the price down some.
For example, MacMall and Apple both give me two bonus points for every dollar I spend with this program. That means buying a $1,500 Mac would net me 4,500 points, which are "worth" $45. If I shop at MacMall, that's a $45 discount on top of their already discounted price!
Government employees can also get a discount, whether they are federal or state employees. There are also limitations here but the discount covers military members too, so make sure to read up on the details.
Sample Deal: 27" iMac with 4GB RAM and 3.2GHz for $1,595
Typical Discount: ~3%
I'm curious to hear from readers if they've found other ways to save money when shopping Apple or from people who have used these discounts successfully.