5 Tips For Getting The Best Deal on Apple Purchases

by James R. Stoup Nov 20, 2006

The holiday shopping season is about to take off and for many people a Mac or iPod is on their list. So, doesn’t it make sense to try and get the best deal possible? Well, to aid you in your purchasing endeavors we here at AppleMatters have come up with some tips for getting the most Apple stuff for your money. So, read on and prepare to save money.

Tip #1: Look at the store, but buy online
The best deals are always on the web. Now, you have to wait for your order to ship to you and so you must buy early, but that is a small price to pay for saving a few hundred bucks as you will see below.

Tip #2: Educational discounts rock
To qualify for the educational discount you have to be a student, teacher or in some way affiliated with an institution of learning. To use the discount all you have to do is go to http://www.apple.com/store and click on the “savings for students, faculty and staff” link. Follow the directions, find your school and then when you are returned to the Apple store you will magically find that all computers, monitors and iPods have been reduced in price by %5 to %15! Limits apply as to how many items you can purchase in a year. Be warned though that this discount can only be used at their online store. For clarification see tip #1.

Tip #3: There is no shame in refurbished products
Did you know that Apple sells refurbished iPods, Macs, monitors and Airport Base stations? Well, a lot of people don’t, much to their loss. Go to the Apple online store and click on the red “sale” tag (located on the bottom right of the page). From there you will be able to see all of Apple’s refurbished products as well as any sales or promos they are currently running. Sometimes you can get deals up to %40 percent off their original price. For example, as of 11/20/06 you can get a Refurbished MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo - White for $999 (thats %24 off the original price of $1,299) or a Refurbished iMac 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Combo Drive for $849 (thats %16 off the original price of $999). Or maybe you want an iPod? How about a Refurbished 4GB white iPod nano for $149 (thats %41 off the original price of $249). I have personally bought several refurbished computers from Apple and have never been able to tell the difference between them and their new products. Take my word for it, if you don’t mind last year’s stuff, this is a great way to go.

Tip #4: Shop on black Friday
The day after Thanksgiving Apple discounts everything they make for one entire day. All of their computers, iPods, monitors and some of their accessories will get a discount. And to make things easier on you shoppers out there this discount can be found both online and at their retail stores. This can be a good time to pick up an iPod or two but you have to more quickly because the sale ends when Saturday dawns.

Tip #5: Check out other sites
Apple.com isn’t the only place to go for great deals. If you want harddrives, memory, optical drives and just about anything that can be inserted into a Mac check out http://www.macsales.com and have a look at all of their wonderful stuff. They tend to have fair prices (and they ship fast) so be sure to use them if your Mac needs an upgrade this Christmas. If you like bundle deals then skip Apple’s store and head over to http://www.macmall.com and see what they have for sale. Their prices match Apple’s (assuming you don’t use any discounts) but come with lots of free stuff and special offers. For example, if you buy a laptop you can get a free Lexmark printer and the option of buying Parallels desktop for $9.99 or a Sling backpack for $4.99. An even better deal (for some) is to buy one of their Mac/Windows bundles that has Bootcamp and Windows XP pre-installed. This can save you last minute shoppers from the hassle of buying XP and installing it yourself.

Now that you know the best ways to save money this holiday season you can put your extra cash towards more important things like buying both season’s of Battlestar Galactica for your iPod.


  • You wrote regarding the educational discount,

    “Be warned though that this discount can only be used at their online store.”

    Presenting your student card at the Apple Store will give you the same discount, unless this policy has been changed recently. I’ve bought things this way. They just don’t advertise the discount in-store.

    Regarding Black Friday,

    “The day after Thanksgiving Apple discounts everything they make for one entire day.”

    Not nearly “everything”; they’ll discount some popular items a little, and some fringe ones a little more. Overall, don’t expect more than 3-6 products to be discounted.

    neven had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 14
  • neven,

    As far as I have ever been told it was online-only but if you have gotten it in store before that is great. When did you last purchase something like this?

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 122
  • Correct, with valid ID Apple Stores will sell HARDWARE at education prices. My last purchase was a MacMini a few months ago. But Apple stores don’t sell software at education prices mainly because most education prices software comes in special packaging/serial numbers.

    davidwb had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 32
  • You can definitly use academic discount in the retail store, just bring in your ID and they look in a book and find what the discount is.

    musicpenguy had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 2
  • You guys missed a big one.

    Shop where there is no sales tax.

    For example, you can purchase by phone or online from B&H Electronics (not affiliated in anyway) and if you don’t live in NY, you don’t pay tax. I saved a bunch of money by doing this when I bought my Powerbook several years back.

    Whatever discount Apple gives on Black Friday is not likely to be as good as avoiding tax… at least if you are making a $2k+ purchase (I could be wrong).

    knight777 had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 1
  • Also. Don’t forget AMAZON! They’ve often been the best by 5 to 10% in the past.

    starman4 had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 5
  • Also, if you are a FEDERAL EMPLOYEE, STATE EMPLOYEE, or FEDERAL OR STATE CONTRACTOR, Apple has an online store for you as well.  Apple products are discounted 8% and non-Apple brand accessories 4%.  That may not sounds like a whole lot but it sure helped me when I bought my MacBook Pro and my 30” Cinema Display!!!

    sleight42 had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 1
  • James: I bought a MacBook + iPod Nano this June at an Apple store with my EDU ID card and got the “Back to school” deal they were offering at the time.

    Non-Apple software may not be available at EDU prices (you’d better believe they have the EDU version of Mac Office though grin but Apple’s software is the same software, just a cheaper price.

    There is no EDU discount for Applecare or on the iPod shuffle, or some other things.

    I’m still pleased with my Airport Express I got for $99 two years ago on Black Friday.  Frankly I think that’s a more appropriate price than $130.

    HOWEVER: I had nothing but problems with a refurbished Airport Extreme that I bought from Apple.  I had to return it 2 or 3 times before I got one that worked.  YMMV.

    luomat had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 10
  • One more vote for refurb: I bought my intel iMac, 20” 2GHz core duo in May this year - only difference I can tell was the brown cardboard “refurbished” box rather than the slick packaging.  Saved at least $300.  Oh yeah, I’m a switcher, and the refurb was a great economic incentive to switch.

    oskidoc had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 8
  • Refurbished seems to me like the safest and most substantial discount out there.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to take advantage of this program yet, but I’m looking forward to getting a Macbook Pro this way.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 20, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • “There is no EDU discount for Applecare…”

    Incorrect, at least in one case: for the MacBook, I see the online price of Applecare go down from $249 to $183 when using educational pricing.

    garthabrindoid had this to say on Nov 21, 2006 Posts: 5
  • The big mailorder outfits like MacConnection and MacZone do offer some great deals, but I’d avoid MacMall (have for a decade in fact); read this forum. P.S.: ClubMac and OnSale are divisions of Mac Mall.

    Check MacPrices for the latest prices from all the major vendors, including Apple.

    As for AppleCare, considerable savings can be found via PriceGrabber; just make sure you order the package well before the end of your initial one-year warranty, as the AppleCare documentation has to be mailed in when purchased from third party vendors.

    HandyMac had this to say on Nov 21, 2006 Posts: 1
  • I remember always saving the tax when I lived in NYC when I paid cash. That doesn’t work in a big store of course…

    baramuro had this to say on Nov 21, 2006 Posts: 5
  • I am disappointed. The “Black Friday” big savings only amounted to $101 off on iMacs and MacBook computers only and some assorted $30 and $40 discounts on other things. I suspect I could get a larger computer discount on open box day at an Apple Store.

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Nov 24, 2006 Posts: 121
  • (Not even all of their computers were discounted!)

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Nov 24, 2006 Posts: 121
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