So what's a frugal gadget-lover to do? Here are some tricks I discovered along the way to save a bundle not only on MacBooks but on iPhones and iPads too.
1. Buy Refurbished
Did you know you can buy refurbished devices straight from Apple? They cost around 15–20 percent less and look brand-spanking new, fitted out with a new shell, new battery and the same full one-year warranty as any other Apple product. That means you can save between $100 and $200 on an iPad and between $350 and $600 on a MacBook Pro.
So what's the catch? Basically the risk is that you are purchasing a lemon. After all, it was returned for some reason, right? Well not necessarily. While some refurbs may have been returned due to a technical problem, others never left the factory and simply needed to be updated because of a scratch or ding. Either way, Apple refurbs are certified after rigorous testing, which some experts argue means you're less likely to have a problem than if you bought the product new. Of course, if you do have a problem, you'll be covered by the warranty.
Visit the Apple store here to take a look. If you can't find what you're looking for straight off, check back, as they update the site regularly.
2. Try MacMall
While most retailers struggle to give a discount on Apple’s recommended retail prices, MacMall somehow manages to track down a few bargains. An authorized Apple reseller, they sell everything from discounted iPads to accessories, storage and even AppleCare. They also have a daily deal section offering the day's best buys. For example, while a 13" MacBook Pro is currently selling for $1,199 in the Apple Store, MacMall is running a special for $1,099.
3. Use the student/teacher discount
If you are a college student or teacher, Apple offers discounted educational rates on products such as MacBooks, iPads and accessories. For example while a basic 13" MacBook Air currently costs $1,099, it is reduced to $1,049 in the Education Store. And while a MacBook pro with Retina Display costs $1,299, it is reduced to $1,199 in the Education Store. In addition, you can apply for special interest-free financing or trade in your old computer or device for an Apple Store Gift Card. Visit the Apple Education Store here for more details.
4. Stick to Wi-Fi and double up on data
Do you really need 3G/cellular on both your cell and your iPad? These days most places you'll be using your iPad offer free Wi-Fi anyway. And if you have an iPhone you can use Personal Hotspot to share data with your iPad or MacBook. The Wi-Fi-only iPad option is significantly cheaper. For example, The new iPad Air 16GB is $499 while the Wi-Fi Cellular is $629. In addition, by choosing Wi-Fi-only you not only save on the initial purchase price but also on monthly data plans from your provider.
5. Consider a previous generation
With the arrival of iPad mini 2 and the release of iPad Air this month, now is the perfect time to find a bargain on older-generation tablets. And the same goes for iPhones and MacBooks as well. For example, while the iPad Air starts at $499, you can buy a brand new iPad 2 from the Apple store for as a little as $399 or a refurb for $319. So you may want to think twice about how much you need that new retina display.
6. Use external or cloud storage
How much storage do you really need at any one given moment? By choosing the model with the least storage possible you can knock several hundred dollars off the price of your iPad, iPhone or MacBook. For example, while a 16GB iPad 2 costs $399, a 32GB costs $499, a 64 costs $599 and a 128GB costs $699. That's pretty pricey when you consider that you can buy a WD My Passport for Mac with 500GB of automatic and cloud storage on Amazon for just $66. So if you need more storage you may be better off sticking to a 16GB and paying for either a hard drive or a cloud storage option such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
7. Buy accessories online
When it comes to buying things like cases, accessories and external storage, steer clear of the Apple store. Instead check out eBay, Craigslist and Amazon, where you can find a wider range of gadgets for a fraction of the price. For example, while an iPad Smart Cover costs $39 from the Apple store, there are plenty of options for under $10 online. And, of course, don't forget to check KCL, as we often publish deals on Apple accessories, too.
This is a guest post by Katie from Villa de las Rosas, Argentina