It might surprise you to find that someone who claims to be “frugal” is as fanatical about Apple computers as Jeremy and I are. For us, though, part of the reason we try to be frugal in some areas is so that we can splurge a little in the areas that are important to us, and Apple computers is one of those areas!
If you’ve never used an Apple computer, you’re probably wondering why people would pay so much when there are PCs that are so much cheaper! I’m not going to try to convince you to switch to Apple today, but if you’ve already been thinking about it but can’t stomach the price, here are three ways we’ve been able to purchase Macs at a discount.
Our first Apple purchase (over six years ago) was a $500 Mac Mini. (They now start at $599.) This little computer is not much bigger than a small, square photo album, and that was one of the things we loved about it!
It’s not as fast or as powerful as some of the other Mac computers – thus the lower price tag – but for home and office use, it’s great, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than purchasing an iMac or a laptop!
You can use non-Apple peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc) with a Mac mini, which saved us quite a bundle. We basically just bought the Mini for $500 and used our existing monitor, keyboard, and mouse instead of dropping a few hundred dollars on a fancy Apple display and peripherals.
We used our Mac Mini for about five years and it served us well. When I started blogging and using some more resource-intensive programs like graphic design software, it became apparent that we needed to upgrade to a faster computer – but then again, it was already a few years old at that point, too.
If you’re wanting to get into a new Mac for under $1,000, a Mac Mini might be the right option for you.
We bought my current iMac off of Craigslist – yep, Craiglist! This is a great option if you are already familiar with Macs, though it might be hard to know if you’re getting a good product if you’re not familiar with Macs.
We purchased a two-year-old, “last year’s model” iMac for around $900, and saved about $300 in the process. No, not a huge discount, but it does speak to something of their quality when a computer holds its value that well! It also had a year or two of Apple Care left on it, which was a nice safety net if something did happen to go wrong.
When Craiglists searches for used Mac computers didn’t turn up much in Colorado Springs, Jeremy extended his search to the Denver Craigslist, and we ended up purchasing one from someone in south Denver, who was willing to meet us in Castle Rock.
This worked out well for us, though keep in mind that if you arrange to meet somewhere when purchasing a computer it can be hard to find a place to plug it in and make sure it’s working OK.
The only issue with had with the used computer is that the former owner couldn’t remember her administrator password so that we could delete their data and start clean. Jeremy ended up having to do some sort of techie thing to get it reset, and once we got that figured out, all was well and I love my giant-screen iMac!
Our most recent Apple purchase was a MacBook Pro for Jeremy. We looked for a used one on Craigslist for awhile, but he wanted one of the newer ones with a unibody and bigger screen and it was difficult to find something that specific used.
We ended up purchasing a refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple itself, and got exactly what Jeremy wanted and saved about 20% versus buying new.
The “officially refurbished by Apple” option is niced because it’s been inspected and tested by Apple itself and comes with a one-year warranty. It’s not as cheap as buying something off, say, Craigslist, but does have a little more peace of mind and can be easier to get what you’re looking for if you have very specific needs.
One thing to remember about purchasing refurbished is that you may not want to go with the absolute cheapest option. Sure, you can get a refurbished iPhone 3 for $20 (through AT&T; it doesn’t appear that Apple sells refurbished iPhones), but there’s a reason it’s so cheap: the older products can’t keep up with the newest operating system and you’ll likely be frustrated with how slow it runs.
Final thoughts on saving money on Macs
I believe the Apple store at the Shops at Briargate does offer a 10% discount for military on select (new) items – you may need to confirm that they’re still offering that deal.
Were you expecting a way to save 50% on Mac computers? Sorry to disappoint – it just doesn’t happen! But, since Apple almost never discounts their new computers, often buying small, used, or refurbished is the best way to save money on a Mac.
Quick note: another way you can save money when purchasing a Mac is to use their iWork office suite instead of Microsoft Office.
You can get their word processor, spreadsheet utility, and presentation tool for $19.99 each – and that’s the full version, not a student license! There is a little bit of a learning curve if you are used to Office, but these tools are slick and will enable you to do so much more than you can with Office.
If you just don’t get why you can only save a few hundred bucks by purchasing new or used, know that part of the reason is because Apple products hold their value quite well! So, it means you spend more on the outset but you’re getting a higher-quality product, which generally is going to cost last in the long run. Jeremy actually purchased his iPhone 3 for $200 new, and then sold it on Craigslist for $175 a whole two years later!
Do you have any other helpful tips on how to save money when buying Apple products? Have you gotten a steal so good you can’t help but brag about it?
Join the discussion of Mac enthusiasts in the comments!