Big red apple by Paolo Neo
Before I was a frugal blogger, I worked in Marketing for a national Apple Reseller. I started my career in the Sales Department and was often asked by friends, family, (and friends of family) if I could get them a discount. While my company did offer an employee discount, I was limited to 1 computer a year, and the discount basically only covered the sales tax.
You may have wondered why retailers don’t discount Apple products to gain advantage over their competition. To be an Apple Reseller a company must adhere to VERY strict guidelines, called AppleFund. AppleFund is payment to the reseller that is used for the marketing of Apple products by the reseller. One of the rules to get AppleFunds is that the reseller must not discount the Apple MSRP by more than $5. That’s why you will see promotions like Gift Cards or rebates with a purchase of an Apple product, or maybe an accessory bundle with a purchase of a computer. To differentiate yourselves from the competition, companies have to be creative.
So how do you get discounts on Apple Products? Here’s some of my best tips.
Never buy new products directly from Apple. Apple has retail stores in almost every state, and in store or online, you’ll pay sales tax. If you’re buying a $1,000 computer – that can add up! Go to the store, play around the the products and decide which one is right for you, then buy it elsewhere.
However, if you know someone that is a teacher or a college student, you might get a nice little price break from shopping through the Apple Education Store.
It’s also a good idea to check on the “Refurbished and Clearance Products” section of the Apple Store. I have suggested this to family and friends and so far no problems – many times it appeared that the product wasn’t even used… just an overstock item, changed to a brown box (however, your mileage may vary). You’ll see savings of 10-20% and receive a one-year warranty.
Also, many corporations offer an Apple Employee Purchase Program. Check your benefits site to see if your company participates.
Amazon – in most states you will not have to pay shipping or taxes when you buy through Amazon. Amazon is often very competitive in price and in the past has offered mail-in rebates. I recommend using a credit card that will extend your warranty, such as American Express.
Apple Resellers – If you know the model you want to buy, call an out-of-state Apple Reseller and talk to the sales associate. Ask when you call what states are charged sales tax (they may have a physical presence in multiple states). Do your homework first and know what promotions are out there. Let them know what you want and ask for their best price. This will be a good starting point for you to negotiate. You’ll save on sales tax, and maybe get a price lower than advertised. Always ask for FREE shipping. The associates are working on commission, so just like buying a car, another good rule of thumb is to wait until the end of the month, when the sales associate is trying to make his/her numbers.
Try CDW, OnSale MacMall and Zones.com.
When to buy: Keep an ear out for Apple announcement rumors (as of this posting, Apple just held the Worldwide Developers Conference ). They introduced updated MacBooks so, chances are the price may drop on existing inventory.
Just google “Apple Announcements” for the latest rumors.