Big red apple by Paolo Neo
Before I was a frugal blogger, I worked as a Marketing Manager 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 all seem to sell Apple products for about the same price, and don’t discount Apple products to gain advantage over their competition. To be an official Apple Reseller, a company must adhere to VERY strict guidelines, known as AppleFund. AppleFund is payment to the reseller that is used to promote and advertise Apple products. One of the (many) rules to obtain AppleFunds is that the reseller must not discount the Apple MSRP by more than $5. That’s why you’ll 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, resellers need to be creative.
So how do you get discounts on Apple Products? Here’s some of my best tips.
The Apple Store may not be the best option – 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 shop around.
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 Online Education Store.
And it’s always a good idea to check in the “Refurbished and Clearance Products” section of the Apple Online 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. (Check with family members and friends, too.)
Amazon – in many states you will not have to pay 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 (especially on MacBooks and iOS devices – these are not expensive to ship).
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.
AppleCare is Apple’s extended warranty protection (personally, I recommend it, especially if you are a new Apple user). Sales associates are instructed to push this product and are often awarded bonuses (SPIFFs) for selling AppleCare, It also has an insane markup. If you are considering getting AppleCare, it might be possible to get an even better price on the Apple hardware by asking for a bundle discount.
When to buy: Keep an ear out for Apple announcement rumors. After Apple announces new models, resellers negotiate to obtain back end funding to reduce their original cost for the now out-of-date models. This translates to a lower selling price of the older products to remain competitive against other resellers and the Apple Store.
Just google “Apple Announcements” for the latest rumors.
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