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. One of those rules is that you must not discount the Apple MSRP by more than $5. That’s why you will see promotions like Gift Cards 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.
Here’s some of my best tips to get discounts on Apple Products:.
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 with the products and decide which one is right for you, then buy it elsewhere.
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 the “Refurbished and Clearance Products” section of the Apple Store. I've 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'll not have to pay shipping or taxes when you purchase through Amazon. Amazon is very competitive in price and in the past has offered mail-in rebates. I recommend using a credit card that will extend your warranty, like 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 in what states sales tax is charged (they may have a physical presence in multiple states). Do your homework and know what promotions are available. Let them know what you want and ask for their best price. This is 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 work 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, in late Jan 2012 Apple will be having a Media Event). If they introduce a new version of the product you are looking at, chances are the price may drop. Just google “Apple Announcements” for the latest rumors.