Getting the Best Deal on New Macs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by highscheme, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. highscheme macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    OK, so there is a ton of discussion about specs and when updates will come, but I want to start a thread solely about how to get the best deals on New or Apple Refurbished Macs.

    I'll throw out what I know...

    1.) Educational Discount: If you have the ability to use the educational discount, just go to the Apple Store use it.

    2.) Go Refurbished: Often brand new, always in like new condition. Same warranty.

    3.) Buy on If you are buying a brand new mac without build to order options, buy from for no sales tax.

    4.) Upgrade RAM/SSD Yourself: Apple charges a huge premium for RAM and SSD upgrades. These are not difficult to install, so just buy the computer and upgrade them yourself

    5.) Don't Upgrade the CPU: Assuming all the other specs are the same, don't pay the premium for the fastest CPU unless you really need the extra power. Be careful though, because often you need to upgrade to a certain CPU in order to get a certain GPU etc. But usually there is a "high end" processor upgrade, that gives horrible performance/price.

    6.) Wait for the Updates!: As with any technology, you get more for your money the long you wait. If possible wait until right after an update to buy. Even if you are satisfied with the older specs, you will almost certainly get the best deal for those specs once the new models are released.

    7.) Bank of America "Add it Up": This is a free promotion for anyone using Bank of America debit or credit cards. Once you enroll in the program you get discounts if you use it to pay for things at online/brick & mortar retail stores. In the case of, you get 2% discount on any purchase. Over the Christmas holidays, they actually had 4% discount in the Apple store. also offers "Add It Up" discounts, but I am not sure of the %

    8.) Applecare: Buy Applecare from or from a reputable ebay seller. You get the same exact thing for cheaper price. Beware of the scammers selling just the serial #s on Ebay—buy the brand new boxed ones only. No box = Scam.

    9.) Software: If you need Microsoft Office, but are on a tight budget—seriously look into OpenOffice. It's free and ported to OSX. Does the exact same thing for free.

    Also, for other software, check ebay for brand new stuff being resold. I've been given software in the past that I have no use for, and I have sold it on ebay, brand new for like half the retail price. I'm sure more in demand software goes for closer to the retail price, but there are some great deals.

    Ok, that's what I have so far. Feel free to comment on these tips, and add your own!

    For the record, I am waiting for the new MBP updates, and planning out how I can get the absolute max for my cash when they drop.

    Also, I realise my list was US-centric, but feel free to add international tips as well.
  2. shaneomac.28 macrumors newbie


    Mar 26, 2010
    Finding the Best Deals Online

    Check out the website:

    It does a great job of comparing online prices for macs and ipods. Shop around see what is the best deal for you.
    Certified reseller fast free shipment and best deal I found on my 15 2.53ghz macbook pro plus these systems are configurable!

    Got instant $60 online rebate and free 4 gb usb stick of ram. Trick here was to add the item to your cart and sometimes they throw in an instant cash rebate at checkout reducing the price even more, I assume they dont advertise this due to restrictions on pricing from apple. Paid 1566 vs 1699 plus tax at the apple store
    fast free shipping and cheaper then educational discount on spec macs if you don't have to pony up the sales tax.
    Often have a up to $150 mail in rebate, if you dont mind waiting can be a good deal.

    Apple End of life models/
    As soon as new models come out which is pretty often for apple you can pick up the old model at a great discount that is if you dont mind waiting around and unlike me dont get tempted to buy the new model just released.

    Used Macs:
    Refurbished models can't be beat, check out the videos of the unboxing of refurb models on youtube, the are pristine and under warranty with the first year option to buy apple care. You can get some great deals
    Open box models are a great deal if you can snag one, essentially have been returned in 14 day window and still under warranty.

    Ebay and Craigslist/
    Its up to you, if you know what your doing heck yeah can find some good deals. I found alot of people have some very high opinions of their used systems and you may be able to find something cheaper at a reputable online retailer but just use caution and common sense "if its too good to be is dummy!!!" FYI Stolen macs can be tracked down so beware, the Police will take your stuff if its hot!
  3. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Here's a few ways I've found to save money over the years:

    1) Buy refurbished. As stated above, just as good as new but considerably less.

    2) Buy a closeout model. I bought my wife's white Macbook at BestBuy for $765 - it was the previous model that had just been replaced (reduced from $1099 to $849), PLUS it was an open-box return, so 10% off. I lost a grand total of 2 weeks of warranty, and it did have a couple light scratches, but all in all a GREAT deal.

    3) Buy on eBay/CL. Personally, I prefer eBay - better buyer protection. But be careful, as some deals just AREN'T DEALS. (Shameless plug: My iMac is for sale on eBay right now. :))

    4) MR Marketplace. If you have the posts, give it a look-see. (Yep, it's there, too.)

    5) Shop around! Most important one of all, if you ask me. Don't assume that since the Macbook is $999 at Apple that it will be $999 everywhere. Microcenter has been selling the new white MB for $799 (after discount) for quite a while now.

    There you go! A few lessons from a cheapskate... ;)
  4. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Good tips -- a couple other thoughts:

    There is also a government employee discount, which is also useable within a family. Not as large as the education discount but still 5-10% depending on the product (and Apple Care is 33% off).

    RAM is cheaper through Crucial etc., but Apple doesn't jack you as much as they used to. It's a lot closer call now assuming you don't resell the old sticks and you value your installation time as greater than zero.
  5. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    I just received a reburb 27" iMac. It is impossible to tell this is not brand spanking new!!!
  6. JNickyJJ macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2010
    I tend to buy refurbished from apple, they are usually in better condition then brand new [​IMG] this was my first post on my refurbished 21.5 iMac wooo
  7. birdpixel macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks highscheme. Very handy. I appreciate the effort you put into this. I am waiting on buying a mac pro and this list is especially useful.

    One more tip; see if you have a friend who works for Apple; they can get you around 15% discount. The amount I think is limited to a few thousand dollars per year, so don't feel offended if they cannot oblige you...;)

  8. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Don't forget my choice, OWC!;)
  9. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    If you have a Discover card, you can get 5% off any Apple online store purchase. That gave me 20% off on a refurbished Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server. Also if you buy a refurbished discontinued model you can get substantial savings. I paid $1100 for a $1600 Al Macbook a year ago, a 31% discount. They still occasionally appear at $1000, which combined with a Discover card would mean 40% off, but it's an old model now.
  10. Piplodocus macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2008
    When I looked into SSD's I didn't think apple were bad on price. Correct me if I'm wrong though...
  11. AV8TOR macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2010
    Fort Worth TX
    I got a corporate discount when I bought my iMac because our company buys Macs.
  12. AJLSeattle macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2009
    Other places to buy refurbished macs?

    Does anyone know of anywhere online you can buy refurbished macs other than through the Apple store that are still covered by Apple's 1-year warranty and would be eligible for Applecare? I am looking to buy the current version of the low-end 13" MPB at a discount when the new MPBs are released, but want to avoid the sales tax that I would have to pay if I bought it through the Apple store. (I am in Washington, so I have to pay sales tax through as well.)
  13. KevKaos macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2006
    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    Man, am I glad I read your posting. I forgot about my Govt Employee discount. I just last month bought a refurb 21.5" 1TB iMac, and have been looking for a good price on Applecare for it. Called with a CC and just ordered it to my door for $126. Best price I have seen, other than the oft times dodgy Ebay sales. Once done, I asked him to price out a new (not refurbed)21.5 1TB iMac with govt discount and it was $100 more than the refurb price.
  14. FieryFurnace macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Berlin, Germany
    Apple doesn't put the best and fastest SSD available in the Macs when you by the SSD directly from them.
  15. Silvia835 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2010
    AppleCare from unauthorized Apple reseller?

    Just a question about buying AppleCare coverage on ebay. Can't Apple refuse to honor your warranty if you bought AppleCare from an unauthorized Apple reseller?(which I would guess is 99.9% of those selling Applecare on ebay.):confused:
  16. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    a great, inexpensive Photoshop alternative is the Mac OS native Pixelmator. It's sold for $59 but I emailed Support asking if there was an educational discount. I was emailed a link for an online coupon which cut my cost down to $47 and change.

    Thanks for all the great information posted in this thread.

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