Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Saving on the cost of technology

I love my iBook, my wireless Airport network, my G4 Tower and my iPod mini. Obviously I like my Apple Computer products and have been an enthusiastic Mac user for over 10 years. In that time, I have owned six different Macs and until 2005, upgraded every two years. I used to have technology envy, wanting to upgrade to the next newest technology. By the names of my computers, I am obviously a few generations behind current Apple technology. However, there were some strategies I employed in order to minimize the cost of my brand new technology.

First strategy: I purchased the newly discontinued model.
What this means is when Apple announced its brand new models of iBooks (now MacBooks), I would purchase the one that was just discontinued. Since the company would want to sell more of the newest model, the old "new" model would be discounted to clear inventory. Therefore, I would be able to get a discount on technology that was not obsolete and certainly an upgrade compared to what I had. It just was not the shiniest new bit of technology. I saved $200 on my iBook using this methodology.

Second strategy: I bought refurbished items from the manufacturer.
Apple Computer sells refurbished items in its Apple Store. These items are discounted from new but are guaranteed like new products. When I bought my Airport Express, it was $99 refurbished versus $129 new and shipping was free. It was worth me setting up a wireless network in my home and saved me a few dollars with a easy-to-use system.

Third strategy: I purchased a special bundle through my educational institution.
I worked for my local university for nearly 2.5 years. There is an educational discount that Apple Computer gives to any student or teacher or other worker in school. My former institution also had a in-house store and as long as I worked for the university, I could also get the educational discount. I was looking for a new desktop computer and saw the in-house store had bundled a G4 tower and a 17" LCD screen (highly desired) together at a substantial discount. The G4 tower was being discontinued and larger LCD screens were on the way. However, I ended up saving nearly $500 on this combination and all are still going strong. I loved the larger screen (an upgrade from my 15" CRT) and the lower heat gain.

This last strategy is more limited in application but if you know someone who works for a school or know a student in school especially at university, you have access to great deals on hardware and software. Lessening my need for the newest technology has also saved me money, but I am also considering buying a laptop used rather than going for new. The price is even lower and there is more bargaining room.

Regardless of what piece of technology you are interested in purchasing, considering these strategies may help you save a few dollars.

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