Your students would love to get their hands on some new Apple (AAPL) gear, and they may well be hoping your back-to-school supplies list has a new iPhone or iPad on it for them and not just the usual pens, paper and binders.
For one, Apple sells one of the most popular laptops in the world in the MacBook Air — an ultra-portable machine with all-day battery life and the ability to run OSX or Microsoft (MSFT) Windows. There’s also the line of Mac desktop PCs, the Apple TV set-top streaming box, the AirPort wireless routers and the good old iPod.
Despite its reputation for premium pricing, Apple discounts do exist for those buying back-to-school supplies on a budget. Here are five ways to avoid paying the full MSRP on Apple’s products:
Back-to-School Supplies on a Budget for Apple Fans: Apple Education Store
Apple holds an education store on its website — with discounted pricing! What’s offered, and who is eligible for the reduced price tags? Here’s the blurb directly from the company:
“Apple offers special education pricing on Apple computers, software and select third party products to college students, parents buying for a college student, or teachers, home-school teachers, administrators and staff of all grade levels. Students who have been accepted to college are also eligible.”
The MacBook Air starts at $899 for the public, but it costs $849 at Apple’s education store. The 27-inch iMac is bargained at $1699 instead of $1799.
The online education store is an easy way to save on those Apple-branded back-to-school supplies all year.
Back-to-School Supplies on a Budget for Apple Fans: Apple’s Secret eBay Store
Even though this eBay (EBAY) storefront not an official Apple project, it’s selling Apple-certified, factory-refurbished and unlocked iPhones with a one-year Apple warranty.
AppleInsider says Apple is running it in partnership with eBay. The Apple warranty, like-new condition and claim of “final quality inspection by Apple” certainly supports the theory.
If your back-to-school supplies list includes an iPhone, you can pick up an unlocked 16GB iPhone 5 for $449 — that’s what Apple officially charges for an unlocked iPhone 4s, a much older (and smaller) smartphone.
Apple’s secret eBay store disappears and re-appears without notice — it was still online at the time of writing.
Back-to-School Supplies on a Budget for Apple Fans: Apple’s Online Refurb Store
Tucked away as a nondescript link at the bottom of Apple’s website is one of its best kept secrets: The Refurb store.
Apple-refurbished products are sold in good-as-new condition.
For example, every refurbished iPad receives a new battery and a new outer shell. They come with all accessories, arrive in a nice box (nothing cut-rate about the packaging) and carry the same one-year warranty as other Apple products. Best of all, the savings can be significant.
How significant? The store is currently offering $500 off a 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, $24 off the latest Apple TV and $80 off a 16GB iPad Air.
Back-to-School Supplies on a Budget for Apple Fans: Discounted iTunes Cards
Technically iTunes cards are not Apple gear, but any student with a Mac, iPad, iPod, iPhone or Apple TV will appreciate them. These gift cards hold the currency that buys music, movies, apps and e-books (including digital textbooks that might just be on that back-to-school supplies list) from the online Apple store.
The key with iTunes is to take advantage of third parties offering you a discount. Watch the flyers every weekend and there’s a good chance you’ll see 10%, 15% or even 20% off iTunes cards bought at big-box retailers like Staples (SPLS).
So, if you take advantage of Target’s (TGT) 5% discount for REDcard users, you can save 5% off iTunes gift cards there.
Back-to-School Supplies on a Budget for Apple Fans: Apple’s BTS 2014 Promotion
Finally, Apple runs a special promotion every year for students (or their parents). If there is someone on your back-to-school supplies list who wants a new iPad, iPhone or Mac, this year’s offer is a great way to save.
Buy any of those Apple products, and you get the educational discount. Plus, Apple will kick in a free iTunes card: $100 on a Mac or $50 for an iPad or iPhone.
This one’s a limited-time offer and is expected to expire once the back-to-school shopping season is over.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.