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Apple fans: New research shows that waiting even a few days for the newest model can save you money. Find out what else can too.

I used Macs through 15 years of school and for a couple of jobs – I think they’re great machines, and I have friends who swear by them. But I’ve never bought one, and I probably never will.

Why? Because every time I compare prices, they look far too expensive next to PCs. I bought my current laptop in 2008 for under $400 (on Black Friday, when it was 30 percent off) when a MacBook of similar age cost twice as much. I’ve never heard of a budget Mac.

But Dealnews has good news for Apple-holics. The site has been tracking price drops for years and says discounts on new models are coming sooner than in the past – which is especially good news with another update of Mac laptops due out soon.

“We’ve noticed that deals on Apple products are happening more quickly and are getting more aggressive,” Dealnews says. “And with the MacBook Pro refresh just around the corner, Apple fans can expect savings shortly after release.”

For instance, the current-generation MacBook dropped $300 after just three months. That used to take up to a year. So that’s the first savings tip…

1. Don’t buy at the very beginning

Dealnews is using this data to predict future price drops, not just for MacBooks but other Apple products including iPads, iPods, and iMacs. Check out their Apple price infographic for details. At a glance, you’ll notice that buying an Apple product when it debuts is never a good idea – discounts are usually available within a week after release, though bigger ones take months.

2. Don’t buy from Apple

The key to these savings, of course, is to avoid buying directly from Apple – instead, check with authorized resellers including Amazon, MacMall, MacConnection, and B&H Photo.

3. Get a discount

But if you can’t find a decent discount from a reseller, there are a couple of scenarios where you should consider buying directly from the source. For instance, if someone you know gets an Apple discount. Teachers, administration, and staff for all grades of school are eligible for an education discount, as are college students, professors, and staff. Federal and state employees and military also get a government discount.

4. Buy used

Finally, there’s the refurbished option. While the Apple store isn’t the best place to save on older used devices, you might find products less than a year old for 15 percent off. And you’ll get a one-year warranty, unlike buying on Craigslist from a college student desperate for cash.

If you’re a regular tech bargain hunter, be sure to check our deals page. And if you haven’t already upgraded to Apple’s latest tablet, take a look at 4 Reasons I’m Skipping the New iPad.

Stacy Johnson

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