Photo (cc) by Yutaka Tsutano
Apple might be known for a few things – sleek designs, eternally devoted fans, rumor frenzies – but there is one thing the company isn’t known for: being cheap. Most Apple devices are at the high end of the tech price spectrum, and the official Apple accessories are expensive too.
Take the Macbook Pro, for example. A few weeks ago, a friend pulled his Macbook Pro charger out of his laptop bag to find it frayed around the power supply. After failing to repair it ourselves with electrical tape, we brought it to the Apple store for a replacement, which cost $79.
We walked out and I started looking for cheaper alternatives. Below are several places where you can get Apple products for less.
1. Shop used
I always look for used accessories first when I’m shopping for tech accessories. Since people upgrade their devices so often, sometimes I find practically new stuff at a fraction of the cost. Here are a few places worth checking out:
Craigslist – Think of Craigslist as an online garage sale. Anyone can post and name their own price, so you’ll find good deals and bad ones. Before you meet up to pick up an accessory, check its price on the Apple site to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
eBay – There are a few good deals to be had on the grandfather of auction sites, eBay, but check the shipping costs before you commit to buy. Shipping for a few accessories I saw cost $9.50 or more, counteracting the good deal.
Bonanza – Bonanza is an online marketplace for private sellers. You’ll find both used and new Apple products on here. For example, I recently bought a USB cable (regularly $19 at the Apple store) for $9.50 on Bonanza, a 50 percent discount.
Garage sales – You can find some great deals at garage sales (yes, even on Apple stuff). Before you start hunting, check out our tips in 10 Ways to Save Time and Money at Garage Sales.
2. Shop local
Your local gadget, computer, or cell phone store might carry Apple products cheaper than the Apple store does. I found a few local stores by asking some friends where they shopped for electronics. A friend pointed me in the direction of a computer repair shop that sold parts. I found the $79 Macbook Pro charger for $40 at the store, nearly half the price.
However, before you buy anything from a local store, make sure they have a return policy that includes out-of-the-box items. If you open the accessory and it doesn’t work, you might not be able to return it otherwise.
Not sure where your local stores are? Check out:
- Yelp – Users post honest reviews on every business in town
- Yahoo! Local – Has advertising and customer reviews
- YP – It’s the Yellow Pages gone modern
3. Check out online sites
I don’t believe the best deals are always online, but there are some good discounts to be had if you shop around. Check out:
Accessory Geeks – Accessory Geeks has good prices on third-party Apple accessories. For example, a Lightning charger for the iPad is currently on sale for $8.99 on Accessory Geeks. You’d pay $39 for an iPad charger at the Apple Store.
Frys.com – If you’re lucky enough to live near a Fry’s Electronics store you can pick up Macbook, iPad, and iPod accessories there and save on shipping costs, but even if you don’t live within driving distance of the store, Frys.com is still a good deal. Like the wireless Bluetooth keyboard, for example. Apple wants $69.99 for their version, or you could pick up one at Frys.com for $49.99.
4. Look for deals
Before you buy, do a little deal hunting. When I’m in the market for accessories or gadgets, I start by browsing a few daily deal sites. You’ll have to act quickly once these deals are posted (some sell out in a matter of hours), but you can find huge discounts. Check out:
- Slickdeals.net – User-submitted links to both online and in-store deals
- Techbargains.com – Updates multiple times a day. Mostly electronics deals and some accessories
- Money Talks News Deals – Check out the technology section of our daily deals list
After I look for sales and other deals, I look for coupons. Here are a few coupon sites that post tech-related discounts.