Christmas is just a week away, which means it’s time to get all of your last-minute shopping in! Luckily, most major retailers (including Apple) are pretty reliable about getting your gifts here before, on, or right after Christmas, so you don’t have to stress if you’re just squeezing your gift buying in.
Buying in a rush, though, can lead to you overlooking good deals in the hustle. But not to fear! Below are our favorite ways to save money on Apple gifts while still impressing (if you don’t know what to get, read here for a guide on buying Apple gifts).
- 8 ways to save money on Apple gifts in December 2020
- In conclusion: Don’t shop at Apple if you want a good deal this holiday
8 ways to save money on Apple gifts in December 2020
1. Buy refurbished Apple products
First up is a tried and true strategy: Buy refurbished products! Refurbished might sound like a scary word (no one wants to spend hard-earned cash on a product that arrives broken). All refurbished means, though, is that the product was used, returned to Apple, repaired, and then put listed at a discount.
During the repair process, Apple replaces the most easily damaged components of its products (batteries, screens, etc.), even if there isn’t any visible damage. So don’t worry – you won’t be receiving a broken MacBook in the mail.
In addition to Apple’s refurbished store, other popular retailers (Walmart, Best Buy, etc.) offer refurbished Apple products, often for lower prices than Apple themselves. So be sure to check these out as well! Just type “Apple refurbished” into your search engine of choice.
2. Shop for Apple products on eBay
The next best (and cheapest) solution is to buy used products from sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, Craiglist, and other public selling forums. You can find hidden gems on sites like these for a low price from people who are just looking to get rid of some old “junk”.
However, you can just as easily purchase actual junk unwittingly – as is the game of purchasing from laypeople. Luckily, sites like Letgo and eBay (especially eBay) have gotten extremely good at vetting sellers and protecting you from buying a broken product with a misleading title.
To avoid these types of scams, I would look for:
- Sellers with a reasonable amount of good reviews
- Sellers that are verified (Letgo has a verification system)
- Products that are listed at reasonably good deals (e.g., don’t purchase a MacBook that’s listed at $50; it’s probably a scam)
I would also pay attention to shipping times on eBay (the other apps mentioned are typically based on local pickup). I’ve been surprised by how quickly I’ve received products on eBay. And since it’s so near to Christmas, sellers are likely going to be more vocal about and attentive to getting products to you before Christmas. So be on the lookout for sellers offering fast shipping.
3. Use the Apple Card or Amazon Store card
If buying used/refurbished isn’t your thing, you can still save a decent (albeit smaller) chunk of change by shopping with the Apple Card. When buying from Apple (and a few other retailers) you can get 3% back in Daily Cash.
Daily Cash is added to your Wallet app within a day or two of making a purchase, and you can use it to pay off your balance easily. In other words, it’s like getting a 3% discount on everything on the Apple Store.
For an even better deal, you can buy Apple gifts from Amazon using the Amazon Store card. If you have decent credit, you can usually get approved for the Amazon Store card in minutes. Along with a decent signup bonus (around $75 if I remember correctly), you also get 5% off of every product you purchase through Amazon.
Alternatively, you can use the Amazon Store card (and the Apple Card) to purchase an Apple gift in installments, which can take the pressure off of buying a new Mac. Just know that using installments with the Amazon Store card forfeits your ability to use the 5% cashback (Apple Card allows you to make installments and get 3% cashback simultaneously).
Lastly, Amazon Store card users get access to exclusive holiday deals on Amazon. These deals (for certain products only) start at 10% cashback and go up to 20%. It doesn’t look like Amazon offers any cashback specials on Apple products, but you can easily find accessories (cases, chargers, stands, etc.) in these deals.
4. Shop with Amazon Prime
One of my favorite tips for getting hefty discounts on Apple products is to purchase them through Amazon Prime rather than from Apple. If you’re a Prime subscriber, then you may have noticed that most products have a “List Price” and a “Price” displayed:
As you can see in the screenshot above, Amazon offers discounts on products that range from tens to hundreds of dollars. These discounts are usually comparable to the discounts you’ll see on refurbished products. In other words, this is one of the best ways to save big on Apple’s most expensive products.
5. Use a military, veteran, or education discount
A smaller discount that’s worth mentioning is the discounts Apple offers for special groups. Specifically, Apple offers active duty, veteran, and education discounts. Of course, you have to meet certain qualifications to get these discounts, so keep that in mind.
Apple’s discounts for these groups involve signing into a separate version of the Apple Store. That’s why you might have a hard time finding these discounts on Apple’s normal website.
6. Open Box discounts on Best Buy
Another non-Apple resource for great discounts is Best Buy’s Open Box discounts. This a section of the Best Buy website dedicated to products that have already been opened and lightly used. That includes returned products as well as display products from Best Buy’s shelves.
Upon browsing, these discounts are substantial; markdowns as much as $400 are not hard to find here. However, there is a significant amount of risk to buying from Best Buy’s Open Box section, more so than when buying a refurbished product.
These products are inspected and repaired by Best Buy staff. However, because Best Buy staff is performing the repairs instead of the manufacturers, the results might be misleading. Issues could be lurking under the surface, or third-party parts might have been used to replace first-party parts. Additionally, warranties can be tricky on these used products.
That said, these products are still a great bargain. And I seriously doubt that Best Buy is selling unusable products here. Just bear in mind that your products might be more beat up than the typical refurbished product.
7. Browse MacRumors Buyer’s Guides
If you’re an Apple fan, you’ve no doubt read a handful of articles from MacRumors. They’re a great publisher on all things Apple and they have tons of great resources. One of which is their super helpful Buyer’s Guides.
MacRumors’s Buyer’s Guides are posts where they compare products against one another, share purchasing guides, and show real-time deals on Apple products.
While AppleToolBox and others have their own shopping guides for Apple, MacRumors has gone above and beyond, creating its own Wikipedia of shopping info for Apple. Give it a look!
8. Shop smaller
And so, we’ve made it to our last tip, which is pretty straightforward: Shop smaller. Everyone wants to wow their loved ones on the holidays, getting them exactly what they want.
But remember that Apple products are famously overpriced. Purchasing any Apple product is an extremely generous gesture, so don’t feel as if you have to break the bank to get the biggest and best thing Apple has to offer.
Here are some of the more affordable Apple gifts to consider when you’re on a budget:
- Gift cards
- AirPods and EarPods
- Subscriptions to Apple Music, Fitness+, TV+, and News+
- Apps and games through the App Store
- HomePod mini
In conclusion: Don’t shop at Apple if you want a good deal this holiday
Or at least, that’s my advice. Sure, there are a handful of ways to get discounts on Apple gifts when shopping directly from the Apple Store, but for the most part, you’ll be better off going with a retailer, eBay, or Amazon.
Hopefully, this post has saved you the time of finding the best deals on Apple gifts! If you enjoyed it, remember to send it to your friends and family so that they can save too, and start shopping ASAP!
Oh yeah, and happy holidays 🎄⛄️