Refurbished Mac Computers And Laptops Can Save You A Ton Of Money

Last week, I finally took the plunge and switched my alliances with PC and Windows and switched to Apple. I bought a 21.5″ Apple iMac with 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card with 256MB memory, and a 3.06GHZ Dual Core Intel processor. I should just move to San Francisco and start wearing black turtlenecks, because I will never go back to the days of Dell and Microsoft. It’s been 4 days since I first started using it, and I love it. My ability to quickly create screen casts, web videos, manipulate and edit photos, and work in several different programs all at once has vastly improved. I don’t know what it is about the Mac OS or the programs designed for Macs, but they load and run SO much quicker than Windows and Windows-based programs. For example, Firefox opens instantly, whereas, even in Windows 7, Firefox hesitates to open for about 10 seconds. Ever since I bought an iPhone about a year and a half ago, I’ve had the itch to switch my computers to Apple, but the price tag had always deterred me from making the switch. I never thought I’d be able to spend less than $1,700 to $1,800 for what I wanted, but I ended up getting this iMac for $999, which was exactly my threshold for what I was willing to spend. How did I do it? Read below:

  • Step 1: Do your research. If you’re looking to make the switch to Apple, you need to test drive their products and find out which one will best suit your needs. Go to the Apple Store about 5 or 6 times. I went about 10 to 12 times, and I played with all of their products. I finally settled on the 21.5″ iMac, because their massive 27″ model just wasn’t worth paying an extra $700. All we had at our house before this purchase was a Dell laptop that was about 4 years old but still performed great, so I figured that a desktop made the most sense. I’ll still be purchasing a 13″ Macbook Pro in the future to bring to work, on the road, and so my wife and can use it in the living room while I’m working on the iMac in the office. But, the iMac made the most sense for my first Apple computer purchase.
  • Step 2: Search for Apple certified refurbished models. This is how I scored such a great deal on my iMac. Visit the official Apple store refurbished Mac page, and you’ll find dozens of refurbished Apple Mac products that have been professionally refurbished by Apple professionals. You can find products discounted anywhere from 14% to 28% off the retail price. The iMac I purchased retails new for $1,199, and I paid $200 less for a product that has absolutely no blemishes or signs of wear on it, runs perfectly, and comes with all of the same peripherals that the new model comes with. I checked their refurbished Mac site for months, and I noticed that there is no rhyme or reason to what products they post on there. It’s based solely on availability, so make sure you check twice a day for the refurbished product you’re looking for.
  • Step 3: Choose free shipping. The only problem with buying Apple certified products is that they only sell them online. You cannot walk into one of the retail stores and buy a refurbished product. Fortunately, Apple offers FREE shipping for FedEx Ground service, which takes about 5 business days to get to your doorstep. If you’re buying from a state where an Apple retail store exists, they’ll charge you sales tax, which ran about $63 for me, so my total purchase with free shipping was $1,062, shipped straight to my door. If you plan on buying new, I suggest not purchasing from the Apple retail store or their online store. Look at or, because they usually offer free shipping and they won’t charge you sales tax, so you’ll save a lot of money by being patient and purchasing from an authorized reseller.

Some Facts About Apple Certified Refurbished Products

  • The same one-year limited warranty applies that’s standard with new products
  • Eligible to purchase extended Apple care warranty
  • You get the same peripherals and software as with new products
  • One disadvantage of buying refurbished is that you cannot customize the machine you want. But, if you aren’t really picky and you don’t mind upgrading or installing software on your own, refurbished is a great option.

If you’re looking to buy a Mac or upgrade from an old one and you have any more questions for me, feel free to post a comment below. I highly recommend saving the 20% on the retail price and going with an Apple certified refurbished Mac. It’s well worth waiting for the shipment and spending a little time waiting for your specific product to be posted on the refurbished page.

  • Zach @College for 10k

    Another way that I save money is by using programs that allow you to make money off of the purchases that you make.

    There are many that allow you to do so. If interested in a few, let me know :)

    Macs are great. You won’t regret switching over to the Mac :)

  • Single Guy Money

    I just made the switch from a PC to a MacBook Pro and while I didn’t get the deal you got, I am happy I made the switch. I agree with you, everything is so much faster.

  • Austin

    I’m considering the switch as well. Is there anything that you miss about your PC or are you still in the honeymoon phase w/ your Mac?

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

  • Gil

    The switch is more than just the system you buy though, it’s the software that really gets you. Having to repurchase all that professional software to do the same things you were doing on a PC is what keeps me (and a lot of others) from making the Mac leap.

    • Zach @College for 10k

      What type of professional software? There are a lot of comparable programs out there…

  • Karen Foster

    Welcome to the world of MAC….you will seriously never go back. I’m not extremely technical but as a 5 year owner of a iBook G4 I can say I’ve never had to hit Cntrl-Alt-Del….and only rarely do I have to shut down a program.

    Thanks for the info and all your research on the purchase. I’m getting ready to upgrade, probably this year, and will seriously look into refurbished.

    I also plan on linking to your post on my blog :)!
    Have a great day

  • Karmella

    Ah, thanks you for the tip on finding the free shipping. I am considering a Mini to use as a media center, but I can’t quite get myself to do it.

  • Winston C

    I was thinking about buying a mac, but I found them to be a bit expensive. For the price of any mac, I could buy two with pretty much the same specs. And then, there is also the problem with software. Yes, there are a lot of comparable software for various products, but the ones I use daily don’t have that option. For your interest, they are ppstream and kugou. With them, I don’t need to spend a dime on media (movies and music) anymore. :)

  • Shock

    I saved $200 on a brand new MacBook by shopping at MicroCenter. I got it for $800. That’s a $100 less than the student discount.

  • dc44

    great article. thanks for the tip.
    i have been waiting for the summer to get the free printer and itouch. also, the refurbished ones look like a great deal but do you still get the educational discount? i don’t think so.

  • Iridium-Mark

    When I learned that Apple didn’t plan to update their 17 inch macbook pro, and dropped it from the mac line when the new macbooks came out in June, I went to their refurb site and bought one fully loaded. My friends have had good success with refurbs, and so I bought one solely for the extra “real estate” on the screen. Now I retire my 2009 17 inch.