How To Afford The Mac You’ve Always Wanted

Apple Watch Available at Retail Locations
Getty Images | Eric Thayer

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Saving up for a laptop or desktop Mac computer can be easier said than done, especially since they retail for as much as $2,299 brand new. But, thanks to refurbished sellers, you can find the products you need for much, much cheaper than that. You can save hundreds of dollars when you shop for refurbished electronics.

Buying a refurbished computer is similar to buying a new car in that it’s somewhat risky, but for the most part, you get a piece of technology that works just fine and will suit your everyday lifestyle very well.

And Apple even has their own refurbished site. So, when it comes to buying used parts, you know you’re getting them from the best.

Apple’s Refurbished Mac store has some of the most recent laptops, iPads, iPhones and more available for purchase at a much more affordable price point than if you visit an Apple store a buy a brand new product in person.

For example, they have 13 inch MacBook Air models going for as low as $979 when the new versions retail starting at $1,150. So, if you were to buy the refurbished version, you’d be saving yourself at least $170. Not bad at all!

Of course, you can also find refurbished products through other merchants. Retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon also carry slightly used computer models.

Whenever you’re buying refurbished computers online, here are some things you should pay attention to:

1. Memory Space

Sure, you may be saving beaucoup bucks on a laptop, but is that because it only has half of the storage capacity as a new model? Compare specs between new and refurbished of the same make and model whenever possible.

Getty Images | Sean Gallup

2. Warranty And Returns Policy

Another thing you want to keep in mind is how long you have to return your computer, in case you get it and everything doesn’t check out.

Between the retailers mentioned above (Amazon, Best Buy and Apple’s Refurbished store), shopping straight from Apple’s Refurbished Mac store will give you the best warranty. They offer a 14-day return window and a one-year limited warranty. Amazon only allows you to return computers that are “dead on arrival,” otherwise, you have to refer to the individual Amazon merchant’s return policy, which could vary. Best Buy offers a 90-day warranty for parts and labor.

Be sure to check the warranty and return policy before purchasing from a retailer because, as you know, shopping used is always somewhat of a gamble.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

3. Age

One good thing about shopping from Apple’s Refurbished store is that you know you’re getting a pretty recent make and model, which may not be the case for every merchant. For instance, they don’t carry anything later than an iPhone 6S in their phone category, and age is definitely something you want to be mindful of when choosing a computer. You want this thing to last you for years to come, so make sure you’re not getting something that’s already pretty outdated.

Getty Images | Allison Joyce

4. Physical Damage

Sellers should note any instances of physical damage. You don’t have to worry too much about scrapes and dings, but you should worry about any serious issues: bending of the screen, cracks in the screen, etc. Taking note of this kind of thing early-on could prevent you from purchasing something with a faulty display and having to go through the process of returning the computer. It’s always good to avoid a hassle!

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

OK, so you’ve done your research and the computer check out. Now what do you do to make sure everything really is as good as it seems to be? CNET offers a comprehensive checklist of things to look for to make sure your computer is up to par the before the return window closes. Make sure you run through this before getting too attached to your new and affordable piece of technology.

About the Author

Augusta Statz

Augusta Statz holds a B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She's an avid writer with a genuine sense of curiosity. She feels the best way to absorb the world around you is through fashion, art and food, so that’s what she spends most of her time writing about. More.

More to explore