there's got to be a way to save me money somewhere
January 7, 2009 8:14 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to buy a Mac?

I want to purchase a $1,500 refurbished MacBook Pro. I have $450 in Apple gift cards, and a credit card with a 9.99% APR. Other options for payment are using the Bill Me Later system, or getting a Juniper Visa Card. I could pay off the remaining $1,000 over about three months - which way of paying is going to be the best deal? Any promotions or penalties I need to be aware of?
posted by kidsleepy to Work & Money (10 answers total)
I want to purchase a $1,500 refurbished MacBook Pro.

That key-word screams to me that you should just wait out the three months and buy it when you can afford it. No reason to put money on a CC unless it's a "need" situation.
posted by Grither at 8:20 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Plus, in 3 months that refurb you want may well be cheaper, or you can get a better macbook pro for the same amount of money. Win-win!
posted by Grither at 8:21 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I bought a Macbook on credit, because I was leaving a job that gave me a laptop, didn't have the cash saved up and 'needed it'. I'm still using it, but it cost me a shit-ton of extra cash. It was a bad decision.

Unless this is a 'I need this to do work and feed my family' situation, just save up. Credit for non-essential purchases is silly.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:27 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wait until you've got a better idea what the economy's going to do. We're not out of the woods yet.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:28 AM on January 7, 2009

Response by poster: Question amended to "I am going to purchase a MacBook Pro." Luckily I have a stable regular job, but I've also got an outdated computer that is inhibiting my freelance work, and have been eyeing the refurbed Pro for a year waiting for the price to drop. Assume you're not going to convince me not to get it, what's the best way to pay for it from the options I listed above?
posted by kidsleepy at 8:41 AM on January 7, 2009

If you're sure you can pay it off in 3 mos, get the Juniper.
posted by arniec at 8:56 AM on January 7, 2009

If you plan to buy something big (house, car) in the near future (less than two years) don't get a new line of credit; use your existing credit card. The hit on your credit rating will increase the cost of a future loan.

Also, call your credit card company and say you're planning to make a $1000 purchase, and would like to get a lower rate on their card to do so. Say that if they won't lower it, you'll pay for it another way. This might get you a better rate than 10%.

Finally, if you get paid more than once a month, make payments on the debt more than once a month. Make payments each time any money appears in your life, so that even if you pay exactly the same amount total each month, the interest accumulated will be lower. E.g. if you're going to pay $300 a month on the debt, pay $150 twice instead of $300 once. This will save you some money over the long haul.

See if you can sell your old computer to provide some additional cash to pay off the debt.

If you can get AppleCare on a refurb, be sure to get that.
posted by Capri at 10:44 AM on January 7, 2009

Response by poster: Capri - I do have an offer on my old machine for a few hundred dollars. Good point.
posted by kidsleepy at 12:57 PM on January 7, 2009

You can get the AppleCare later (but before it expires) so you won't have that expense right now.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:26 PM on January 7, 2009

I'm not sure of your specific situation but Apple gives a discount on its computers if you're at all affiliated with a college or K-12 school: student, parent buying for a student, professor, alumni, etc. It's not a huge discount (about 5%) but it sounds as though every penny counts.

Also... Apple gives you all this free stuff with your computer - savings on software, a free printer, etc. You could always just get those at a discount and then sell them at regular market price to defer some of the cost.

Good luck!
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 9:55 PM on January 7, 2009

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