Score Exclusive Student Discounts

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At notebooksforstudents.org, kids in elementary school through college can nab big-name laptops (including Apple, Dell and HP) at a deep discount—some for $225. The site, started by college students and faculty frustrated by the high cost of computers, offers new and factory-recertified products, all with free software (such as Open Office), an 8-gigabyte memory stick and a four-year warranty. Another way to take the sting out of a computer purchase is with manufacturer’s discounts. K-12 students can get 20 percent off HP products by setting up an HP Academy account and 10 percent off Windows PCs and accessories at the Microsoft store. 


Trade In Old Electronics

Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart have programs that let you swap old laptops, phones and other electronic devices (even video games) for gift cards that can be used to buy new gadgets. At Target, for instance, an 80GB iPod would score you a $20 gift card, while a 32GB Samsung Galaxy phone would fetch about $350 at Amazon (the better the condition, the more its worth).


Invest in a Refurbished Model

New is nice, but a rock-bottom deal on a used computer is nicer. For PC users, newegg.com discounts restored tablets up to 70 percent, and Best Buy offers reconditioned laptops for as little as $145. Mac fans can find laptops and desktops reduced by as much as 30 percent—iPads are available, too—in the Certified Refurbished section of apple.com. A restored 15.4-inch MacBook Pro was going recently for $1,489—$710 less than a new one. And have no fear: You get the one-year warranty and free shipping and returns that come with a new model.


Think Outside the Box

Best Buy's Open Box department (both in-store and online) offers incredible markdowns on all kinds of electronics including calculators and printers. Prices are slashed on goods that are returned, removed from the package for inspection or used as floor models. (The warranty is the same as on an unopened item.) An Epson wireless printer recently was selling for $112—$88 off the regular price.