How to Get a Great Deal on the iPod touch

6th Gen. iPod touch
6th Gen. iPod touch. image credit: Apple Inc.

It's no wonder the iPod touch is a big hit. It's got a roomy touchscreen, the ability to play movies, music, and amazing apps, a full-featured web experience, and great looks. It's a terrific device, but with prices starting at around US$200, it's not exactly cheap.

Whether you're on a tight budget or not, everyone wants to pay as little as possible for the iPod they want. There's no easy way to get a cheap iPod touch, though. With such popular products, Apple can generally charge the prices they want. But it's possible to get a good deal if you know what to do. Here are a few tips that will help you score some savings when you buy an iPod touch.

Don't Wait for Sales

Apple very tightly controls the price of the iPod touch (and all other iPods, too). Popular products can usually command higher prices, and because the iPod is so popular, you'll almost never see iPods go on sale. If you're looking for a cheap iPod touch, don't wait for a sale. You'll be waiting forever.

Apple will occasionally discount iPods around the holiday season, but you'll be very lucky to save 20%—and 10% might be more realistic. Sure, saving 10% is nice, but if that only adds up to $20 or $30, it doesn't make sense to wait months and months for such small savings. Given that, if you're in the market for a cheap iPod, forget sales and try some of these other ideas.

Buy the Previous Generation

You can always save a few dollars (and sometimes a lot more) by buying an older model. If you're planning to buy a new iPod touch soon, check the Apple rumor websites and be patient. If you can resist the temptation to buy the latest and greatest, and wait until just after the newest model is announced or released, you can get a deal.

Instead of buying the brand-new model, buy the model that just got replaced (for example, if the 6th generation iPod touch has just been announced, make a plan to buy the 5th generation touch). Retailers will still have the older models on hand and they usually discount prices on old models to clear space for the new ones.

While this technique you may not get the latest model, you'll still get a good, cheap iPod touch.​

Buy Refurbished

If you absolutely have to have the latest model, you can still get a cheap iPod touch by buying a refurbished model. To get one of these, you'll need to wait a few weeks, or maybe even a few months, for Apple to start to build a supply of refurbished models.

And even though these models have been repaired by Apple, you don't have to worry about quality. Refurbished devices sold by Apple always come with an Apple warranty and are generally as reliable as new models (though you may want to buy an extended warranty). Though the discounts aren't huge using this technique, you'll save some cash and get a good warranty at the same time. Check the online Apple store for refurbished models.

Buy Used

Sometimes finding good deals requires looking somewhere other than Apple. Craigslist, eBay, and companies that trade and resell used devices (more on those in a moment) can also offer cheap iPods. The drawbacks here include that these iPods are used, often don't have warranties, and probably won't be the latest generation. Beyond that, if you're buying from an auction or classified ad, you might not get what you think you're buying. Be sure to research the seller's other transactions where possible. If you're willing to take a little more risk, though, buying used is a sure bet for saving money.

Trade In Old Devices

This option won't change the price of the iPod touch you buy, but it will give you more money to make the purchase. Virtually any smartphone, MP3 player, gaming device, or other electronic gadget can be sold for cash to use to buy an iPod touch.

There are a number of companies that buy (and sell) used gadgets. Check your drawers for old gadgets and then go see what money these companies will pay for them. Your old gadgets may only be worth $25, but you could get lucky and come up with $100 or more in trade-in value. That's a big chunk of the cost of a new iPod touch.

Know What You're Buying

Saving money is good, but it's only a savings if you get a model that does what you want. If you're going to follow the advice in this article, make sure you understand the trade-offs you're making. For instance, buying an older model means you won't get the latest and greatest hardware or software. So, before you buy, make sure you understand the plusses and minuses and are making an informed choice. If you do that, you'll be happy to have both an iPod touch and some extra money.