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Saving money on back-to-school technology

Tuesday - 8/9/2011, 12:41pm  ET

Evan Haning,

WASHINGTON - There are many ways to cut costs when buying back-to-school tech supplies for high school and college.


A $200 discount on an expensive MacBook Pro is a better deal than $50 off a lower-cost MacBook Air, says's Wilson Rothman in his list of 10 back-to-school tech survival tips.

Buying either will earn a student a $100 gift card for iOS and Mac apps, iTunes and iBooks.

Click here to find Apple Store discounts for your school.

The Microsoft Store has deals, too, including a student discount on Xbox Live.


Although it's still smart to search for used and rentable textbooks, don't get your hopes up over the scanty selection of Kindle textbook rentals, Rothman says. Many of the top sellers just aren't there.


Don't buy software until you check with your school. Many private high schools and colleges offer free downloads of popular software, thanks to bulk educational licenses, says Rothman.

When buying gadgets, recommends skipping the gadget insurance. Screen protectors, plastic shielding and protective cases will limit most damage, and renter's insurance policies may cover theft.

Also, make sure the software you buy is the kind your teachers and school recommend. Some arts programs and other courses will only teach with certain software. Don't spend a bundle on something the school won't accept.


In addition to free software at some colleges, had high praise for the free eTextbook application for both Mac and PC, courtesy of Barnes and Noble. It allows students to obtain books digitally, organize study and do much, much more.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)