Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cheap trick: Save 20% on iTunes purchases

iTunes is relatively cheap and has an exceptional selection. Plus, I don't know about you but I have lost all patience for waiting for music. What, you want me to actually go into a store, hunt down the CD, take it to a half-asleep cashier, pay for it, drive my sorry carcass home, unwrap the darn thing, pop it into my computer, rip the music, and then plug in my iPhone before I can have it with me at all times? No! I grew up with the Internet, thank you!

So, yeah, iTunes it is.

I admit, though, that on the surface iTunes can be a bit more expensive than other download options (although not remotely as convenient if you have an iPhone). So, to even the playing field while keeping almost the same level of convenience, I give you the following counterintuitive advice:

Buy iTunes gift certificates.

Yes, you're going to buy physical cards to save on digital music. Go fig.

Okay, hear me out. You're not going to buy them anywhere, anytime all willy nilly. You're only going to buy them on sale, and you're going to buy a lot at a time.

More often than not, if you go through your local stores' weekly flyers, you'll find at least one that's got these gift cards on sale for 20% off. Usually it's your tech stores (Best Buy and Future Shop), but I've seen them on sale at places like Target and even occasionally at grocery stores too. I don't know what the story is behind the discount, but regardless of whether the cards are loss leaders for the store or discounted by Apple, you save a decent chunk of change.

In order to keep yourself out of stores as much as possible, don't just buy a $10 card and call it a day. Save yourself the trouble and pick up enough credits to cover what you tend to spend over a few months. It's not like the cards are going to go bad or anything, which is why I tend to pick up $50-$100 worth at a time.

Once I have the cards, I tend to put the credits in my iTunes account as soon as I get home. It's a good way to make sure you don't lose the credits by misplacing the physical gift cards.  If you're better at keeping track of small items than me, though, you can also consider only inputting your gift card codes as you need them. That way you have a stash of unused cards that you can either use yourself or dip into if you suddenly need an emergency gift for someone.

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