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[Tips & Tricks] Saving Money on iTunes Store Purchases

edited May 2017 in iTunes
iTunes Buck Stretching 101 - Freebies, Deals and Gift Cards

We all know that purchasing anything, including iTunes content, can get expensive, but what use are our shiny Apple devices without apps, music, movies and other content to play on them? Well, I do suppose you could use that iPhone to actually make calls or send text messages but you can do that with any budget flip phone now couldn't you?
  • Freebies! - Not everything on iTunes costs money. There is a surprising amount of free content available weekly on iTunes, everything from apps, music, music videos, podcasts and more. I frequently post articles in my iOS themed flipboard magazine, Apple Slices, featuring free apps and media. Also be sure to check the desktop version of iTunes and iTunes Store app itself for a link to a somewhat hidden section called "Free on iTunes" for more freebies!
  • Buck Stretching! - For anything that you want to purchase, and that you can't find for free, your best option is to purchase iTunes gift a discount of course. iTunes gift card discounts can range from 5% (common) all the way to 25% (rare). For example, just this week I purchased a $100 iTunes gift card for $80 from eBay, as seen here on Tech Bargains. Discount programs like Groupon also occasionally will run sales on iTunes cards as well (percentage off may vary). A quick method to save 5% is with a Target Red Card, Red Card holders save 5% on most gift card purchases; including iTunes. There are other programs out there as well that allow you to get a percentage off gift cards. The key is that if you know you are going to be purchasing content from iTunes, try to load up your iTunes balance ahead of time with gift cards purchased at a discount. If you know of any particular programs that offer iTunes gift cards feel free to mention them in the comments below!
  • Deals! - Like almost anything else you buy, iTunes runs sales - on apps, music, movies and more, so watch for those sales and you can save big! Tech Bargains is an excellent resource for deals on apps and of course 'Movies on Sale' on Facebook for deals on movies and television!
  • Stacking! - For maximum benefit purchase discounted iTunes cards and then wait for price drops on iTunes content that you want and then buy. A $12.99 movie, price dropped to $7.99, and then purchased with iTunes credit obtained from iTunes gift cards purchased at 20% off, effectively costs $6.39 - a savings of $6.60 from the normal price!


  • edited May 2017
    iTunes Buck Stretching 102 - Advanced Techniques to Make Your iTunes Purchases Stretch Further

    In my previous articles, "iTunes Buck Stretching 101 - Freebies, Deals and Gift Cards" above and
    "[How To] Get Movies And Television Seasons On The Cheap!", I covered the basics of getting digital media for less, by watching for freebies and sales in the iTunes Store, discounted iTunes Gift Cards, and stacking sales with discounted iTunes Gift Cards to maximize savings!

    Now I'm going to dig a little bit more into some advanced techniques for getting the most out of your iTunes purchases, some of these money saving techniques require a bit of effort, but for those making frequent iTunes purchases, and willing to put in the time and effort, it is possible to save a significant amount of ca$h!

    Bookmark this article for easy future reference, and I recommend opening all links in new tabs or windows.
    • Join A Family Share (But Not Necessarily With Your Own Family) - In iOS 8 Apple introduced a new feature that very few users know exists, but has the potential to literally EXPLODE your iTunes library, that feature is "Family Sharing". In brief, Family Sharing allows you to share or 'pool' iTunes purchase between six family members. Shared content includes virtually all iTunes content, music, movies, TV, apps, iBooks and more. And while Family Sharing is a great iTunes feature for families, it has even more potential for the adventurous iTunes user, those users willing to exploit the Family Sharing "loophole", and join libraries with other iTunes users to create mega-libraries of available content. An excellent resource for more information on Family Sharing "Clubs" can be found here: iTunes Family Sharing and Family Sharing Clubs and Family Sharing Clubs
    • Purchase Content From Other Countries - most iTunes users don't even realize that this is an option, but yes, it is possible to purchase virtually any iTunes content from any country in addition to your own country of residence by creating an account for that country. I personally have iTunes accounts in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The basics of how to setup an iTunes account from another country are covered in this excellent article: How-To: Creating an iTunes Account for a Different Country. This particular iTunes technique definitely requires some effort but you can achieve significant savings vs purchasing in your own country. It is highly recommended that you know someone in your target country that can purchase iTunes Gift Cards for you (time to find a new Pen Pal!), or have access to a payment method valid in that country. Once you have your account setup in your country of choice by following the guide above, and a Gift Card valid for that country loaded into your new account you can make purchases in that country. There are multiple benefits to having an account in another country.
      • Currency Exchange Rate Discounts - I can purchase content from Australia and Canada at roughly a 20% discount due to the difference in the currency exchange rate between the United States and those countries. This requires funding your new iTunes account with credit, preferable with discounted iTunes Gift Cards (see benefit #2 below!).
      • Discounted iTunes Gift Cards - just like one of my previous articles where I discussed purchasing US iTunes Gift Cards at a discount (sometimes up to 25% off!), it is often possible to acquire iTunes Gift Cards from almost any country at a discount with the right connection. Stack discounted iTunes Gift Cards with the currency exchange rate discount for even more savings.
      • Sales - other countries run different sales than the iTunes store in your country, so you can stack the exchange rate discount and the iTunes Gift Card discount on the sale price and score dirt cheap music, movies, TV series and more!
      • Country Specific Content - while not necessarily a money saver, another benefit of having accounts in another country is having access to content that is available in that country that may not be available in your own.
      What about once you have purchased your content? It is important to note that certain items will only be usable when logged into your device(s) for that country. Music is DRM free, and once downloaded can be used on any device, whereas most other content is DRM locked. It has been reported that Apple TV should allow you to log into multiple stores and stream movies and TV (I have not personally tried this) regardless of origin. Some Mac users have reported being able to create multiple profiles on the same Mac logged into each store (unverified). Personally, I've re-purposed old laptops and iDevices that I've logged into each country's store to make my purchases and download that stores content. Additionally, that content, once downloaded, can generally be de-DRM'd via software (see my [REVIEW] Tuneskit All-In-One iTunes DRM Media Converter for Windows).
    • Do Both! - Don't be afraid to create an account for another country AND find (or create) a Family Share for that account to reap the benefits of both!
    • Feedback - Have any feedback or suggestions, or money saving tips of your own to share? ...feel free to join the conversation.

    As always, use any of the above methods at your own risk as although I have personally used these methods your experience may vary and I take no responsibility for your use of the information provided.

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