Here's a little secret: You don't always have to buy the latest and greatest. With technology moving so fast, gear that's less than top of the line or latest generation is usually more than good enough for most users' needs.
A good example is the iPad 2. Sure, the 3rd-generation iPad has a faster A5X processor, a gorgeous Retina display and 4G LTE cellular.
You may want it, but do you need it? For average Web surfing, video-watching and other tasks, the iPad 2 works just as well. Apple has even equipped the iPad 2 with a slightly better A5 chip than it had when it debuted. The Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 is $399 compared to the $499 new iPad.
Buying a 12- to 16-month-old refurbished Mac from Apple will save you significant change and offer you plenty of computing power for the next two or three years.
A refurbished MacBook Air is discounted $140 or more over a newer model when you buy direct from Apple. You'll have no worries about condition, and mid-2011 Airs feature dual-core i5 processors – more than everything you need.