Several years ago, I was considering buying Toast, a DVD authoring tool. But I decided I was not prepared to pay the full price of $99 for a tool that may prove to be less and less useful over time as Apple was removing optical drives from their Macs. But when I saw that it was included in a bundle of software for $49, I decided to pull the trigger. App or software bundles are a great way to get good deals on high-quality software.
The following will explain the methods I’ve used over the past few years for finding some great deals on Mac software past few years, through app bundles, price tracking, and clipping the right digital coupons.
Independent app bundles
Bundled software — when five, 10 or even more apps — are sold together for one low price is a great opportunity to try out a new piece of software that you may not have thought to buy in the first place. There is typically one (or more) big ticket or well known item in each bundle along with several smaller and lesser known items. And sometimes you get something really good you didn’t even know you’d use: a few months after I bought that Toast bundle, I found an opportunity to use Live Interior 3D, one of the apps included. I ended up using it to model a couple of rooms in my house before purchasing new furniture. So think of app bundles as a way to buy the one app you want, while getting fully licensed versions of several additional software titles you may like — you just don’t know it yet.
MacUpdate Promo (macupdate.com). More of a full-featured app store on its own, MacUpdate has been offering some very compelling software bundles in recent years. One such title that I am always keeping up to date is Parallels. At least one each year I will find a $49 bundle with Parallels included, and get access to some other great titles that I would not otherwise have purchased. The great thing about MacUpdate is that it will also manage all of your license keys online, and alert you via email when any of the software you have purchased has been updated. There is even a MacUpdate desktop app that you can install that will keep your purchased software titles in check and notify you instantly when updates are available. It works very much like Apple’s Mac App Store on OS X, only MacUpdate has been doing this long before the App Store ever existed.
MacHeist Loot (macheist.com). When it first launched, you were not exactly sure if you were participating in an actual heist or not. MacHeist has made purchasing software fun by introducing a secret agent gaming element which provides even deeper discounts and access to additional software titles referred to as “loot.” With the first round of online hijinks, you had to hack your way into websites in order to unlock secret codes. This of course was all staged and now there are iOS games like The Heist that you can download and play instead. These games will link to your MacHeist account to unlock the same discount codes. At the end of a series of missions, you are exposed to a great bundle of software for a very low price.
The rest of the pack. It’s not that any one of these other bundle sites do not offer equally as good of deals as either MacUpdate or MacHeist, they just are not nearly as well known and offer more of a no-frills shopping experience. MacLegion, BundleHunt, StackSocial and ProductiveMacs have each proven to be a valuable source of great software for a great value. Another such example is Micromat’s TechTool Pro. I can usually pick this up for $49.99 along with some other great apps in teh bundle.
Mac App Store price trackers
Nothing is more frustrating than buying anything, including an app from the Mac App Store only to see the price drop the next day. While none of these services can actually predict the exact day when a developer will decide to drop their prices, some will at least alert you when they do. Once alerted, you can take advantage of the sale before its too late and you miss yet another great opportunity.
AppShopper (appshopper.com). While you may be familiar with this site for iOS apps, it also covers OS X apps in the Mac App Store as well. With AppShopper, you can look at the pricing history of each app you are interested in and see if the developer has ever offered a discount. You can also set up an account and be alerted via email when one of the apps on your wish list provides an update or changes its price.
Two Dollar Tuesday (twodollartues.com). The name says it all. While not exclusively limited to Tuesdays, this site will list current deals for apps that are on sale in the Mac App Store. They have a Twitter feed that you can follow, or if you like you can subscribe to their mailing list and get weekly email updates on deals.
Appy Fridays (appyfridays.com). Very similar to Two Dollar Tuesday, Appy Fridays will track different software deals. They also have a Twitter feed you can follow and an email distribution list you can join.
Shopping cart coupon codes
There are still third-party software developers that sell their software directly from their own online stores. Some of the larger ones rarely, if ever, participate in software bundle opportunities. That does not mean that they do not offer discounts from time to time on their software in the form of coupon codes.
RetailMeNot (retailmenot.com). Taking coupon and promo codes from both merchants and customers alike, RetailMeNot is one of the top coupon code sites online. It is easy to find the company you are interested in, just search for the company name or the domain name that the shopping cart is hosted on. One of my favorites is TheLittelAppFactory, seems like there is always an active coupon code for their great assortment of software. These codes are legitimate and most time are actually listed on the site directly by the online merchant that sets them up in the first place.
Even more coupon code sites. It never hurts to look everywhere before you give in and pay full retail price. There are many other coupon sites out there, such as CurrentCodes, CouponCabin and CouponChief to name a select few.
While there are other promotions, app trackers and social coupon code sites out there, I have used each of the sites referenced above at one time or another. Some sites that I haven’t listed here may offer great deals, but they don’t have the big ticket software titles that I am looking for. Each of the sites listed here have proven to be a valuable source for both great software titles and even better deals.