The iPad comes with a price tag that ranges from $329 for the entry-level iPad Mini all the way up to $929 for the 4G 128 GB model, which can seem like an expensive luxury. But did you know there are many different ways the iPad can actually save you money? This can be especially true for families with small kids, but no matter if you have kids or not, the iPad can be used to help you cut back on your monthly spending.
Ditching cable televisionItching to cut the cord? One of the easiest way to lower the household budget is to lower (or cut completely!) the monthly cable bill, and the iPad makes this process easy by providing a good source of streaming TV shows and movies as well as unique alternatives to watching television. The subscription cost of Netflix and Hulu Plus is much lower than the high figure that comes with the cable bill, and the combination not only provides a range of TV and movie, but it also offers the convenience of watching at any time without the need for an expensive DVR device. And the Crackle app actually provides free movies with no subscription required. The Top Apps for Streaming Movies.
You can also watch TV on your iPad. EyeTV offers an interesting alternative to cable by providing your iPad with an antenna to receive Dyle TV signals. And many TV networks offer full episodes through free apps available on the App Store. Get a List of Cable and Broadcast TV Apps.
Want to take it to the next level? Find out how to hook your iPad up to your HDTV.
Replacing your laptop
Did you know many people could completely replace their laptop with an iPad? If you mainly use your laptop for work, chances are you won't fit into this category. But if you mainly use your laptop for checking email, browsing the web, finding out what their friends are doing on Facebook and playing casual games like solitaire, the iPad could fill these needs. In fact, some people find themselves rarely picking up their laptop after buying an iPad.
Perhaps the biggest thing keeping people chained to a desktop or laptop PC is the abundance of storage space. It's hard to fit 100 GB of photos on an iPad without paying an arm and a leg for the highest end model. But with cloud storage like Dropbox becoming more popular, there are alternatives to putting all of your pictures and videos on your iPad. And if you already have a desktop, the iPad could be a better compliment than a laptop.
A mobile game console
The iPad's ability to play great games may ultimately save you the most money if you have small kids. Not only does the iPad make a great mobile game console, but many of the games on it are free, and for those that do have a price tag attached, it is often just $.99 or $1.99. There are more expensive games available, but even these games don't compare to the $60 you might pay for an Xbox 360 game, $50 you might pay for a Wii game or the $40 you might pay for a Nintendo 3DS game.
And while the iPad may not replace a traditional console for the hardcore gamer, even these users can save a little money by filling the breaks between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sessions with a $.99 game on the iPad rather than a $60 game on the PlayStation 3.
Ditching printed books for digital books
Perhaps the most obvious way the iPad can help you save money is its use as an eReader. While some of the top books on the bestsellers list can come with a digital price tag that is similar to what you would pay in an actual bookstore, the vast collection of books beyond the bestsellers tend to have a better price for the digital edition.
But let's not forget the ton of free books available. Apple's iBookstore supports Project Gutenberg, which offers over 36,000 free eBooks from public domain. There's a lot of great stuff available in this collection like Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
No more dedicated GPS
If you purchases the 3G model and subscribe to a 3G data plan on your iPad, there's little need to get a dedicated GPS for your car. The iPad comes preloaded with Google Maps, which is a good GPS program on its own. And for those who like a little more in their GPS, the app store has some relatively cheap alternatives, like the $19.99 Sygic US: GPS Navigation app.
Digital replacement of real-world products
It would be difficult to enumerate just how many products the iPad can replace around the house. The most obvious, of course, is the calculator. With so many good calculators with scientific and even programming functions available for free or for as little as $.99 on the app store, buying a physical calculator is a bit of a waste. You can also throw out that dictionary with all the free alternatives.
But there is a lot more the iPad can do. Want a second montitor for your computer? You can spend over $100 buying a second monitor from Best Buy, or you can spend $5 for iDisplay and extend your desktop to your iPad's display. Play guitar? You can replace that expensive multi-effects package with iRig and the AmpliTube app.