The iPad comes with a price tag that ranges from $499 all the way up to $829, 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 those with small kids who purchase the iPad as a family device, but no matter if you have kids or not, the iPad can be used to help you cut back on your monthly spending.
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.
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 cable television
There are a number of great options for watching TV shows and movies on the iPad. Netflix offers unlimited streaming for $7.99 and has a huge collection of movies available. It also has a nice collection of TV shows, though these are generally available around the same time the show's season comes out on DvD. For those who want to keep up with the shows when they are aired, Hulu Plus also runs $7.99 a month and has up-to-date TV shows. But you don't have to pay money to get great video on the iPad. Crackle offers premium movies for free.
A subscription to both Netflix and Hulu Plus offers an excellent selection of movies and TV and will only set you back $15.98 a month, which is much cheaper than most of our cable bills. And don't think you have to suffer watching all this great video on the iPad's display. It's actually rather easy to hook your iPad up to your HDTV.
Replacing your laptop
For those that mainly use their laptop for work, chances say you won't be ditching it in favor of the iPad. But many people mainly use their laptop for relatively simple tasks like checking email, browsing the web, finding out what their friends are doing on Facebook and playing casual games like solitaire. And the iPad can easily fill all of these needs. In fact, some people find themselves rarely picking up their laptop after buying an iPad.
It's doubtful the iPad is going to replace all of the computers in your household. Even for those that mainly use the computer for those purposes listed above, the family PC might still come in handy for loading in pictures from your digital camera or simply storing a lot of digital movies that you can easily stream to your iPad.
But in addition to perhaps replacing that laptop, the iPad can also delay the need to upgrade that desktop computer. If your PC is mainly being used as a storage device for 20 GB of family photos, you don't really need a faster processor or more memory in it.
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.
Saving on gas and shipping
Some of the money you can save with an iPad is easy to overlook, such as the amount you can save on gas and shipping. These are part of the hidden savings that come with owning an iPad.
For example, if you buy an eBook from the iBookstore or the Kindle Reader for the iPad, you are not only saving the difference between the digital copy and the printed book, you are also saving the amount of gas it would take to go to the bookstore and back again. And when you buy Civilization Revolution from the app store rather than buying the Xbox 360 version from Gamestop.com, you aren't only saving the difference in price, but the cost to ship the game to you.