How can you benefit from student discounts without worrying too much about ethical implications? You simply find a student in your family to aid in your purchase. Technically speaking, you don't have to be a full time student to get these rebates. This means that if someone is taking a class a semester, they will be on the same footing as a full time student. My wife and I have gone back to graduate school, so we're happy that we can benefit from this, but you can probably find someone in your immediate family who is an attending student and ask them to help (a fair offer would be to maybe offer them a certain amount in compensation or help out in other ways beneficial to a student).
If you don't have any family studying, then you can post something on Facebook. It's pretty certain that at least one of your friends or friend of a friend will be a student, or has gone back to school. Using social networking is a lot better than asking strangers to help you buy a MacBook since you have some connection with them. But the best bet is to take the high road and avoid using student discounts when you're not a discount. Simply taking a class at your local community college is an affordable and legit way to further your education while rewarding yourself with some of those cherished student discounts.Other ways of obtaining significant discounts would be by opting for refurbished goods. Most online retailers have a section for clearance and refurbished goods, These goods are usually available for 20 to 50% less than regular priced products. Even the Apple store has a section like this. The advantage or purchasing a refurbished product is that they have been factory certified by the manufacturer and usually come with a good warranty. These go well above and beyond student discounts on new products. As an example, a refurbished iPod Touch 64 GB costs $200 from the Apple store, whereas the new iPod Touch 64GB cost almost twice as much, at $400. On many smaller and popular devices, there are no student discounts. Buying this refurbished iPod will save you 50%. Granted, it's the previous generation of the iPod Touch, but it's still a great discount.
As to software, students do get good deals on new software. However, a good strategy on avoiding to pay full price on software is trying to find free or cheaper alternatives. Take Microsoft Office as an example. The Office 2011 package for Mac for students was sold at $80 over at Amazon last weekend, but if you're using Google Docs, you can have fully functional office software without paying anything. Another alternative includes Open Office.