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How I got Office 365 and a free tablet for $40

From the Cheapskate: With a little digging, you might be able to find a similar deal.

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

Thanks for the $40 Office 365 subscription! You go ahead and keep the tablet.

Newegg

Let's just take it as read that you have you reasons for wanting Microsoft Office. Sure, there are plenty of freebie alternatives, but Office offers unparalleled OneDrive integration, an unmatched mail client in the form of Outlook, real-time co-authoring in Word, and some other serious perks.

Ah, but it costs $70 for a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal -- too rich for my blood. That's why I'm always on the lookout for ways to, shall I say, game the system.

Last week I found one: Newegg was selling the iView SupraPad i700QW Windows tablet for $39.99, shipped. (It's currently $49.99 -- more on that in a moment.) What does that have to do with Microsoft Office?

Simple: Like a lot of Windows tablets, the SupraPad comes with a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. Which, you may recall, has a value of $70. That's some no-brainer math: You're effectively buying the subscription for $40 and getting a free tablet. Done and done.

Once I received the tablet (which is fairly mediocre, but no matter), I activated the subscription -- which, incidentally, includes one license for the tablet and one for a PC/Mac. Now I've got full-blown Office 365 Personal on my laptop for a year. Bam!

Next step: sell the tablet. It's no longer new, and no longer comes with the subscription, but it's still a full-featured Windows device -- one that could easily fetch $20-$30 on Craigslist or Ebay. Maybe more. (I haven't tried yet.) Hey, you might be able to cover the full cost and wind up with Office for free!

Of course, maybe you want the tablet -- in which case, enjoy! It's not a bad little device, but the screen is pretty poor, storage is very limited, and some folks have reported trouble upgrading to Windows 10.

Bottom line: If you're in the market for Office 365 Personal, it behooves you to go shopping for a dirt-cheap Windows tablet. This one is still solid at $50, but there may be better deals to be found. Just avoid refurbs, as they will not include the subscription.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Yesterday I rounded up some great gift items, but this one arrived too late. No matter: it's here now. For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Etekcity S9 Laser Measure for $36.99, shipped. That's after applying coupon code CNETCODE at checkout. This top-rated gadget takes the place of your old-fashioned tape measure and includes dual bubble-levels. Great gift for your favorite tech-savvy handyman!