Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking Your Time to Find the Best Deal

I usually don't buy big ticket items unless I get a killer deal. How do I do it? You have to put in some time to research it and be patient. Here's my tried and true deal ritual!

1. Take a baseline of lowest prices without any rebates or sales. A good way to do this is to go to Google Shopping, enter in key words, the more specific the better and sort by lowest price. Be sure to click on the links to check it out and make sure it's legitimately offered at the price in the preview and not a part or accessory.

2. Visit Slickdeals and Fatwallet. Go to their hot deals forum and search for keywords. This is a mecca for deal sharing. People will tell you where to buy things, how to price match, what rebate are offered, link to reviews of products, etc. It takes some getting used to, as far as finding your way around, but it's an invaluable site. Fatwallet also allows you to set up deal alerts when posts are made with your keywords.

3. If you are OK with buying used, check Ebay and Craigslist. You can save shipping charges and taxes if you buy from these sites.

4. Make sure you know of all rebates offered and any instant savings. Do a google search of the product name and the word "rebate" to ensure you aren't missing any manufacturer or seller rebates, also do one with the merchant name and "coupon code" if you purchase from an online vendor. I also sometimes click through on Google Shopping because some vendors offer instant savings or "hidden" savings that don't show until you add the item to your cart.

5. Buy from a reputable vendor, save your order #s and confirmations. Don't forget to follow through with rebates. Scan all submitted documents for reference and add a reminder on your calendar to follow up with rebate submissions at a future date per the guidelines included on your rebate.

6. Look for cashback websites. These are websites where if you have an account, then click on a retailer through their Cash Back retailer directory, you earn a percentage of your purchase back to you. After a window of time, you can transfer the funds to your Paypal account, bank account, etc. Fatwallet offers cash back, as well as BigCrumbs and Mr. Rebates.

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