My husband and I have been searching for TVs for over a year. When we first started looking in January 2008, the prices were pretty steep (well for us!). We weren't in a rush because we didn't NEED a new TV - we just wanted one. My husband picked out his favorites based on researching reviews and whatnot. I picked out my favorites based on one thing: Price. His top choices were the Sony Bravia and Sharp Aquos. Mine were Dynex and Vizio. The husband is sort of a brand freak and was like "I never even heard of those brands Becky." My response: "So? There cheap!" Husband rolls his eyes.
For whatever reason, my husband has been working a trillion hours overtime the past 3 months. There's no end in site. This is a blessing for us to sort of get back into the mode of saving. Since I haven't worked in almost 3 years, the word "savings" really isn't in our vocabulary. It's hard to live off one income in Massachusetts - or anywhere for that matter! Especially when you also have to feed and diaper two little rugrats and a cat. Well we don't diaper our cat, but we do feed him.
So one afternoon I was searching my TV websites and found a 37" Sharp Aquos for $699 with FREE SHIPPING! Our original plan was to get a 32". This TV was once listed at over $1,000 and I loved the fact that there was free shipping - and no salesmen trying to sell us some ridiculous warranty plan. So I called the husband over and he said "buy it!" Well it couldn't just be that simple. Here's some things I did to maximize my savings for this purchase.
1. Retailmenot.com. I went to RetailMeNot.com which is a great site for coupon codes. You just plug in the web page of what you're looking to buy and it will spit out coupon codes for you. Jackpot. I got a $10 off $200 or more purchase at Buy.com code. $699 became $689.
2. Cashbaq.com. I exited Buy.com and went to Cashbaq.com. Cashbaq.com is a rebate website. They have over 2,100 merchants listed and if you just go through their site to whatever site you are hoping to buy from, they'll give you a percentage of your purchase back through your Paypal account (or a check if you don't have PayPal). There are other rebate sites out there too if you don't like Cashbaq. I do like Cashbaq. If you want me to refer you, I'll send you a referral and we'll both make %s of each other's purchases. Score. I got 2% ($13.80) credited to my Cashbaq account. $689 becomes $675.20.
3. Credit Card Rewards. And finally, even though we wanted to pay "cash" for this, I put it on my credit card that gives you back 1% on all purchases. Since we have 5% tax in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I scored myself $7.24 to be credited on my credit card on my anniversary date. $675.20 becomes $667.96.
So by doing a little a web research and maximizing my credit card rewards, I saved $31.04 off an already great price (well at least in our minds). Just remember - although credit card rewards are great, if you can't pay off your statement balance by the due date, you'll be hit with interest. And unless you were able to pull some great strings with your credit card company, chances are your interest rate is A LOT higher than your reward rate.
A lot of stores do reward type programs too. Best Buy & Staples for instance. A lot of stores also offer great 0% interest rates on their store credit cards for a promo period. These are great to take advantage of as long as you're able to pay off the balance before the promo period expires. Store credit card interest rates are incredibly inflated. Usually in the high teens or even low 20s. Most "regular" credit cards are sitting pretty at just under 10% these days.