Earlier this week I decided it would be fun to start up a thread in the Forum asking people how they would go about dropping the price of an appliance. The starting price was $1999, but it was already showing up as $1699 on sale. I wanted to see how people addressed the problem, and now share what I learned from it. Firstly, the winner for the lowest priced option was reader @smittytabb. The final price: $1173!
Not sure if you can reproduce or not, but I have it down to $1173.00 (approximately).
Buy $1700 worth of Sears gift cards at Thornton’s gas station for 20% off saving $340. Pay for them with a credit card like OBC that gives you 5% cash back for another $85 savings. Then buy the thing through Ebates with the gift cards for another 6% cash back saving you another $102.
Is this my only answer allowed? I have never used Ebates so I am not sure if you can use gift cards on the site or not.
I would use ShopDiscover to get it down another $68, but you have ruled that out. Too bad!
My personal approach was going to be:
Buy $1700 of Sears giftcards at Stop and Shop during their 4x gas rewards promo (this weekend) using a 5% cashback card. These fuel rewards are very lucrative, but, like Smitty’s answer they are regional. I get super excited about 4x gas rewards because I have a car, and we have a gas bill in the monthly expense because of that. The full value of them is $2.20 per gallon (max 35 gallons) so I bought 4 gas cans and when I fill up I get about 35 gallons.. as such, that a $77 savings per transaction.
$1700 = 6800 pts = 3 $77 loads (6600 pts) and 200 points left over (they can be used, but would be off a regular fill of 15 gals, worth only $3. All told, the purchase = $234 of savings, plus I get 5% on the $1700 for another $85. Just for buying giftcards I get $319 I’d then step through the same hoops and come out at $1,279. Then, there are two more steps to add on, missed in the winning answer: a $50 off coupon (mentioned by another player in the challenge) and Shop Your Way points, which would be another 1%, or $16.50 . My final price: $1212.50.
Number of steps (stacks):
- Buy Gift Cards with 5% card
- Earn Points on Gift Card purchase
- Use Gift Cards through Portal for cashback
- Save by adding on Coupon
- Earn Points on purchase via Shop your way
5 steps, each one adding value, perhaps a little convoluted, but if you look at every transaction hoping for 5 steps then I think your brain will start automating that and you’ll wonder why you ever did anything else.
What did I learn?
Kenmore is made by Sears… hey I am a Farang, forgive my ignorance. However, this is a very important point. One thing I was expecting people to use more was ‘Price Match’ as you can often score 110% matches, that would make a big difference. If I had elected to go with a brand like Samsung that was sold by multiple retailers we could have used this price dropping tool.
What was interesting to me
People started to go down the route of opportunity costs and losses – this is what I hoped for in the challenge. For example, a solution given by Wings:
Add 113 Authorized Users to your Amex cards and then redeem for the Amazon $15 off $15 buying sears cards
I think a few people agree with this mindset- or perhaps a variation on “go MS $1700 of cashback and pay with that. The problem is that both are ‘cash’, and once you have magicked it up using your wizardry it is real money. If you pay for a product without baking in couponing/portalling, then you might as well just go there with a stack of Benjamin’s. I hope you can see from my answer above that the Stop and Shop campaign works because it doesn’t cannabalize. You can still have that $1700 in cash in your pocket from your MS, then you go through the steps to earn fuel rewards using and suddenly you are spinning earning opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Malvina raised the point:
If you pay with gift cards – what about warranty? purchase protection? price protection?
Sounds reasonable right? These are free perks you get from paying with a Credit Card. Or are they perks you are paying for by paying with a credit card instead of buying Gift Cards? Think about how much you just saved for a moment.. the GC phase of my approach… $319 off a $1700 purchase. Let’s flip the tables: would you pay $319 to ‘insure’ your purchase above and beyond what is offered by both the store and the manufacturer?
Burning is as important as earning. We have to optimize everywhere. This was a lot of fun, and I hope to build a full time section of the Forum to bring up these questions. I hope this doesn’t make me weird, but this is the way I approach every transaction of reasonable value… check out some other notable answers:
- Deere $1287.50 (would be much lower but snail mail charges killed it) there is value here
- Raenye ‘around $1280’ good thoughts, and opened up the ‘Micro, Macro’ conversation that Haley brought up’ Raenye also brought up a great point about buying GC via eBay without risk here.
- Haley ‘ around $1300’ doing something different, buying second hand giftcards, i’m doing this right now for HomeDepot and saving 11% when others are happy with 5x…
There were many great answers in the thread, and I think it is a really great example of how we need to look at gaming everything (but not everyone) most importantly, we should strive to earn as much as possible, and spend it as wisely as possible.
While having fun 🙂