One way to save some really big money is to stack multiple discount and reward offers on top of each other when making a purchase.
For example, you can save a bundle if you get a sales price item, negotiate the price down further, add a coupon and rebate on that and then pay with a cash back credit card. Add all these up and you have a pretty good deal. :)
Of course such a purchase doesn't come along that often, but when it does, it's like manna from heaven.
Here are a couple examples of how I've been able to save big this past year by stacking discounts.
We need new appliances for every rental unit we refurbish (which, if you've been reading along, you know is every one we buy.) We've done five units so far and have nine left to remodel.
We started by looking for a decent brand at a good price. After doing so and looking at the offerings from various retailers, we went with Frigidaire (and "upscaled" it a bit by taking stainless steel) and Lowe's.
The appliances started with the retail price (of course), but they were on sale. From there, I was buying eight pieces (refrigerator, range, dishwasher, and over-the-range microwave) for two units. We were also buying a new washer, dryer, and range for our home on the first purchase, so all these items added together allowed me to negotiate a price that was below the sales price (it also helped that I had a competitor's ad - and they match prices).
From there, I applied a 10% coupon that my realtor sent me. Lowe's has some sort of program with realtors to make coupons available when a new place is sold. Smart move IMO since it's likely that new homeowners will need the sort of things Lowe's sells.
On top of that, Lowe's had a rebate going that gave me a gift card on purchases over a certain amount.
Finally, I paid with gift cards I had purchased using a 6% cash back card (Amex Blue Cash Preferred -- which I have since cancelled since they are setting limits on how much you can earn 6% on).
So the final tally looked like this:
- Retail prices for all the items: $7,489
- Sales/negotiated/matched price: $5,448
- Price after 10% coupon: $4,903
- Price after 6% cash back factored in: $4,609
- Price after rebate ($300): $4,309
Total saved: $3,180
Percentage saved off retail: 42.5%
Not bad, huh?
Better yet, I struck up a friendship with the department manager and assistant manager and locked in those negotiated prices for every unit I do with them from here on out.
Obviously this technique works best on big ticket purchases because you can really rack up the savings. That said, the principles apply on smaller purchases as well.
I like Nike brand clothing, but hate paying Nike prices (way over-priced IMO.) So I use the same principles detailed above to pay a fraction of the retail price.
I start by shopping at a Nike outlet store (where the prices are already automatically discounted -- believe me, they are, as I know what places like Dick's are asking for these items).
Next I shop the clearance rack. The Nike store always has two or three of these for men. This rack is where they take the really big discounts.
Then they regularly have extra discounts on top of the clearance stuff. Yes, a double discount. There's a lot of junk in this price range, but I can sort through to find the diamonds fairly quickly.
I pay with a gift card purchased using the 6% cash back credit card noted above.
I get a $5 off coupon for every purchase I make where I fill out an online survey (and I always fill those out).
Here are the financials for a recent purchase of a golf polo shirt and a pair of cargo shorts:
- Full retail price for both items: $117.00
- Original outlet sticker prices: $84.98
- Prices after markdown on clearance rack: $52.46
- Prices after clearance rack "extra" sale: $41.97
- Cost after 6% back on cash back credit card: $39.45
- Cost after $5 coupon discount: $34.45
Total saved: $82.55
Percentage saved off retail: 70.6%
It's not often that my wife or I find situations where we can stack so many discounts on top of each other, but she does frequently make purchases with a triple discount (sale price + coupon + cash back rewards), most commonly in the grocery store. And when we make purchases that have even more discounts, it's a bargain hunter's delight! :)
Do you have an example of stacking multiple discounts to get a great price? If so, please share it in the comments below.