I seem to have taken on the reputation of being able to find good deals on a variety of things....it's almost a hobby of mine. Ask any of my closest friends and they will tell you I have a habit of making sure I get the absolute lowest price on any major (or heck sometimes even minor) purchase. It's pretty much like the show "Extreme Couponing" on TLC but without all the crazy people with hundreds of coupons at checkout. I get asked a lot about my methods but it's really tough to show friends and family exactly how I do it without having a computer around. So with Black Friday just around the corner I thought I'd share a few of my favorite techniques . While some of these do require a bit of research (and sometimes a lot of reading) it is almost always worth the extra effort.
During the weeks leading up to Black Friday, I find myself perusing www.bfads.net most often to locate BF deals and also find leaked ads for all the different stores having sales. This is good for both the buyer who knows exactly what he/she wants or the buyer who just wants to see what the best deals are. On the homepage you can either search for a specific item at the top of the page or find a specific store's adscan on the left side of the page. I try to avoid any sales that are in-store only as I'm not a fan of crowds or lines so I stick to the ones that will be available online as well. However, if you enjoy all the excitement of standing outside in 30-degree weather waiting for doors to open be my guest.
My favorite deal-finding site during other times of the year is www.slickdeals.net (or just "Slickdeals" as I call it). Slickdeals is a website of avid deal-searchers like myself who post discounted prices they find on particular items and then other users can participate in discussion. Let's say, for instance, I am in the market for a new washer/dryer set and wanted to find out if there were any good deals available. I would go to the Slickdeals homepage and in the search in the top right corner would type "washer dryer." This will instantly bring up all recent posts containing deals on washer and dryers. I used this particular method last holiday shopping season and was able to score an awesome, awesome deal on a set from Best Buy. It required a couple of steps (price-matching to a sale at Sears, being at Best Buy at a certain time) but they were all laid out in the post (including an additional step that netted us a $100 Best Buy gift card too).
Other tips to save money on online purchases:
You'd be surprised to know you can earn cash back just by routing through one online site to get to another. Microsoft made this a big deal a couple years ago when they launched "Bing Cashback" (now deceased). But new sites such as www.fatwallet.com and www.rewardsrunner.com allow you to search for an online retailer and earn cash back if you make an online purchase from that retailer after using their sites to get there.
For instance right now FatWallet is offering 5% cash back at The Home Depot. So let's say you find a great Black Friday deal on a tool set that can be purchased online from The Home Depot -- make the deal even better by creating an account on FatWallet, route to The Home Depot's website through www.fatwallet.com, and then make the purchase. It will take about a day or so for the transaction to be verified and then you can request a check by mail or even have the rebate sent through PayPal. Bang. It's that easy.
This post could go on and on about all the different methods I use to save money whenever I can but really it just comes down to research. If you spend a little extra time on the web, you can save yourself tons of money and be more informed when making the purchase as well. As always, if you have any questions or want more info, just leave a comment! Happy shopping.