Looking for a good deal today?

Woot! Logo

If you’re like me, you may look at buying something for a while before you take the plunge. For me, I need to know that I’m getting the best deal possible.

One of the places that I check on a daily basis is the deal-a-day website Woot.com. Originally, when I had started shopping their site, they only offered up one item each day in a few different categories. Now, they offer up deals in several different categories.

Their strategy is pretty simple. Put a new item up at a deeply discounted price each day. The item is up for 24 hours and may sell out before the time is up. Oh, and shipping is always $5 no matter how big the item.

We’ve bought several different things out there including a laptop, television, and memory foam mattress. We’ve been pretty happy with what we’ve bought so far and their customer service is great.

The one thing about Woot (and other deal-a-day web sites) is that you don’t get a wide selection each day, but you do get a good deal. It’s helpful to keep an eye on the site so you get an idea of the types of items that show up in the rotation. Then when you’re ready to buy something, you’ll know whether they’ll eventually offer it up for sale.

There is one exception to the “deal-a-day” and that’s when they run a Woot-off. This is when they’re clearing their shelves of all the items that haven’t sold when they were originally up for sale. Items will go on sale until they’re sold out in a Woot-off. After that the next item goes up. These types of sales can sometimes run for days with different items up for only minutes at a time.

Of course, every item may not be a deal, so it’s best to do your research. Do some checking around the internet to see if you could get the same thing at almost the same price somewhere else. If you can, then it may not be worth buying it from Woot. Don’t forget that thinking you’re getting a deal can sometimes cause you to make a purchase without fulling researching it to make sure that it’s what you want.

Where do you shop to get a deal? Is there anything that you’re looking for that you want help finding a deal on? Let me know in the comments below.

“It still works, why would I replace it?”

When we bought our house over 7 years ago, we bought a new washer, dryer and refrigerator. Everything else was either already here or we brought it with us.

The stuff we brought with us was what you could consider “college dorm” quality products. They worked well, but were small and not really top of the line. This included a microwave, can opener, and toaster. (We brought a blender with us, but it was a nice KitchenAid one and we got it as a gift.)

When we’d walk through Target we’d see all the new fancy toasters, but why would we replace the cheap toaster we have? Would a new one toast bread better? Has there been some fantastic technological advancements in toaster technology over the past 10 years? Are we so busy in the morning that we need to be able to toast 4 slices at once instead of 2?

As for the microwave, it was small, but it still microwaved food as well as anything else. Sure it didn’t have a lot of the special “sensors” or anything, but if the food was hot, did it need all those things? I use the past tense because it eventually died and we got a new one. The new one doesn’t have any of the special stuff either and is the same brand. It’s like the bigger brother of the first one.

The stove and dishwasher were already in our home. I would guess that our stove is probably from the 70’s (as indicated by the faux wood look on the front) and the dishwasher was replaced somewhere around 2005.

Now the stove is important. Of all of our appliances, this one has been the one that has bothered my wife the most. Two of the range knobs broke off a long time ago, the faux wood on the front (which is really just a sticker) has been coming off for a while, and one of the burners doesn’t always work unless we take it out and put it back in again.

But it bakes stuff really, really well. The bottom element went out once and I bought a replacement on Amazon for $14. Of course the wires broke when I tried to replace it and it cost us another $74 to have it rewired. That’s still a TON less than a replacement built-in oven would cost us.

Could we afford to replace the oven? Sure we could, but we can use that money better somewhere else. If it dies, we’ll replace it, but if it keeps on working, then we’ll probably let the next person replace it with whatever they want. Besides when I start looking at new ones, my wife changes her mind about how badly she really wants one. (She doesn’t know that I recently purchased 2 new knobs for the range so she won’t have to move them around to use more than 2 burners at once. I accepted the challenge of “you probably can’t even buy replacement parts for this anymore.”)

When you really think about it, what things do you really need to replace? For me, it’s hard to throw away items that are still working, especially when a large sum of money is involved. That being said, what items are you holding on to that you’ve held off replacing? What’s kept you from replacing them? What have you replaced when you really didn’t need to? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by rioncm

Is your bank or credit union for or against you?

Back around Christmas time I wrote a post about the holiday loan offered by our local credit union. I gave plenty of reasons at that time why you shouldn’t get one of these loans.

But then they came back to surprise me with a vacation loan advertised on their digital sign. Seriously? A loan to go on vacation? They advertise it by showing a beach and saying “it’s only a vacation loan away.” This is accompanied by a “spring into a home equity loan” ad. I’ve also seen one advertising their great rates on car loans.

You know what I haven’t seen? Anything about savings rates, investing, or getting into better financial shape. I had them advertise Financial Peace University once on their digital sign and it worked out great. That was until I got a call telling me they had to take it down because it was a conflict of interest because they wanted their members coming to them to discuss financial problems. Hmmm, maybe for consolidation loan?

All of this begs the question, is your bank or credit union for or against you? Do they have your best interest in mind when they offer you a product or service or are they just trying to maximize their shareholder value, pad their pockets, or make a quick buck?

Banks and credit unions make money when you borrow money and not so much you save it. They can be extremely giving when they’ve got incentive.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re bank or credit union has something new to offer you. Consider how they’ll end up coming out ahead in the end before accepting anything.

What crazy debt products have you seen offered? Do you have any stories about your bank or credit union where they helped you get ahead? Leave them in the comments below.

Photo by 401(K) 2013