How to potentially save a fortune on a big-ticket appliance

Old OvenOur oven was old when we bought our house, but it worked. Then we got 8 more years of life out of it. During that time, only a couple burners worked consistently, we replaced some missing knobs and the heating element in the oven had to be replaced. That cost us about $100, which wasn’t too bad at the time.

Recently, we’ve spent more time trying to get the burners to work than we do actually cooking food on them. Not cool.

We started looking around for a new oven, and they’re not cheap. We thought we found a pretty good deal on a slide in, but when we had measurements done it turned out the only type of oven we could fit into our space would be another drop in. They cost more because there aren’t a ton of them made anymore.

I found one that would work at Lowe’s for $1349, with a regular price of $1499. They would have to order it for us. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but I had already resolved myself to the fact that we would be spending somewhere between $1000 and $1500 for a new oven. We didn’t want a top of the line one since we’re putting it into an older kitchen.

It was at this point that I remembered the Sears Outlet store in the area. I decided to do some searching on SearsOutlet.com to see what was available at the local stores. Nothing.

However, I did find the same model that Lowe’s had at several other Sears Outlet stores around the country and for a lot less, like $700 off the list price of $1499. We’d have to pay about $212 to have it shipped, but it would still come out to be much less than what we would have paid somewhere else.

So how do you buy an appliance sight unseen? Below are some tips.

  • The prices at Sears Outlet stores are low because they’re usually open box, refurbished, or scratch and dent. SearsOutlet.com includes pictures of the items on their website in most cases so you can see the exact appliance that you would get.
  • If you have a question about the item, call the store and ask some questions. We did, and the guy was very helpful. He looked it over and told us exactly what he saw wrong with it, which was pretty much nothing.
  • Even though ours was a display model, it still came with the same warranty that we’d get if we bought it brand new at the store.
  • The price you see online isn’t the price you have to pay…you can pay less. SearsOutlet.com has a “Make an Offer” option. I put in a price and it showed the probability it would be accepted. After submitting, I got a counter offer immediately and saved another $25 or so off the list price.
  • If we needed to return the oven, we could take it to our local Sears Outlet store. We wouldn’t get the $212 shipping charge back, but we’d at least get the cost of the oven back worse case.
  • After accepting the offer, I picked a delivery date and they delivered it about a week or 2 later.

So that’s how we bought our new oven for 25% off the Lowe’s sale price. Our total cost was about $1012 before taxes, which included the shipping charge. We installed it Monday and have enjoyed it the last couple of days. If you’ve got a Sears Outlet store near you, you could do even better without the shipping charge, assuming they have what you’re looking for.

So what do you think? Would you buy a big-ticket item sight unseen? Let me know in the comments below.

“Hidden” discount for credit union members using Sprint

Are you tired of the $36 activation or upgrade fees from Sprint when you start a new line or upgrade your phone on an existing line? Looking to get a bit more of a discount on the “extras” you pay for such as increased data?

If you’re a member of a credit union, then you can get those fees waived and get 10% off any extras you’ve added. Simply visit http://www.sprint.com/verify and complete the necessary information. When asked for a corporate ID use NACUC_ZZM. You can then upload your proof using the form. Proof would include something like a recent statement or membership card. Be sure to black out any identifying information such as account numbers or social security numbers.

I’ve been told that the process should only take 2-3 days before they process it. We discovered this when we got our first statement and it had the activation fee on there. After they applied the discount program, they also went back and gave us a credit for the activation fee that was pending on our account.

If you run into any issues or want to check the status of your discount, you can call 855-297-1367. This will take you to the people who do the discounts. They were very helpful when I called and had some questions. There are other discounts available through different employers and memberships. They can probably help you find the one that is best for you if you call.

Have you found any “hidden” special programs like this for other services? Does this discount help to save you some money? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by JeepersMedia

Discounted gift cards – Save money on everyday purchases

How would you like to get $80 worth of stuff for $60, without looking for a sale? Or get some money for those gift cards that are just lying around with a few dollars left on them?

It wasn’t until recently that I finally took the leap and tried using a gift card reseller to save some extra dollars. We had 3 gift cards that had a balance on them and hadn’t been used in a while. We’d have to go out of our way to go to these stores and we’d likely pay more for whatever we would buy than if we bought it someplace else.

So I decided to sell them and get some cash through ABC Gift Cards. I was a little hesitant when I read the reviews online, but I gave it a shot anyhow since I didn’t have much to lose. I entered the cards on their site, reviewed their offer, chose my payment method and mailed the cards in. About a week later I got an email with an Amazon gift card code for the amount they offered. So far, so good.

The next step was to try buying one. I decided to buy one for a store my wife likes through CardCash.com (sister site of ABC Gift Cards). About a week later, it showed up in the mail. The total savings was 21% off the face value. Not bad at all.

I recently submitted another order for some cards for stores that our daughters like to get clothes from (Gymboree and Justice). Total order cost me $82.28 and I’m getting $105 worth of gift cards. That’s also an average savings of over 21%.

Why wouldn’t we do this all the time for clothing purchases at least? I’m not sure. If you’re looking for a way to boost your budget, this might be a great way to do it.

What do you think? Do you have any other unique money savings tips? Leave them in the comments below.

Photo by 401(K) 2013

Save tons on a hotel room

Hotel

We recently came home from a week-long trip to Walt Disney World and while we like to have a great time and do things up as much as possible, we also like to stay within a reasonable budget so that we don’t mess up any other goals we may have.

This time when we decided to go, we gave some serious thought to flying so we wouldn’t have to take as many days off of work. However, when we started to price out the tickets, it was really hard to justify spending about $1100 versus the approximate $300 to $400 we spent last time on gas, hotels, and food.

In order to keep the trip down and back at a reasonable cost, we had to stay in hotels as cheaply as possible. I’m the type of person who would prefer to stay at a slightly nicer hotel, but I also don’t want to blow our entire vacation budget on a temporary place to sleep.

The answer is to use hotel discount guides. You can find these at welcome centers and rest stops on the highway. They are free and are usually sitting outside in newspaper stands. The guides are arranged by highway and exits in that state so you can find the discounts for all the hotels at one exit in one place.

The discounts are really good and are lower than what you would get with a AAA card. As an example, we stayed at a Comfort Suites on the way down. I just checked their website and if we were to book it through there, we would have paid about $110 a night (AAA rate is $99) with taxes and everything. With the discount guide, we paid a total of $66.

There are usually some stipulations with the discounts, but they aren’t usually deal-breakers. Some examples are that the discount can only be used for a one night stay or that it only applies to certain room types or for a certain number of people. They may let the last one slide though if you ask nicely.

You can use the discount guides for more than just a road trip. Maybe you can impress a family member by paying for their hotel stay overnight as they’re visiting. (They don’t need to know how much you spend.)

Potential Savings: You can probably expect to save 30-40% off of the normal rate.

Let me know when you might use hotel discount guides to save money on a hotel stay in the comments below. If you’ve got any creative ways to save money on vacation leave those below as well.

Featured Image courtesy of sixninepixels / FreeDigitalPhotos.net