One of my favorite Price Matching Tools & A Recent $63 Shopping Trip that cost me less than $5!

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price matching tools

All About Price Matching

One of the greatest tools available to a consumer is price matching. Whether it is for hotels or the latest iPad, there really is no reason to pay significantly more than everyone else just because you choose to shop at one store or another.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how you could use Staples price match policy to get the lowest price on an item and earn extra rewards. Why would you want to do that? Well Staples offers up to 5% back in rewards plus the Chase Ink cards offer 5X at Staples. Basically, why purchase that bluetooth headset at Walmart, when you could get the same price at Staples and earn much more in rewards?

RedLaser – A Great Price Comparison App

price matching tools

One of the greatest tools I have found for quick comparison shopping is an app called RedLaser. RedLaser works pretty simply. When you find something at a store you like, simply scan the barcode and it will find that same item across a number of merchants online. Several other apps have this same functionality, but I have found RedLaser does a better job at the price comparison.

It is also a handy app because you can store your loyalty program cards within it along with your favorite products. Again, this app isn’t completely unique (there are hundreds like it), but I find that it does the job better than all others I have used. It is fast, efficient and finds prices across just about every store including eBay. (I didn’t know this until I began writing this post, but apparently RedLaser is owned by eBay.)

Yesterday’s Price Match

price matching tools

I recently lost my bluetooth headphones and needed to replace them before my upcoming trip to Scandinavia. Because of ink recycling I always have a ton of Staples Rewards, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to burn some. After looking at their weekly ad, I noticed Staples had the LG Tone Pro headset for $69.99 “on sale”.

This headset is the newer version of my old one, so I figured it was a good match. When I arrived at the store, I was able to scan the barcode and quickly match the item to Amazon, where the black model (same as what Staples had), was selling for $44.02. (It is $44.44 right now.)

To use up my $60 in rewards, I picked up 8 boxes of tissues and laundry detergent and then headed to the register. After showing the cashier my phone with the Amazon price, she had a manager come over to override.  The ~35% off price match took mere seconds and was incredibly easy. With tax, the total for the tissues, detergent and the headset was $3.23 after applying my rewards.

What Was the Real Price

So what was my real price? I earn Staples Rewards through ink recycling, so my price was much lower than $63.23. $40 of the $60 was earned through ink recycling. I have a lot of cartridges lying around and get $2 in credit for each one up to 20 per month. The other $20 was received on items I bought and resold at a break even rate. In other words, those $20 were basically “free”. In total, my all-in price was less than $5.

Conclusion

While there isn’t anything lifechanging within this post, I did want to mention how amazing RedLaser has been for me over the past couple of months. When normal people need household items and/or headsets they go and pay full price. When I need those items, I walk in to a store and walk out having paid almost nothing. Pretty good stuff and it frees up my money for travel and more.


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21 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure if it is a good idea to talk about buying ink cartridges and then recycling them at Staples. You might argue that this information is widely available on the internet (through internet forums, etc.). Still, a widely read blog like yours probably shouldn’t be advertising this. Just my opinion.

  2. Love Staples ink recycling. And their 110% price matching. I’ll have to check out Red Laser. Looks like the Motorola SF500 bluetooth earbuds for $29.99 at both Amazon (highly rated) and Staples are also a good deal.

  3. The ink cartridge programs used to be such a sweet deal. Buy as many cartridges as you like on ???? and recycle them at Staples and O/D. They each throttled back the number, price and expiration of rewards you can earn so it is no longer worth it if you can’t meet the ink spend. I used to get $60 a month from each to buy items for my retail arbitrage business! Ah the good ole days.

    • Yeah Staples is the only program worth pursuing anymore and it isn’t nearly as good as it used to be. Still, even though I simplified the whole thing in this post, I do pretty well to get household items, etc with the rewards.

      I used to save them up 6 months and then get something big, but now with the 1+ month expiration I keep us stocked with laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, etc for almost free and then pick up the occasional item I need like the Bluetooth headphones.

  4. While Staples has a few local warehouses, actual B&M aren’t that close. Word that stores will soon be closed, isn’t a good sign of one being open locally. At one time, Staples.com was the deal site to get tech items cheaply, usually with coupon codes, rebates and PM. Old timers from FW knew what to do.

    • The rebates aren’t as plentiful as they used to be, but Staples still provides a lot of value and the occasional deal. You are right that it isn’t as good as it once was. As for Staples closing stores, it will be interesting to see if the Office Depot purchase goes through. We will definitely see a ton of changes if that happens.

  5. I can understand the Kleenex at 4 boxes for $3.99 using an
    Ink card and getting rewards, but their detergent price always seems high. That ink recycling program is great.

    • The detergent was actually on sale for the same price as Amazon. I always try to buy the household stuff when Staples discounts it to a decent price or has a “break room supplies” coupon.

  6. Thanks for the red laser tool. I love Staples rewards for free Cascade, Puffs tissues and nuts. They have the best almonds and cashews. Don’t forget Staples takes manufacturer’s coupons, too.

  7. Hey Shawn. Cool post man.

    I had a strategy question. Are you able to price match online and still get some type of portal bonus? or even better if you pay via cheap gift cards and still get a portal bonus on the pricematch? Also, I was wondering if its cheaper to buy all those tissues and laundry detergent online via portal or even Amazon subscriptions or Jet.com. I cant imagine Staples to be too competitive when it comes to household items.

    btw, so you need 8 boxes of tissues and laundry detergent? sounds like you’re gonna have a party… jk.

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