Hacking Everyday Purchases to Save Money
Part of learning to save money is finding ways to get the things you need for less. Sometimes we get lucky and the items we want/need go on sale, however many times that just doesn’t happen.
In situations like these, you must either decide to settle for an alternate product which is on sale, or bite the bullet and spend full price. Or do you?
The Doggy Door Dilemma
Last week I ran into a situation where I needed a very specific product. We just moved into a new house and are in need of a doggy door which fits into the existing sliding glass door. Unfortunately most of these doors aren’t the correct height, meaning I had to find a very specific one.
Luckily I was able to find the product I needed at a few online stores including Home Depot, Amazon & Lowe’s. Each store has the doggy door for the exact same price of $149. Both Home Depot and Amazon offer free shipping while Lowe’s wants to charge. (Even with the 10% mover’s coupon it still didn’t make sense.)
While I do love Amazon, they now charge sales tax in Nevada which has made their price advantage diminish. Amazon also doesn’t pay well through portals and their gift cards aren’t sold at a huge discount. In the end, I decided that Home Depot was my store.
Card Cash currently has a sale on Home Depot gift cards, offering 13.9% off of face value. Utilizing this sale I was able to purchase $162.65 worth of gift cards for $140.04.
Additionally, several portals including Top Cashback are offering 5% back at Home Depot. (See: portal strategy.) By combing these deals, I was able to save a nice chunk of money. Here is how the numbers work out.
- Total cost of doggy door from Home Depot: $149 + tax = $161.07
- Total cost of Home Depot gift cards used to pay: $140.04
- Minus 5% cashback from Top Cashback: $7.45
- True cost: $132.59
- Total discount: 17.68%
Since Card Cash has cards with varying amounts on them, I actually purchased $162.65 in gift cards and only spent $161.07, meaning I still have $1.58 to spend. Factoring that in, the true discount percentage is actually 18.53%.
I originally purchased the gift cards from Card Cash on Thursday evening and received a confirmation that I would receive the e-gift cards within 1-2 hours. Unfortunately that never happened and my order went into pending status.
On Saturday I still had not received the gift cards and contacted Card Cash via Twitter. I was told there was an issue with the system and that my old order would be refunded and that I had to place a new order. Once the new order was placed, the cards were sent within 5 minutes. It was a bit of a hassle and delayed me two days, however this is an atypical experience in my opinion.
While Card Cash does not participate in portal cashback at this time, many companies do. Don’t forget to check to see if your credit card will earn bonus rewards for a merchant category before buying gift cards. Many times gift cards are sold for cheap on eBay as well which allows you to both use a portal and earn eBay bucks to deepen your savings.
This is a specific example of a situation where a lot of people would simply pay full price. By utilizing a couple of pretty simple tactics, I was able to bring my cost down significantly and save about $30. While there was a hiccup with Card Cash, I saved more than enough to overlook it.