Deals aren’t just online, sometimes you can find the best deals in stores, offline.
Electronics shopping has seemingly moved onto the realm of online. Most techie’s won’t shop any other way anymore. Yet, for those who prefer to get hands on, instant take home, and product browsing, great deals can still be had in physical stores. Here’s the best tips to get the best deals in stores and offline.
Use Store Loyalty/Membership Programs
- I’ve read that Millennials are twice as likely to take advantage of loyalty programs. There’s very little reason to not take advantage of them. The only possible drawback would be the aspect of giving up personal information. For example, in 2012 it was reported that Target was able to deduce that a teen was pregnant before her father knew, just by her shopping habits. If you are shopping for electronics and less “personal” items, you may have less to worry about. And some stores require less personal info than others.
- If the above is not a concern for you, there can be some great advantages for the savvy buyer. Even if I don’t know whether I’ll shop in a place again, I’ll sign up for the loyalty program. Often, there is a special bonus just for signing up. If I return to the store in the future, and if I later decide to join the program, I may have already lost valuable points/credits.
Price Shop Online
- I know, “You said this was about shopping in store, not online.” Yes, but unless you want to drive around town all day, you can get more done in 5 minutes online than a whole day of driving around. I have a pretty standard list of sites I like to visit for various products (in no particular order):
- If you know the right keywords, it will take you literally less than 5 minutes to check the short list of sites in the category of the product you want. Just because one place is cheaper than another, that does not mean you need to go there. Most stores will price match if you talk to them in person and they can verify the price themselves.
- You will notice some sites (like eBay) can be used for just about any type of product. You do have to be cautions with sites like eBay or Craigslist because anyone can sell on them, and not all transactions will offer satisfactory results. I use those type of sites to see if it makes more sense to roll the dice on a more peer-to-peer type transaction than a store. Don’t expect stores to price match from auction sites like eBay.
- The last advantage of doing some online prep work is that you can see some products that may be sold out at the store you will go to, or may not be available in the store. By not checking online first, you may limit your ability to compare prices and may show up to buy something that’s not in stock.
Look for Added Bonuses
- Because of the rise of internet shopping, brick and mortar stores are getting more desperate to get you in the doors. As a result, they may sometimes offer deals that are only available to those who come IRL (in real life). These bonuses may be a rebate, percentage discount, extra credits for the loyalty program, gift cards, giveaways and more. The right bonus may make the trek more than worth the time and gas.
Make Money for Going Out
- Ok, this one is subjective, but it is a way to make real money in a way you can’t from staying at home. There are a number of sites and apps that will pay you to do little tasks that must be done in person. This could be secret shopper type or photo survey type. I use apps like EasyShift and Gigwalk. Sometimes the task can be done on the way or next door. The best combination is when you get a task in the same store you are going to anyway. I’ve made more than you’d think taking a couple pics of a display at places like Walmart, Target and Best Buy when I was going to be there anyway.
I’ll share with you my most recent shopping experience. I had decided I wanted to get the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage door opener, which has a typical MSRP of $129. I used every possible trick to cut each penny possible and walk out the door with the product for a steal of a deal.
- I research online to find that Best Buy is having a promotion where a purchase of that product comes with a store gift card of $20.
- I spent less than 5 minutes online searching other sites for prices on the same product. In this case, Walmart was selling the product for $98.77.
- On the way to the store, I earned $8 by using EasyShift and taking some pics at a nearby Target store.
- Due to Best Buy’s MyBestBuy Rewards program, I had earned $10 in credits from past purchases.
- Thanks to past purchases with Best Buy Gift Card promotions, I also had $100 in gift cards in my wallet.
So, here’s the pricing break down:
$129 – Retail Price
-$8 – Money earned enroute
-$30.23 – Price match
-$10 – Store Loyalty Rewards
-$88.77 – Old Gift Card from past purchase
-$20 – New Gift Card from this purchase
Grand Total: -$28
That’s right, by using a combination of techniques, I got a $129 product for free with a $20 gift card to spare and $8 deposited in my Paypal account; essentially meaning I MADE $28 just for getting the product. Bu-yeah!
If you have other great in-store shopping tips and tricks for the best deals in stores, offline, please feel free to share in the comments section.