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In the final months of each year, the Big Sales come out in force. Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Singles Day! (China)
Retailers need to make their sales numbers, and they offer all kinds of bargains* and discounts to get people into their stores. It’s like a circus, a sporting event, and an IQ test all rolled into one.
I can certainly appreciate the desire to pay less for something, assuming you were going to buy it anyway. Personally, paying retail is against my religion.
In this post I review how we routinely get discounts on everything from clothes to coffee to hotels, at a time and place of our choosing. It’s all part of a master plan to Never Pay Retail Again.
I’m fairly happy with some of the successful retail avoidance moves I’ve made in the past:
- Bought bike for $50 on Craigslist. Rode for 2 years then sold for $60.
- Resold all home furniture for same price I paid for it.
- Paid $50 for $100 gift certificate. Bought $200 winter jacket at Nordstrom Rack 50% off sale (net 75% off.)
- Bought $800 worth of home supplies (bedding, cutlery, towels) for $80 at Macy’s clearance sale.
Unlike on the TV shows where people use coupons to buy 1,327 bottles of Gatorade and a 14 year supply of toilet paper for $2, these purchases were actually practical.
It is really exciting when you can make the retail system work for you. I use three main strategies.
Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are great places to find slightly used items. Since depreciation does most of the price damage in the first few years, there are a ton of great quality items available for a fraction of the retail price.
Things like bicycles and wood furniture hold value extremely well after 2 or 3 years. Sometimes the original owner never even used the stuff, just storing it in a garage or a guest room.
Thank you retail shoppers for your fickle (and fiscal) ways!
Cash Back Shopping Portals
Sometimes used items just aren’t available or don’t fit the bill.
In that case, we just go to our favorite online store and have what we need shipped directly to our home. Right?
By simply clicking through a shopping portal such as Rakuten, we can get cash back too. Nothing else changes… we buy from our preferred online store, we use our preferred credit card… But instead of getting only our items, we get our items plus $weet $weet ca$h!
Nearly every store I’ve ever heard of participates.
For new customers, Rakuten currently is giving a bonus $30 cash back after $30 in purchases.
Discount Gift Cards
Every year millions of people receive gift cards for birthdays and holidays, and promptly think, “What the hell am I going to do with this?!”
The answer for many is to sell them to a Gift Card exchange, which connects buyers and sellers. This means we can buy Gift Cards at a significant discount! 10% off is like buying a dollar for 90 cents.
There are even sites to help figure out which exchange offers the best deal.
I’m predominantly a buyer. I’ve mostly settled on Raise.com since they have a large assortment of my most used GC (hotels.com) and regularly have sales for additional % off.
This link will get you $5 off your first purchase at Raise.com
(We will also get $5.)
Stack Bonuses for Max Discounts!
We can use a combination of cash back shopping portals and discount gift cards to get significant savings.
By stacking a cash back shopping portal, a discount gift card, and the hotels.com Stay 10 Get 1 Free program, we can save 20%+ on hotels.
Buy $1,000 hotels.com GC on Raise.com for $933.38 (~$67 off)
Use 1.5% cash back credit card ($14 back)
Book 10 nights at $100 each using GC (tax additional) ($100 off future stay)
Book hotels.com via Rakuten.com ($30 cash back)
Total savings: ~$211 (~21% off)
Every once in a great while we end up in a clothing store like Old Navy or Gap, usually when they are having an end of season clearance sale.
Old Navy GCs and Gap GCs are pretty popular, and can often be had at great discount (at this moment they are 13.6% and 13.5% off, respectively.)
Since this is greater than the Rakuten in-store cash back offer (currently 4%) I would choose the discount GC. If we were to purchase online, I would be able to stack the offers.
Total savings: $119.82
(Purchase online via Rakuten for additional ~$4 cash back.)
Even the most frugal household has regular purchases. Discounted Gift Cards can be a great way to reduce the price of things we were going to buy anyway. Here are a few favorites:
And by planning in advance, we can use these discounted GCs to meet minimum spend requirements on new rewards credit cards for even bigger rewards.
Never Pay Retail Again
By the power of the Internet, shopping for discounts is easy and efficient.
Discounted Gift Cards are also a great tool to meet minimum spend requirements on new credit cards, which provide even greater rewards.
If this sounds like fun, these (affiliate/referral) links can get you started:
$10 off $25 purchase at Rakuten.com (Now $30 off purchase of $30!!!)
$5 off 1st Purchase at Raise.com
Cash back and travel rewards credit cards
Join the movement to Never Pay Retail Again!
* “bargains” ;)