How would you like to save anywhere from 10-25% on your next home improvement project? Maybe you’re purchasing a new set of appliances for the house or a new snow blower for the driveway. No matter what you’ll be buying, I am going to show you how to save money on appliances, tools and much more in 3 easy steps. For this article, I will use a lawn mower as my example, considering that I am actually in the process of doing this right now.
The very first thing I recommend doing, is to research the product online and then determine what product you want and which vendor you’d like to purchase from, if you’ll be buying locally. Many products can be purchased cheaper online, but most home improvement materials, as well as appliances and tools, are purchased locally at big box stores.
Now that we know what we’ll be buying and where we are going to buy it, we can begin the process of getting a great deal on our new lawn mower. Also, I would hope that the item is already marked down in the store before we even begin this process because we did our homework on the front end. With a little effort, you should be able to find a product that is already discounted by 5%, or more, in the store before we apply our additional steps. Let’s begin!
Step #1: Sign Up for Cash Back Rebate Sites
There are many sites out there that offer anywhere from a 2% – 20% cash back rebates on the things you purchase online. A great place to find these is a site called www.cashbackmonitor.com, where you can enter the store name and instantly get a list of rebate sites and how much they’ll give you. This only works when shopping online, but it can be a valuable tool in your discount toolbelt.
For example, I set up an account at BeFrugal.com for my lawn mower purchase. This will work at hundreds of sites, but I’m using Home Depot in my example. After setting up the account, I went to CardCash.com, through my BeFrugal account and purchased my gift cards (Step #2, below). This is important because the rebate site needs to track what you purchased at the other site for your rebate.
Step #2: Purchase Gift Cards Online
CardCash.com is a gift card buying and selling website. They purchase unwanted gift cards from people and then sell them at a discount online. For example, I can purchase a Home Depot gift card at a 10% discount off it’s face value. Why wouldn’t I do this?
So, in my example, I am purchasing a $430 Honda lawn mower from Home Depot. Again, I went to CardCash.com, through my BeFrugal.com account, and purchased the amount of Home Depot gift cards that I needed. I got a 2% rebate, from BeFrugal.com, for the gift cards I purchased online at CardCash.com, at a 10% discount. This will likely be multiple gift cards, rather than one large one, since most of the cards are below $100 in value.
The cards will be mailed out to me, to be used either online or in the store. This process does take a little forethought because of the waiting period, but can save you money if you’re willing to look ahead and wait. So far, it sounds confusing, but it really isn’t all that hard once you understand it.
Step #3: Negotioate with the Store!
Some of you may stop reading right here and say, “I”m fine with 12% and I’d rather not face the confrontation for another 10% or so off!”. If that’s you, that’s fine and I hope you can still use the first two steps to save big money on your future purchases. For the rest of you, who enjoy a little negotiation, this is where the fun begins!
So, we’ve already received a 2% rebate from BeFrugal.com, a 10% discount from CardCash.com and we’re ready to go buy our lawn mower from the store. The store, by the way, still hasn’t given us a penny and has plenty of room to negotiate still. As a side note, this doesn’t always work and a lot will depend on your attitude and ability to negotiate, as well as which store manager you speak with and how you speak with them. This really takes practice to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Tip: If you are purchasing an appliance, and you’re willing to buy a model with a tiny scratch or dent on it, this can yield even further discounts off the sticker price. If you’ve got kids, it’s probably only a matter of time before it’s scratched or dented anyway, and so you might as well cash in on this savings.
How Do I Ask for a Discount?
Just Ask!!!! Seriously, I have found that an effective technique for getting deals is to be honest and complimentary with the manager. There are no “hard and fast” rules at these box stores for discounts, and the managers have the ability to help you or not, depending on how much they like you. So, what you’re really trying to do is influence them into giving you a discount. This is not a “strong-arm” technique but rather a “win-win” technique when done properly.
Tip: I believe that the bigger the store is (i.e. Home Depot), the more the negotiation is about influence and persuasion, rather than the money. The smaller hometown stores are additionally influenced more by cash and what your sale means to their gross revenues, as well as influence. This makes sense if you think about it, a Home Depot manager doesn’t care near as much about “making the sale” as a small town shop owner does. Pay attention to this when negotiating.
I always start by telling them how much I enjoy shopping with them and that I would love to get a discount on the lawn mower. They’ll usually ask you, “Why do you want a discount?”, as if it needs explaining. Just tell them that you’d really like to purchase the item with them but you also would like to get a great deal. I am usually specific here and ask for a specific number, like 10% or 15% off.
The worst case scenario is they say “No” and ban you from every shopping there again, while posting your picture at the front door (Extremely Unlikely!). The best case is that you get the full discount you ask for (Reasonably Possible), or you get a discount somewhere in between like 5% (Very Likely!).
Again, you never know what will happen but one thing is for sure; you don’t get what you don’t ask for. So, be complimentary, be firm and specific when asking and let them know how much you’d like to buy it there, if you can work out a deal.
Lawn Mower Retail Price: $459.00
(7%) In-Store Sale Price: $429.00 ($30 Savings)
(2%) BeFrugal Rebate: $8.60
(10%) Gift Card Discount: $43.00
(11.65%) Negotiated In-Store Discount: $50.00
Final Purchase Price: $327.40
Total Savings: $131.60 (28.7% Discount) *These are the actual numbers from my recent lawn mower purchase, so I know it can be done.
Note: If you are purchasing cabinets, flooring or other home improvement items, I would recommend having multiple suppliers give you a quote on those products. This can save you a fair amount of money by letting them know the bulk you’ll be spending, which will drive down their price. The other techniques will still work but need moved around depending on what you buy and where. I hope this was helpful and turns into big savings for you in the future.
If you have any savings stories or other savings tips or resources, LEAVE A COMMENT below and let us know about it. If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends so they can start saving money also. I would greatly appreciate it!