Johnny and I cringe when one of us brings up wanting to get a big ticket item (e.g., a computer, TV, camera, or PS3 *coughJohnnycough*). But just this weekend, it was yours truly who brought it up. I’ve decided that we need a new camera. Our current camera can’t record videos, and I’m pretty set on recording decent looking vids of Baby Girl. When I brought it up to Johnny, he agreed with my sentiment (amazing!!) because he treasures his family’s home video collection. But just because he agreed doesn’t mean we’ll drive to the store and buy one tomorrow. He needs to find a deal. That’s when things start getting carayzeee. And why do things get crazy? Well, because our deal finding mission commences.
How It Works
Well, let me start with our last camera purchase. It was Christmas 2010, and I wanted a DSLR camera. I mean, realllly wanted. The only thing holding me back from getting it was the price, which was over $600. So Christmas 2010 came and went without getting a camera. Little did I know that Johnny was secretly doing our deal finding method without me. And so six months later (on our anniversary no less!), he surprised me with a DSLR camera.
It was a refurbished Canon Rebel XSi (an older model) with an 18-55mm lens. It was $500 on Canon’s website. The promotion he got it with also included an $80 bag and $20 2 GB memory card for free. And on top of all that, Canon was also running a 30% sale with a promo code, so subtract $150 from that total. And he got $10 cash back from Ebates, which I’ll explain in a bit. So the total? Only $340. At regular price on Amazon TODAY, just the Canon Rebel kit (without the bag and SD card) costs $700. Johnny done good.
This is me testing out our camera the day we got it.
For every big purchase we make, we wait to buy until the perfect deal comes along. So for the new camera I’m eyeing, we’ll go through the same song and dance we went through with the other camera. Here are the deets of the method we use for finding deals online.
Finding the Deal
If you’re into deals, you’re probably already a regular here. Slickdeals is a user-generated community of deal hunters that lists the best deals they find on the Internet. Johnny subscribes to their Popular Deals RSS feed. He also sets up a deal alert so that he gets an email as soon as the wanted product has a deal added.
Once you get over their weird site name, this is a great place to start. CamelCamelCamel keeps track of a product’s historical cost on Amazon. For the camera I want, I can check its price history and see its all-time lowest price. This gives me a baseline for deal hunting. I can also set up deal alerts so that if the camera ever goes below a certain price, I’ll be notified.
Buying the Deal
The fun doesn’t stop once we’ve found the deal. There’s still money to be saved!
Ebates is a site that gives you cash back when you shop or use a coupon through their site at most online stores. For instance, when Johnny bought my camera, he visited Ebates, found Canon’s store on their site and clicked the link. After the purchase, we got 3% ($10) cash back. Since joining the site (which is totally freeeeee), we’ve pocketed an extra $78 for just clicking their link before shopping. It’s pretty much awesome. *FYI, this is an affiliate link, so if you sign up from us, we get some Diet Coke money (not buy-a-house money).
We also always check RetailMeNot before we make any (big or small) online purchase to see if there are any coupons or promo codes for the site we’re purchasing from. If there’s a coupon code or deal to be had, they’ve usually got it.
We buy refurbished. A lot. We buy all of our Apple products refurbished. It’s like a brand new product with warranty and all, except a few hundred dollars less. Many online stores have a refurbished section, so poke around.
We buy from sites that offer free shipping. I pay for shipping about 1 in every 100 purchases we make online. Free shipping is increasingly available, so look for it!
So that’s the song and dance we’ll follow before I get my next camera body. Johnny’s already set up the deal alerts on SlickDeals and CamelCamelCamel. And another perk of getting a good deal on a big ticket item? When we go to sell that item (such as our current camera) we’ll be able to get what we paid for it, if not more!
What’s the method to your madness for finding deals? Any special sauce you’re willing to share? After reading this, do you think we’re nuts (cause I DO!)?