Although we do get a lot of gadgets through the review sample process, nothing beats the feeling of getting a great deal on your own. If purchasing that hard drive or that iPod at well below the cost of what other folks are paying brings a smile to your face, then you're a hot deal hunter. We've got a list here today that should be right up your alley.
We are going to list the top 10 ways to save some hard earned cash while still getting the gadget you want. Before we start, let's discuss some basics of bargain hunting. Most of our list will consist of buying from online retailers. The benefit of this is that many will not charge you sales tax as long as you are not in the same state they do business in. So if you are buying a large ticket item, this can save you quite a bit of coin compared to buying it locally.
However, buying locally at a brick and mortar (B&M) does have an advantage in that you get to see and touch what you are buying before you buy. So using the previous example, let's say you wanted to buy a new 42" LCD. Many folks will want to see the LCD in use before buying it, which is where the B&M comes into play. So what I have always suggested is to go locally to see it, then go online to buy it. That does not mean you'll always find the cheaper price online, but we'll give you some pointers on how you can make that happen.
Here are the criteria used to put together this list:
- No pyramid schemes (ex: signup for free iPods, laptops, etc.)
- Illegal methods of obtaining a deal are not allowed (ex: swapping price tags)
- Retailers must not have previously used fake sales to lure customers
On with the list!
10) Price search engines
When I first started buying hardware or gadgets back in college, I relied heavily on search sites like Pricewatch. They categorized all the items I wanted and found the cheapest price for them online. It was extremely easy to use and the results came back with some amazing deals. Nowadays, newer sites like Froogle have taken some of glory of being the top price search site. The concept is still the same - find the lowest price from numerous sites all in one shot. The companies listed in these search engines may depend on how much they are willing to spend to be listed. Make sure to check the Reseller Ratings for the vendor you plan to buy from. If their rating is low, you'd want to stay away from the retailer.
9) Hot deal sites
Hot deal sites are a dime a dozen now. It just goes to show you how big of an impact getting a hot deal is. These sites comb through many retailers to find the sales that no one else picked up on. Whether you are looking to get a case of water or some extra hard drives, just keep an eye out on these sites and you'll probably find them. Some of the more popular sites that I frequent are Spoofee and Slickdeals. Do keep in mind, 99.9% of the links on these sites are referral links. They do this mainly to get some revenue back from all the links they find.
8) Local Sunday paper ads
In your local Sunday paper, you'll find a handful of fliers for your local shops. Most commonly you'll see Best Buy, Circuit City, OfficeMax, Staples, and a few others. Usually the prices are just slightly higher than what you'd find online. The hot deal comes when you can combine some pricematching and rebates. Pricematching involves taking an advertised price from one retailer to another to have them match and beat that price. Many will beat it and give you an extra discount on top. Once you get that pricematch and rebate, you just got yourself a hot deal. This is of course assuming that one retailer is actually advertising a lower price for the same item. Make sure to check out the Black Friday edition of these fliers. These will often contain some incredible deals which you will likely need to camp out for on the infamouse Black Friday.
7) Friends and Family sales
Most of the time these sales are geared towards apparel. You'll see Foot Locker having these every few months netting the consumer 30% off on just about everything in their shops. There are some tech deals to be had, for example if you were in the market for a cell phone. Many of the providers have Friends and Family deals that can possibly give up to a 65% discount! However, you will need to know or 'find' someone who works at your desired provider, which makes this deal a bit harder than most. Sprint/Nextel has a employee referral program just like this which requires knowing a Sprint employees ID. If you don't know anyone, you may want to head over to some of the large cell phone forums and try to find someone who may be willing to help you out.