Getting the Best Deal from Best Buy

I’m looking at buying a new laptop soon, an Asus G71Gx gaming grade laptop. It turns out Best Buy has the best price on this laptop. As someone who would rather pay less when possible, I began to seek out cheaper alternatives than paying $1300 +tax for this notebook.

First off, see if there are any better prices out there. Traditionally, Best Buy is not the best source for cheap systems.

Next, I live in Vancouver, Washington. We have a 7.7% sales tax. Right across the border is Portland, Oregon — 0% sales tax. That’s instantly going to save me $100.10. In order for this to work, you have to go into the store, not online; unless of course you’re willing to just have it shipped to someone who lives in Portland.

Next, search for coupons for Best Buy. These are somewhat rare, but there are some 10%-off-anything coupons that surface from time to time. Make sure that what you are buying falls into the “acceptable categories” as explicitly noted on the coupon. Can’t find any currently.

Next, find gift cards. Ask your friends if they have any they want to sell. Look at online for sale forums. Check eBay. As long as the person selling the gift card is reputable, this is a great way to save money. For example, I just purchased a $250 Best Buy gift card for $238 buy it now -$23.80 for Bing cashback, -$4.76 for eBay’s cashback incentive plan, -$2.38 because I paid with PayPal through my credit card. That makes the final price for this $250 gift card $207.06; a 17.18% discount.

Next, as I mentioned previously, pay with credit card (assuming you pay it off, and have a cash back incentive plan). This is an easy 1-2%.

Finally, don’t accept any upselling that Best Buy will try on you. You don’t need the extended warranty, you don’t need the new peripherals. Don’t be a sucker for their highest margin area of the business.

With these principles applied, I’m going to take a $1400.10 laptop (including tax) and get it for $1084.80 (5*207.06 + 50 – 0.50).

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Cheap Mexican Food

I’m always looking for good deals, especially when it comes to food. Restaurant.com has good deals on food, especially with coupons, but there aren’t too many good choices for restaurants in my area. I redeemed a coupon today for some fajitas as Mexico Lindo. Price:
$10.29 + ($0.85 tax) + (30% * $3 = $0.90 for coupon) – $10 = $2.04 + tip for some $11.14 fajitas.

Delicious (geotagged).

I plan to do this once a month — as often as the coupon allows.

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Forum FS/FT Thread Notifier

I haven’t mentioned it in over a year, but I’m really using my Forum For Sale/For Trade Thread notifier a lot. I subscribe to the RSS feed that it generates, which aggregates new threads from multiple tech trading forums. I check it with Google Reader a few times a day, and frequently find great deals on used electronics.

Currently it supports [H]ard|Forum’s For Sale / Trade, ArsTechnica’s Agora Classifieds (new!), and AnandTech’s FS/FT Forum (recently fixed). These are the only three forums I’ve used, but perhaps later to include some of the other popular online sale forums…

It’s not perfect, nor complete, but it’s at least fully functional and usable. If you use it, please provide some feedback and let me know what you think.

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How I got a Wii for free (not what you think)

I bought my Wii back in August. What I neglected to mention is that I got it for free. No, I didn’t do the BS “sign up for these 5 programs and refer 5 friends who do the same and get a free Wii” gimmick (not that I haven’t tried that before). I got a slick deal on it.

So in mid to late July I applied for an American Express Bank of America Rewards Card, which promised $250 in rewards for $250 of purchases. I was a little skeptical at first, but it looked legit, so I went through with it. I received my card on August 6th, and purchased my Wii (the first thing I could think of that was $250) on August 7th. A few weeks later I applied for the reward — to be shipped to me via a check in “1-2 billing cycles.” A few weeks ago I wondered what was taking so long — I went to their site and had to confirm I was ready to accept the check.

Today I received the $250 check. That makes the Wii free, after 3 months. Worth it, I’d say.

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In true style, I was wearing my Woot! t-shirt today. Then I come to find out that they start a Woot-Off. Coincidence? I think not.

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