Thursday, November 8, 2007

Saving at Christmas – Part II

Ever since I started typing up Part I of the Saving Money at Christmas series of posts, my head has been spinning with ideas. What should I write about next? Wow, so many ideas…
November 6, 2007 Tip: Cash Back or Rebate Websites

Today's Tip: Price Guarantees and Price Matches

Have you ever gone out shopping, found the perfect item and made the purchase only to find it on sale elsewhere or at the same store...a week later? If you're like me, you get frustrated for not being better prepared. What do you do - kick yourself for buying it early? Return it and repurchase it at the discounted price? Or do you just stop looking at the advertisements once you make the purchase because once it's done you just don't care?

If you are stretching your dollars, you have as much work to do after the purchase as you did (or should have done) before. A price guarantee (aka price protection) means that the retailer will refund you the difference if the item goes on sale within their designated period. Most retailers have price guarantees to ensure that you get the best price available. Essentially, they save you the trouble of returning the item and buying it back at the sale price. You know... less paperwork for them with happier money-saving customers to boot. Better yet, a price match is when the retailer will honor competitor advertisements on identical items. While some retailers price match competitor sales, others only honor their own. If you can work the two policies together, you could end up with some unexpected savings. Do your homework and keep an eye on the advertisements for all stores. Most places price match competitor ads if you ask!

If you're planning a big ticket purchase, it would behoove you to find out what the retailers' policies are. Consider making your purchase at the retailer that has the best price match and price guarantee policies so you can take advantage of additional promotions and sales prices as long as possible after your purchase. As an example, some retailers have price guarantees as long as 90 days with others are as short as one week. Some offer just the money back for a price match while others give an additional 10% of the difference.

I recall years ago my mom purchasing bread machines for each of us for Christmas. She bought them extremely early and watched as the price continued to drop as Christmas approached. With each drop, she ventured back to the store for a refund. I'm not positive, but I believe she went back a total of three times! So don't think that once you get a matched price, you're done. You're not. Until the time limit is up (varies by store but is usually 30 days), you can continue to work the discounts.

Afraid you'll miss out on catching the price guarantee? Subscribe to a free service like Price Protectr. I can't really say "like priceprotectr" because that's the only one I'm aware of that offers such a service for multiple retailers. RefundPlease currently offers this type of service only for Amazon purchases and AmazingRefund provides this service for Amazon purchases you make through their website. I only recently found out about priceprotectr and have not had an opportunity to utilize it yet. Yet. With priceprotectr, you log on and provide details on the item you purchased. They notify you when the price of that item drops and provide details on how you can get the refund. They used to only do online purchases, but they have extended it to store purchases also for some of their retailers. The only downside is that it currently only watches for the item to go on sale at the same place you purchased it – you'll still need to check competitor ads to take advantage of price match programs.

Basically, to get the most bang for your buck, you need to do your homework before the purchase. Then you need to continue to monitor it afterwards to take advantage of any price guarantees or price matches that the retailer offers! Incorporating the price guarantees and price matches into your shopping plans also allows you to get your shopping done a little earlier before the items are gone from the shelves! Good luck and happy shopping!


  • Heather

    Thanks for the great ideas! My husband just quit his job to start a new business, so we are pinching pennies wherever we can and trying to keep life relatively the same for the boys.

    About your comment on my Shasta post, thanks for sharing. It is so hard to lose a member of the family, especially when that member has been with you for so long and is such an important piece in your life. My husband actually just left for the vet with Shasta right before I read your comment. I'm hoping for the best.