The following is a staff writer post from MikeS. He is a married father of 2. So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house. He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.
I might get tarred and feather on a PF website for saying this, but I just bought myself a new TV. There wasn’t anything wrong with my old TV. I just wanted a new one. Before you start typing your response, let me explain.
Want versus Need
The idea of a new TV actually occurred to me in the beginning of the year. For whatever reason, I decided I wanted a slightly bigger TV. So, do I go right out and by one? Nope. Since the TV is a “want” and not a “need”, I have to use my allowance.
Yes, I get an allowance, so does my wife. We each receive a set amount each month to spend on whatever we want, no questions asked. The rest of our income is for joint expenses and generally reserved for “needs”. I decided that I wanted to have the TV by January at the latest. My wife and I host a Super Bowl party every year and I wanted to have the TV by then. It was then I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to save enough for the TV with just my allowance alone. So, I made it known that I was willing to become a staff writer. I needed to supplement my allowance with additional income. Since this extra money is outside our normal income, I am able to keep all of it.
After I had saved for several months, I decided I should see how much my TV was going to cost. My first stop was to Consumer Reports to see the ratings for TVs. I settled in on a 51-inch Plasma from Samsung. I then began to search around for the best price I could find. I saw prices ranging from $649 all the way up to $750. The $649 price was at both Sears and Best Buy. Surprisingly, Amazon was not the lowest price. The price was actually lower than I expected. When I began saving, I had expected to pay about $1,000 for the TV, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn I’d only have to spend $649.
At this point, I began researching to see which of the stores had a better rewards program offering. I had signed up for both some time ago. It turned out both stores offered a 5% bonus on purchases. I was leaning towards Sears, as I didn’t think I would need any more electronics for awhile. It was about this time that I noticed Discover’s cash back bonus category for the 4th quarter. It was a 5% bonus for on-line purchases. I realized that I could buy my TV on-line with Sears and get 5% cash back. I was pretty excited.
About a week or so later, I found a BankAmeri Deal that was even better. I have a Discover card for my allowance purchases and my wife and I have a joint Bank of America card we use for the household. The separate cards help me track expenses more efficiently. The BankAmeri Deal I found was for 10% cash back on a Sears purchases, either on-line or in the store. I did not have to do anything else other than use my Bank of America card to make the purchase. The 10% cash back would be in addition to the 1% back we normally receive on the card.
So, for simply buying my TV at the right time, I was able to receive 11% cash back. It was also about this time that Sears sent me a $5 coupon to go shopping. With all of that, I pulled the trigger on the purchase.
Overall, I was quite happy with the money that I saved on my TV. Had I simply purchased it straight off of Amazon, I would have paid $30 more. By paying attention to the rewards on my credit cards, I was able to secure an additional savings of $81.13. That includes the 10% bonus for buying it with Bank of America card, the 1% normal cash back reward and the $5 coupon from Sears. I quite enjoy the new TV. I also am enjoying the 12% discount I received too.