Saving on Big Ticket Purchases


Our microwave-hood broke last year. It was only 3 years old, and one of the fancier (more expensive) models made by Kenmore. I refused to purchase a new microwave because we were and continue to be so focused on our financial goals.

When the microwave broke, we were able to borrow a microwave. It was a counter microwave so it took up a lot of space. Since we didn’t remove our broken microwave, we were using it as storage of sorts :)

We put money aside to purchase a new microwave, but it wasn’t an urgent need. I wanted to, of course, get it on sale or a great bargain. This past weekend, I was perusing the Sunday ads and saw a sale at Best Buy. All appliances were 15% off. To me, that was a bargain considering I hadn’t really seen normal prices drop much lower than that (in our price range).

I went to work and researched the various models online. Best Buy had some great reviews on a certain model, so I chose that as the model we would purchase. Before I made the purchase online, I did other market research to see if that microwave was any lower anywhere else since Best Buy has the price match policy.

No other stores came remotely close to the Best Buy everyday price. I’m not even talking about the sale price!

I then remembered that Sears and Lowe’s have the price match and then some policies. Essentially, you take in the advertised price and they will match that PLUS give you 10% of the purchase price too. So, I thought I would check to see if they even had any in stock.

I recently found out about Milo is a site that will do price comparisons for you on current inventory in-stores. I decided to see if Milo could help me find a microwave to purchase that day!

Miloe came back with the price comparison showing that both Sears and Lowe’s came in about $200 MORE than the microwave price at Best Buy. And, not only were the other stores more expensive, they were also NOT in-stock. Milo did its *magic* and told me that the microwave was in-stock at a local Best Buy. We decided we would make the purchase there. And, I really, really like Best Buy!!

BUT, before we went there to pick it up, here’s what I did :)

Ebates offers 1% cash back on Best Buy purchases. I shopped Best Buy through the link on Ebates and got 1% cash back. No, it’s not a lot but it just paid for my Venti Nonfat No Whip Stirred Mocha :) FYI, sometimes Ebates will not approve cash back for in-store pickup, but I would have been out very little so it wasn’t a biggie.

No matter WHAT the purchase is always consider purchasing online if you can! If shipping is FREE (and it usually is for larger purchases) and it’s not an urgent need, shopping online for big ticket purchases can help you save even more!! Especially if the cash back % is a LOT! In this case, the special was FREE shipping for purchases online over $25!

My point in sharing all of this is a few things:

  1. Cash is great! We actually paid with our Upromise Credit Card that gives us cash back on purchases. So, we made even more money making the purchase. We will pay that off with the cash we had saved for this purchase.
  2. Cash back sites, like Ebates totally rock! Sometimes getting discounts on big ticket purchases aren’t possible. Luckily months of our waiting we were able to get a sale. But, if that’s not possible getting cash back from these rebate shopping sites is a discount in itself!
  3. Researching pays off. Had we really wanted to order the microwave special from Lowe’s or Sears who offers the price matching then some policies, we could have saved an additional 10%. Knowing products were in the store and we made one trip, thanks to, saved us on gas….oh, and listening to our 3 boys fight with one another!
  4. A broken microwave can double as storage. But, I am so glad to have my counter space back now! I really hope I don’t have to post that that this microwave died in 3 years like our Kenmore did. I will be very upset :(

How do you save on big ticket purchases?

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  1. Did you sign up for Best Buy Reward Zone? If not its free and you’ll earn points towards future purchases. You can even add prior purchases to the account (within a week i think). If you spend over $2500 in a year, they’ll upgrade you to premier silver and there are all kinds of bonuses attached to that.

  2. Can I tell you…I LOVE YOU??? Our Microwave died a couple months ago and we do not have it in our budget for a new one either. This is so very helpful. Right now, we are borrowing our neighbor’s small counter micro which is also taking up room in our small kitchen. How funny for you to post this. I feel like a pioneer cooking and heating everything on the stove or in the oven. LOL!!!

    1. Karie, LOL!!! I was just more stubborn than anything cause I was NOT about to buy a new one right away!!! It was like I was trying to show the microwave industry they weren’t getting anymore of my money since that micro only lasted 3 years! I was bitter :)

      The first few days were tough because I didn’t realize how MUCH I actually needed one. But, once we got that borrowed counter microwave, all was well. And, I had TONS of people ask us why we had two but I didn’t care. I am happy to get the counter space back though. And, my resolve is to keep it de-cluttered too! We’ll see how that goes :)

  3. I thought your story was going to end with you purchasing it at Sears or Lowes & getting it for the sale price + 10% since they match prices, so now I”m just curious … do they not match if it’s not in inventory?? I thought they would simply order it b/c stores like that it may have just not be in stock that day but would be the next … just curious if you know! Since you know EVERYTHING about saving:) Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Mandi, well, I don’t know everything but I try to find savings in everything I do!!

      The Sears Price Match Plus policy doesn’t discuss if they will order something if it’s not already in-stock. My guess is since it’s silent, it’s probably a YMMV for each store. Honestly, since they were so much higher, I didn’t even consider it. If it was such a huge difference, I would have looked into it further. So, that is definitely an option for others considering it too!

      It looks like the Lowe’s Price Matching policy is for cash and carry items only. So, I’m interpreting that as their in-stock merchandise. This, of course, could be in the next or asking when the next shipment comes in could fit into the sale price and allow for honoring the price match. You also have to prove that the product you want is in stock at the store you are requesting they price match. More hoops, but it could be worth it depending upon the value.

      Another option, that I don’t even know if it IS an option but it could be worth it. See if Best Buy would take an additional 10% off the purchase price to account for the price matching to keep your business there. The bottom line is they want the sale and in this economy, our cash can get us the best offer. Since I wasn’t considering going to Sears or Lowe’s, I didn’t bother asking, but it couldn’t hurt to ask!

  4. I also purchase online for both Best Buy and Sears and then pick it up in the store to save on shipping and to get the cash-back.

    We actually had our microwave hood die just before it hit 5 years old, and we were able to get it fixed for free under the warranty, since it was the magnetron that went out with a 5 year warranty. It’s funny…the cost to fix the microwave would have been higher than purchasing a new one if we hadn’t had the warranty!

    1. Corrie, smart, smart!!! We didn’t get that warranty and I kicked myself. But, really we have never had to use a warranty so I didn’t kick myself as hard. Our micro-hood was going to be more expensive to fix than to purchase new too!! After reading the issues with our specific model, it seemed others had the exact same issue that we had but Kenmore didn’t issue a recall. That model is no longer sold either, not that we would have even considered it given the history.

  5. I like the way Dave Ramsey does it.

    1.You save up the cash for your “big” item
    2. You go to the store that has the item you want.
    3. You offer them less than what they are asking, and tell them you want to pay CASH.
    4. If they say they can’t do it, ask to speak to a manager–offer him/her the same thing (CASH!)
    5. Be prepared to walk out and go somewhere else.
    6. Tell them where you are going.
    “Rinse and Repeat”

    Now I said I like this idea , but I’m too chicken to try it!

    I do pay CASH for everything, but I’ve never actually “haggled” before (except for yard sales—and in other countries

    Thanks for the info on I’m going to check them out.

    Also, thanks for all your hard work. :)

    1. Sharon, I love Dave too!!! I do agree with his steps too!!

      As much as I do like a deal, I still have never really haggled. I have gotten price matching at Best Buy, and talked to a manager to get it. But, that was easy to work with on it.

  6. I use Cashbaq, it’s like Ebates basically. I also always wait for coupons such as your 15% off coupon. I try to shop sale items. I very rarely purchase full price items. And I always….always… around online first for price comparisons, I’ll be checkin out next time.

  7. Hi Andrea, I am glad you got your microwave. Iam SURE I could not live without at least one! We hv an over the stove / hood one and a countertop & many times use them both at the same time. I am not finding tobe very helpful in my case. I have a rainchck for a Magnavox 19″ TV/ DVD player that was on sale a few wks ago @ Target. I thought maybe this site would tell me prices for this model, if it’s available @ other stores, but when I search for Mag. TV near Cin’ti OH it only comes up w/ a 32″ model. I wasn’t able to find any other ways to search for this. maybe I am doing something wrong or does this idea / site need some tweaking?

    1. Kathy, the site is very new. I actually found the exact model I wanted at Best Buy and typed in that description exactly into the search site. So, it brought up the results for me that way. You have to be very specific or you will get TONS of results, which is the problem with most of those comparison sites IMO. Maybe try that, and if still yields no results I don’t know :(

      I wonder if those stores will honor your rain check though with their price match plus policy. That’s another good thing to at least try.

  8. Oh the saga of the micro-hood. I will join your “3 year Micro-hood crap out” party. It seemed like the DAY we got the notice saying our warranty was expiring and did we want to pay $200 for a new one… that next week the stupid thing started falling apart. Now granted… our is still functioning but the handle on the door is only attached by one screw and some crazy glue and the number panel is rocking. I am giving it any day now before it completely bites it. Same with our dishwasher. We bought the complete set of Frigidaire and I will never buy from them again. I have not been happy since the day we brought them home… sigh.

    I digress…

    I TOTALLY agree with Dave Ramsey’s philosophy and for most comission based establishments this method WILL WORK! We had to buy a new car, meaning one vehicle got repossessed (don’t even go there) and the other was a lease that ended, so we were down to nothing. We walked into a dealership and told them we had $4000 cash to spend and we were NOT financing ANY portion. The salesman told us he really didn’t have anything that would fit our needs and as we were PULLING out the manager (head sales dude I guess) came RUNNING after us yelling that he had something on the BACK lot. Turns out that they had had a van turned in for trade in that same day. It had not been cleaned, had a few pretty good scratch and a dented bumper but it was NICE. DVD entertainment system, leather interior, 2004 model, power sliding door, rear back-up sensors, sub 100,000 miles, I LOVED it! When they came back with the number it was close to $6000 and I said… “no sir… we have $4000” and he said “$4000 plus tax, title, license, etc…?” (which would have added up to around $5700… “nope.. I have $4000 cash that I can write a check for and the change that is in my wallet and that is IT”… Third round of negotiations came back… $4000 cash it was. We charged my debit card (which it felt really funny buying a car outright from my bank account in a weird “I can’t believe I just did that and OMG I rock” kind of way) and drove it home that night. Later we were able to take it back and have it detailed and finish work done.

    After going home we realized that OUR van still books, in Kelly Blue Book, for $7000-8000 with all of our options, $6500 if it were in rough condition which I think ours is in pretty darn good condition! So we made a profit of roughly $3000 on our van. First time I have ever bought a car and NOT lost money.

    It is entirely possible to live your life on cash and still get a great deal! I used to think I needed to use credit because that was “standard”… not anymore! Now all my friends call me asking if I will go with them to buy a car!!!

  9. What we do is search for clearance appliances. If something has a damaged box they will mark it down. when new models come out or customer returns! We got out over the range microwave for $139, it was orginally $299. The only thing was the box had been damaged! Everytime my husband and I go to Lowes or HomeDepot we hit the clearance sections – you never know what you’ll find!!

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