Cooking with Alison

How to Get the Best Deals on Kitchen Stuff (and Everything Else) – Part 2 of 3

In Mind Your Cents on April 18, 2016 at pm

How to Get the Best Deals on Kitchen Stuff

As long as you’re patient (and I mean really patient) and vigilant, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on small appliances, dishes, and kitchen gadgets (and everything else, really). I’ve broken down this article into what has worked for me based on three main strategies: 1. When to shop, 2. Where to shop, and 3. How to shop. See here for Part 1 and here for Part 3.

Part 2 – Where to Shop

Where to Shop

  1. Warehouse Sales
    • Early spring (e.g. April) is usually when all of the warehouse sales begin. Most of my favourite warehouse sales are semi-annual, so every few months, do a google search for upcoming warehouse sales in your area.
    • Samtack holds at least two warehouse sales each year throughout the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). We’ve had the most luck at their Markham location. It is my favourite place to shop for new or refurbished small appliances, unique items, and all sorts of other random stuff. This warehouse sale has the most variety. For instance, they usually carry electronics, furniture, tools, toys, bed sheets, cooking utensils, dish sets, socks, skin care, toiletries, foreign snacks, etc., etc. One year I saw an automatic shuffling card table for sale. Be sure to check out their door crashers as advertised in the flyer, as those tend to be the best deals. Our favourite purchases from Samtack over the past few years have included: Dyson vacuum cleaners (lowest prices I’ve ever seen advertised), dining set for 4 ($360), Cuisinart electric kettles (at half price), made in Korea stackable foam stools (not an amazing deal, but very unique, environmentally friendly, and perfect for our needs), link-to-cell telephone set, Elho herb pot ($3), popcorn maker (<$10), Paderno ice cream scoop ($4), Paderno enamel cast iron frying pan ($4, yes, that’s right, four dollars!), Henckels scissors ($14), and more. Read up on their warranty policies before purchasing refurbished items. Personally, we haven’t had any problems with their refurbished electronics, vacuum cleaners, or small appliances.
    • Kitchen Stuff Plus also holds regular warehouse sales. They have a large selection of small appliances, cooking gadgets, bake ware, serve ware, and home decor. This is the only warehouse sale that I’ve ever been to that had a section dedicated to selling damaged goods (they call it scratch and dent). So I would say that Kitchen Stuff Plus warehouse sales are a good option if you’re looking for small items, single items, or if you’re moving into a new home and need to purchase a lot of every day kitchen stuff cheaply. I’ve only been twice and although I don’t intend to return, I love the Henckels knife sharpener and the rectangular serving plates that I purchased from there. I couldn’t believe how low the prices were. Just be sure to check your items carefully before purchasing them, because I noticed that a lot of their inventory was scratched, chipped, or damaged.
    • William Ashley has the largest kitchen-related warehouse sale that I’ve ever been to. I was very surprised by the variety of products that would fit any budget. Their store fronts are very expensive, but their warehouse sales include a huge selection of brands and products that they don’t carry in their stores. That means that you will find a good price range from $1 to >$100 items. They also sell bed and bath items, board games, kids toys, home decor, holiday decorations, food, and gardening stuff, etc.. If you’re looking for fine China, the warehouse sale has great prices on discontinued styles. But do your research beforehand, because the warehouse prices for some of their dish sets were no cheaper than the department store or outlet prices. I went specifically looking for Villeroy and Boch dishes from the Artesano line, and luckily, having done a lot of research, I knew that I could get better deals elsewhere. I did, however, purchase a vinOair wine aerator. I had been looking for that specific aerator for a while and thought that I would have to resort to online shopping. The William Ashley sale saved me the shipping charge plus a few dollars.
    • All of the warehouse sales that I’ve listed are run by companies that carry different brand names. Some brands have their own warehouse sales. So if you love a specific brand, or if you’re looking for a particular item, do a google search to see if your preferred company is holding a warehouse sale in your area. For example, Zwilling J.A. Henckels has an annual warehouse sale in Markham.
  2. Outlets
    • This is a great option if your favourite stores or brands have outlet stores. Don’t forget about the department store outlets that carry kitchen stuff too, like Off Saks 5th, Nordstrom Rack, and Sears.
    • Williams Sonoma has my favourite kitchen-related outlet stores. Unfortunately, I have to travel to the USA in order to shop there. Years ago, I found the best deals at the Williams Sonoma outlet in Las Vegas. For example, I purchased bamboo drawer organizers/utensil holders for only $4 each! I’m still using and loving them!
    • If you can, wait for sales. Also, don’t forget to go to the customer service desk at the outlet mall to see if their coupon packages include coupons for your preferred stores. Signing up with your email online will often earn you a free coupon package.
  3. Department Stores
    • Hudson’s Bay is currently my favourite store. A few years ago, they completely revamped the business. If you don’t believe me, walk through their flagship store on Queen Street in Toronto. Most of my recent purchases have been from The Bay and the discounts have been jaw dropping. This may come as a surprise to you, because the regular prices at department stores tend to be over inflated. However, I’ve recently discovered that they have frequent and significant sales (including 1-day only sales), plus wonderful discounts and rewards programs for their loyal customers.
    • If you stack the sales, coupons, and benefits properly (timing and luck play a factor too), you will get unbeatable prices. Here are some examples of how I’ve been able to maximize the sales at The Bay:
      • In order to be informed of their advertised sales, we signed up for the emails and paid special attention to the one-day only sales, which are by far their best deals. We also looked at their flyers weekly, which showcase much more information than the emails. Of most importance is their wish list or gift registry app where you can track the prices of your selected items and discover unadvertised sales.
      • We opened up a gift registry at The Bay for our wedding and were able to get an additional 10% off almost all regular, sale, and clearance home-related items. This discount is applied on top of all other coupons and promotions. Ten percent doesn’t sound like much, but it really adds up. This offer doesn’t expire until one year after your wedding date. The only annoyance is having to ask the cashier to add the item to your registry prior to your purchase and having to bring online purchases to the store in order to get the price adjustment.
      • We signed up for the Hudson’s Bay rewards card and the Hudson’s Bay mastercard. This allowed us to obtain additional 10 to 20% discounts on promotional weekends and to collect double the points on all purchases. At the very least, you earn 1 point for each dollar spent and you can redeem 2000 points for $10 (see details here).
      • We also linked our Hudson’s Bay rewards account to our Petro-Canada’s Petro-Points account, to earn 20% more in points with each purchase.
      • I participate in online surveys from AskingCanadians to get Hudson’s Bay rewards points.
      • We became a VIP rewards member (see details here) when we purchased a couch (it was on sale at 50% off plus an additional 10% off using our Hudson’s Bay mastercard). This allowed us to get 4 times the rewards points and, best of all, access to all sorts of exclusive coupons and discounts throughout the year. Those coupons and discounts could always be used on top of sale and clearance prices. The only downfall is that you can’t use more than one coupon code per transaction. Luckily, sales and gift registry discounts don’t count as coupons. Note that non-VIP members also receive coupons, but the deals aren’t as good.
      • Here are just some examples of the deals that I’ve had: 1. Epicurean cutting boards and Staub enamel cast iron dutch ovens were on sale for 40% off; I used a VIP discount code for an additional 25% off; and I used our gift registry discount for an additional 10%. 2. I’ve purchased many dishes and serving ware from the Villeroy and Boch, Artesano line, by waiting for 40% off sales and combining that with the gift registry discount as well as either an additional 20% off promotion for Hudson’s Bay mastercard owners, or VIP coupons for $20 off a $50 purchase. 3. I’ve had great luck with flash sales from The Bay, too. For example, I purchased a Henckels set of 2 non-stick pans for $50 (they’re the best non-stick pans I’ve ever used) and a Nespresso machine at 50% off. Keep in mind that all of these purchases were from the current line (not seconds, not outlet productions, not old or discontinued styles). All the while, I was collecting points towards free money.
    • We’ve also started shopping Hudson’s Bay online through Ebates.ca to get cash back on our purchases. (See below for more information about Ebates.) Most recently, I helped my sister purchase a Wolf counter top convection oven. The regular price is $700. When it went on sale for 25% off, I used a VIP discount code for an additional 25% off, used my gift registry discount to get another 10% off, and purchased it online through Ebates.ca to get 5% cash back.
    • If you’re shopping in the USA, be sure to check out the department store, Century 21. Century 21 is a bigger and better version of Winners, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls.
  4. Costco
    • Costco is another one of my favourite stores and it’s much better store than its competitor, Sams Club. If you’re already a member, then I don’t have to tell you about how competitive their prices are and how much variety they have in their inventory. They also have an incredible return policy, so you can try anything risk free.
    • In order to get the best deals at Costco, you have to learn about the pricing codes. You see, not all sales are advertised at Costco, so you need to look at the last two digits of the price. For example, if the price of an item ends in .97, that means that the price has been discounted (sometimes the discount is minimal, but other times it’s significant). If the price tag has an * in the upper right hand corner, that means that the item has been discontinued. When seen in combination, it usually means that it’s a good deal. Prices that end in .49, .79, or .89 are often manufacturer’s discounts, but aren’t usually as good of a deal as prices ending in .97. Less commonly seen are prices ending in .00 or .88 which indicate manager markdowns intended to clear the products quickly. See here for more details.
    • Some of the best deals that I’ve had from Costco: 1. We purchased our Vitamix blender from Costco at the lowest price that it had ever been sold at within Canada. This was also right before the Canadian prices of all Vitamix products were raised to account for the low dollar. 2. Years ago, I purchased my KitchenAid professional stand mixer on sale from Costco. It was the lowest advertised price that I have ever seen for comparable models. 3. Costco is also where I recently found the perfect stainless steel colander. I had been looking for one for years, and I finally found it at Costco, at a discontinued/reduced price, too.
    • Costco changes their products regularly and every location carries slightly different stock. So it pays to go to different locations every now and then to take advantage of the store specific price reductions, especially those linked to discontinued products. I once purchased giant bags of Hershey’s chocolate chips for only $7 each, because they were being discontinued at my local Costco. To this day, I see them at other locations selling for the regular price.
  5. Store Closing Sales
    • Keep your eyes open for store closing sales, because this is where you can usually get the best deals, especially closer to the closing date. However, there are usually slim pickings by that time. A few years ago, we purchased beautiful, large noodle bowls for $4 each from a Benix closing sale. We regret not buying more of them.
    • The best opportunities come when department stores close. For example, when Sears was closing their Markville Mall location, I got ridiculous deals on all sorts of products, including a Lagostina frying pan. They had one-day only flash sales, they offered additional 10 to 20% discounts for paying with a Sears credit card, and they were giving out $10 coupons (with no minimum purchase) with each transaction! I was practically getting merchandise for free.
  6. Garage Sales and Contents/Estate Sales 
    • Garage sales, contents sales, and estate sales require a lot of patience, work, and luck. Although most trips are unsuccessful, they really are worth the effort when you find that perfect item and deal. One person’s trash is truly another person’s treasure. If you want the best selection, go earlier than the listed start time; if you want the best deals, go when the sale’s about to end. These are also great places to practice your negotiation skills.
    • From my experience, the best garage sales are the ones that are organized by churches. This is where you will find all sorts of antique items that are often under priced. I’ve collected a 100 year old tin cup, vintage ice cream scoop, and vintage bottle opener, all for $1 each.
    • Often times, you will find items that are still brand new in their boxes. Keep in mind that a lot of the old tools and cookware are much better quality than our modern versions. For example, garage sales and estate sales are the best places to find old cast iron pans, stainless steel baking pans, glass mixing bowls and baking dishes, fine China, dish sets, serving ware, flatware, and high quality knives, etc.
    • The best deal that I ever have and ever will find was at a church garage sale. I purchased a brand new in box, Atlas pasta maker (made in Italy) for $5 (yes, five!).
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