Cooking with Alison

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

Part 3 – How to Shop

How to Shop

  1. How to Track Prices
    • There are many different ways to research prices and become notified of sales. I use all of the following methods:
    • Physically shop around in different stores and take notes on the regular and sale prices of your desired product.
    • If you have a preferred store that offers you other rewards, find out if they are willing to price match competitor’s prices.
    • Go to the store’s and the manufacturer’s websites and see if there are benefits to signing up for their emails. This is how you’ll know of upcoming and flash sales. If they offer a coupon for your next purchase, you may want to wait until the day before you make your purchase, since those coupons often have short expiration dates. If you’re shopping online from a store that you don’t usually follow, don’t forget to see if they will exchange coupons for email sign-ups before checking out. These discounts can often be used in combination with sales and have been a nice, surprise discount for me.
    • Look at flyers every single week. I love using the app, Flipp for this. It compiles all of the flyers available within my neighbourhood. I use it to look through my favourite flyers, I simply tap on the items that I’m interested in and it creates a shopping list for me (great for price matching), and, above all, I can search for a particular item and it will let me know which flyers it turns up in (which is perfect for tracking sales on specific products).
    • Look at deals websites every few days to see if there are any deals or coupons for your items or stores of interest. Currently, the best Canadian deals websites are: redflagdeals.com, smartcanucks.ca, and bargainmoose.ca.
    • Use price trackers for your preferred stores and websites. For example, some companies will allow you to set up an account and create a wish list which you can use to quickly spot sales. I use the Hudson’s Bay wish list or gift registry app and have discovered some of the best, unadvertised deals this way. If you like shopping on amazon.ca, use ca.camelcamelcamel.com, which is a free amazon price tracker. If your preferred stores don’t offer such features, then each week, go to their websites and search for your items of interest to see if there are any unadvertised sales.
    • The internet, in general, is fantastic for comparing prices, finding sales, obtaining discount codes, and learning about shipping promotions. Before I make any purchase online, I always do a quick google search to look for coupon codes that might apply. The codes don’t always work, but it’s well worth the effort when they do.
  2. Use the Right Credit Card
    • As mentioned, for department stores, using their specified credit cards can give you additional discounts and rewards points. But I only use the department store credit cards when they will result in a discounted price. The rewards points alone aren’t as valuable as the cash back that I get from my primary credit card.
    • For all other purchases, I like using credit cards that offer at least 1% cash back.
    • When it comes to credit cards, I value cash over any other form of reward.
  3. Purchase Gift Cards
    • Some grocery stores sell gift cards to all sorts of other stores. Since our credit card gives us 2% cash back on all purchases made in grocery stores, we purchase gift cards at the grocery store for other stores that we shop at. This is like getting a 2% discount on the value of the gift card. Furthermore, every now and then, gift certificates will include free, added bonuses. For example, years ago, we used to be able to buy gift certificates for gas that included a free $5 gift certificate to Hudson’s Bay.
  4. Online Shopping
    • More and more companies are offering better prices and sales online than in their stores. So if you see something you like in the store and you’re thinking about purchasing it, take a quick peek on the website to see if you can get a better deal there, first. Smart phones are, obviously, pivotal to this strategy.
    • However, I personally only take advantage of online shopping if 1. shipping is free and 2. I can get a full refund in store. No deal is worth the risk of completely wasting my money and being stuck with something I don’t want or can’t use.
    • If you are looking for very specific items and don’t mind buying them used from private sellers, use websites like kijiji.ca. Great deals can be found, but you have to act quickly on new postings and dealing with the sellers can be a bit frustrating.
  5. Get Cash Back
    • Another incentive to shopping online is provided by companies like Ebates.ca which give you cash back for making online purchases from various companies. Every now and then, Ebates.ca will offer double or even triple cash back events. So before you buy anything online, see if the company is affiliated with Ebates.ca. You’d be surprised by how many big companies they work with, including amazon.ca, Hudson’s Bay, etc. (On a side note, my favourite and most used Ebates.ca affiliate is Sephora.)
  6. Know the Store Policies
    • Knowing a store’s policies can help you save money in several different ways.
    • If the price of an item rings up differently from the advertised price or price tag, some stores will honour the lower price or even give you an item for free. But not all cashiers will know or offer this information without being prompted.
    • Many stores offer seniors discounts and/or student discounts. Most don’t advertise this clearly, so be sure to find out. Also, the age category for “seniors” is different across all stores. Some even start in the 50’s.
    • Some stores will offer you 10 to 15% off items that are scratched or damaged. It’s at the discretion of the manager, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if you find something that’s imperfect but good enough. This applies to some clothing stores, too.
    • Unfortunately, the stores with the best customer loyalty rewards don’t always have the best prices. So ask your preferred store if they would be willing to price match an advertised price from one of their competitors.
    • Also, keep your receipts and ask the store about their policy on price adjustments after purchase in case the price of your item drops shortly after you purchased it.
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