How to Get the Best Deals

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We recently needed to buy a new garbage disposal.  The process we used to get the best product for the best price can be applied to all sorts of purchases.

Save Money With the Right Reaction

Many years ago I remember hearing a negotiation expert talk about one simple technique that’s virtually guaranteed to save you money.  He called it “the flinch.”  When buying anything from a salesperson, right after he or she mentions the price, your job is to look very surprised.

With the first plumber we talked to, this was easy.  My wife and I were genuinely shocked when he told us he would charge $300 for installation.  That’s on top of the $150 he estimated a new disposal would cost.  That seemed outrageous, so the look of surprise on our faces came very naturally.

After telling him we’d think it over, he left but then called back within 30 minutes to say he could do the job for $200.  That’s the flinch in action.  Look surprised at the price, save $100.  I told him we’d think about that price as well.

Save Money By Shopping Around

My next step was to call another plumber we’ve worked with before.  He quoted an installation price of $150.  The couple of minutes it took to make a phone called cut the price by another $50.

Before going any further, I wanted to check on the disposal brands recommended by both plumbers.

Make Sure You’re Getting the Best Product

I don’t like recurring fees, so we don’t subscribe to very many publications.  But one subscription I believe is well worth the money is our online subscription to Consumer Reports.  I trust their recommendations and was pleased to see that they had a list of recommended garbage disposals.  After reviewing what they had to say, I decided to go with a disposal other than the one recommended by both plumbers.

Now, where to get the best price?

Save Money By Shopping Around Again

I assumed Amazon would have the best deal, so that’s where I looked first, but its $240.00 price seemed high.  So, I clicked over to PriceGrabber.com, entered the brand and model, and was happy to find it offered for $170.00 at a local retailer that would not only deliver it for free but would also install it for $130.

We spent $20 more for a better disposal, but then got the $20 right back on the cost of installation.

Save Money by Looking for a Rebate

My next step was to visit ebates.com, a site that gives rebates on all sorts of products and services.  I happily discovered that the local retailer was on ebates’ list.  By entering the retailer’s site through ebates, we earned a 2 percent rebate.  That only amounts to a few bucks, but it only took a few seconds.  It doesn’t cost anything to sign up for ebates, and we get about $100 in rebates each year by using the site.

See If Any Other Discounts Are Available

Our last step was to search for a coupon code using the name of the retailer and “coupon codes” as the keywords.  Sometimes you can get one more discount this way, but not this time.  Still, through a few relatively simple steps, we got a well-rated disposal with a strong warranty and paid a little less than $300 for a job that was initially quoted at $450.

Which of these money-saving tactics do you use on a regular basis, and which other ones do you recommend?  Leave a comment below.

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Categories: Smart Spending

5 Responses to “How to Get the Best Deals”

  1. Vicki says:

    Matt,

    I love reading your tips and hints for saving money or spending it wisely.

    Although I thought most of this article was of good value, I think the “flinch in action” is unbiblical. Fortunately for you the reaction was real and not faked but I think recommending this reaction is promoting falsehood. I, as your reader have thus far trusted your input, by introducing falsehood, you cause the reader to mistrust other information as well. Don’t think that is your objective. Hope you receive my rebuke in the heart in which it is intended. See you on FaceBook,
    Vicki

  2. Matt Bell says:

    Vicki – Thanks for writing. I probably could have described the flinch in a better way. I wasn’t suggesting that you fake a show of shock anytime a salesperson gives you a price (although the negotiation expert may have been suggesting that). I was just suggesting that you don’t blindly accept every price presented to you. What I’ve found is that lots of things are negotiable and something as simple as expressing displeasure or surprise at a price may lead to a better deal. As long as relationships aren’t being hurt, I’d say asking for a better price, whether overtly or through your reaction, is good stewardship.

  3. Tom says:

    I would add looking on eBay. Look for a “Top Rated Sellers,” with 100% feedback score or close (in the 99._% range). Read their feedback and history, and be sure to read the description carefully. I always look for “New.” Pay careful attention to the item’s condition. Sometimes “New” can be brand new, or new with minor defects.

    You can find some exceptional deals on eBay, but you have to read carefully. eBay & Paypal (eBay’s preferred form of payment) also offer Buyer Protection. If there’s a problem, in most cases eBay will side with the buyer.

    I’ve bought many items on eBay. I have to also share that I’m one of those “Top Rated Sellers.”

  4. Matt Bell says:

    That’s a good reminder, Tom. We have bought a lot through ebay in the past, but not recently. We need to get back in the habit of checking their prices.

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