Stores are always trying to get you to do what they want. But what if you refuse? What if you do what benefits you and not the store? Aside from outright fraud, what are the things that you can do to come out ahead? We’ve put together 10 tips that will help you save money, but probably won’t help the store. That’s why they hate them. And you.
Buying Loss Leaders and Leaving: Loss leaders are products that a company sells below or at cost to lure customers into the store.
Why They Hate It: They do not want you to waltz in, buy up all the loss leaders and leave. Often there are limits to how many of each you can buy, if you see something in the ad that says “limit 3 per customer” you may have found yourself a loss leader. Buy it and get the hell out.
Using Credit and Paying it Off on Time: Sometimes stores will offer a “6 months, no interest, no payments” offer on big ticket items. Pay it off on time, and you’ve used their money for free.
Why They Hate It: These offers are not just to help you buy stuff, it’s to trick you into paying more for the item than if you had paid cash. Some people take the cash they would have used to buy the item and put it in a high yield savings account. Then they buy the item with credit and wait until 5.9 months later to pay it off. They’ve just used someone else’s money for 6 months for free. Ha, ha, ha. These offers are dangerous, however, because if you miss a payment or don’t pay the full balance off on time, you’ll get socked with interest since your date of purchase. The rates are often outrageous, so this tip is only for seriously organized Type-A people.
Saying NO to the Extended Warranty: Stores play on the fact that electronics are a big investment, scaring you into buying an Extended Warranty. Don’t do it.
Why They Hate It: The Extended Warranty is basically just a trick to get you to pay way more for the item than you need to. It’s very, very, very profitable for the retailer. If you don’t believe us, believe Consumer Reports. If you’re worried about not having an extended warranty, purchase your electronics with a credit card that offers extended warranty protection. Lots of them do. Just paying for your crap with a credit card can double your warranty, so tell that sales clerk to get bent.
Activating Your Own Phone With A Cell Phone Company: You can buy a used phone, or an unlocked phone, for full price and avoid signing a contract.
Why They Hate It: Cell phone companies want you to sign a contract. They need you to sign a contract. They burn with desire for you to be under contract with them. Cell phone stores sell 2 year contracts. That’s what they sell. Not phones. So get a phone, then call the cell phone company and activate it. No contract needed. They hate that so much.
Shopping in the Store But Buying Online: Stores are just places where you can look at things you will later purchase for cheaper online. Look at your new laptop. Try it out. Ask questions. Buy online.
Why They Hate It: They’ve paid for a store, the electric bill for the store, the employees to answer your questions, and those nice little plastic bags that they want to put your purchase in. Whoops.
Buying 1 When its 2 for $5: “2 for” deals are bull. You can buy one. You can buy 3. “2 for 5″ or “5 for 10″ means, “Please for the love of Jesus buy this and get it out of the store.” You can pay the unit price. (Laws may vary nationwide)
Why They Hate It: They want you to buy more stuff than you need!
Opening A Store Credit Card To Get A Discount, Then Cutting It Up: This is one from our dear Mommy. Mommy buys a bunch of stuff at once, opens the store credit card for the 20% discount, pays it off and cuts up the card. She did this every year when buying our school clothes. We’re sure they hate her with the force of a 200 mega-ton bomb, but she still saved 20%.
Why They Hate It: Credit card companies make money from interest and fees. No activity on the card, no interest and fees.
Using Websites to Track 30 Day Price Guarantees: Stores have “30 day price guarantees” to make you think they have such low prices that they’re not going to get any lower. They may, but they also know you’re not going to keep shopping for some crap you already bought. Solution: There are websites that will watch your purchase for you and email if it drops in price during the guarantee period.
Why They Hate It: Because they have to give you money. No store ever likes to give you money.
Buying Seasonal Items at Clearance Prices (For Next Year): Seasonal items are a big deal for retailers and once the holiday is gone they need to make room for the next one. Their haste makes waste and you can take advantage of it. Buy now for next year. Another good idea is to buy “seasonal” candy after the season is over. So what if your M&Ms are brown and orange or red and green. Still tastes like awesome.
Why They Hate It: Stores want you to buy their seasonal crap at full price, when its most profitable, not during clearance when they sell it at cost or below.
Buy “Accessories” on Ebay Rather Than Paying Huge Markups: Retailers will often discount a big ticket item only to charge ridiculous prices for “accessories” that they will harass you to the point of madness to try to get you to buy. Expensive connectors, cables, controllers, leather lotion for your stupid coat you just bought, blank media, storage, etc. Buy this crap on eBay or at least research what it really costs at a retailer that is not trying to screw you. Case in point: Cables. Best Buy sells the Monster Ultra Series 8′ HDMI Video Cable for $119.99. On Ebay the most expensive “Buy it Now” price for this cable is $74.95 with $9.95 shipping. For the exact same thing. And that’s for a crazy brand name cable. There are 8′ HDMI cables on eBay for $8.
Why They Hate It: Accessories are very profitable. If you got a good deal on a TV, you probably believe them when they say you “need” to spend hundreds of dollars on cables. —MEGHANN MARCO