Tuesday, February 6, 2007

FEBRUARY 6, 2007

According to website Consumerist.com... here are 10 tips that will help you save money, but probably won't help the store. That's why they hate them.

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 leave the store.

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. 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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

Buying 1 When its 2 for $5: "2 for" deals are not always deals. You can buy one. You can buy 3. "2 for 5" or "5 for 10" means, "We want you to buy more!". 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: Buy a bunch of stuff at once, opens the store credit card for the 20% discount, pay it off and cut up the card.

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 something you've 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.

Why They Hate It: Stores want you to buy their seasonal items at full price, when it's 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 stuff on eBay or at least research what it really costs at a retailer that is not trying to overcharge 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.

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.

Now we know what happened to the Super Bowl marriage proposal ad... CBS decided NOT to run the commercial. . . even though the potential groom put up the $2.6 MILLION.

J.P. says, quote, "My girlfriend and I watched with my family and some family friends at their house. During the game, CBS called several times to say that they might air it, maybe during the game, maybe after the game.

"The rollercoaster kept my nerves on a high wire, but by the third quarter, we knew it wouldn't be shown." His theory: The commercial wasn't shot professionally. . . so they didn't air it.

So, J.P. revised his strategy, and the air will run tonight during the CW's airing of "Veronica Mars". . . his girlfriend's favorite show.

J.P. bought a regional ad, that will only run in the Bay Area. . . and cost him $1,000. . . 0.038%, or one-two thousand, six-hundredth. . . of what the Super Bowl ad would've cost.

This one's for everyone whose Valentine's Day plans are looking like dinner for one, dessert for one, and wine for twelve. You may want to try online dating.

A new survey by the global market research firm Synovate finds that not that many people do online dating. . . but for the people who do, it works pretty well.

Only 15% of Americans have gone to the Internet to meet someone. . . but of that group, more than two out of five say they met their spouse or current significant other that way.

Of the single people who haven't tried online dating, their main reasons are: 33% say they avoid it because it could be DANGEROUS. . . 33% say only desperate people use it. . . and 22% say they don't think the Internet should be used to find a romantic partner.

More than three million people have paid memberships to online dating sites at any given time. On average, they're spending more than $200 a year, each.

Just like a cell phone and jumper cables, every woman should carry an emergency $20. It's not to spend at the mall, or anywhere else, but to be used only in case of emergency. Let's say you're out to lunch and get stuck with the bill ... Or you need to leave an awful party in a jiffy, but your ride doesn't want to go (hello taxi!). Predicaments DO happen. But if you've got an emergency $20 -- you just might be able to pay your way out of it. Maybe you ought to make it an emergency $100!