A testimony from A. Ellis
My husband and I wanted to purchase a new LED television to replace a very old, very tiny 19” television in our bedroom, but decided it was definitely a “luxury” expense that would wait until we had saved up to pay in cash. In the meantime, we window-shopped the electronics stores and settled on the approximate type we hoped to purchase.
My high-school daughter also needed a laptop (we homeschool) so I needed enough to cover that (first priority) and the television (second).
How We Did It
I started shopping eBay and Craigslist for gift cards to the large electronics store where we planned to purchase the television. At the time, Bing  was giving an extra 8% rebate for eBay purchases. Each time I found a gift card that would net me at least 15% off face value including all rebates, plus fees and postage, etc., I would purchase it using eBay rebate points (2%), Mr. Rebates  (3%) and the Bing  cashback program (8%). Example: I bought a $500 gift card for $475 ($25 off) + rebates (another $61.75 off) = $388.25 for a $500 gift card.
Once I had enough for the laptop, I waited a couple weeks for a sale on an appropriate model, and bought the loss-leader on the front page of the ad. Cost: Less than $250 (before tax) for a $589 laptop computer.
It took about eight months of being in the “right place at the right time”, but I finally accumulated about $2000 total in gift card value (for which I paid a total of less than $1485 after all rebates were factored in). We then waited until we received a coupon for a “free $50 gift card with purchase over $500” and started shopping for the TV.
Two weeks later, almost every LED TV in the store was featured in some type of “package deal” in which extra merchandise was included in the sale price of the TV. We settled on a LG 47” 1080i HD 120Hz LED television which was packaged with a LG Home Theater system including blu-ray player and five speakers, and an internet connection thumb drive, all for $1399 (regular price of TV alone $1699).
The gift cards I had saved up and purchased over time at a discount covered the price plus tax, and we had enough left over to buy my son a video game he had been wanting with a “10% off one full-price item” coupon (they wouldn’t allow use of this coupon on already sale-priced item, I tried!) and we also received the extra $50 gift card for a future purchase.
Total cost (with 8.1% tax): $1128 for a complete home theater system with a sale price of $1512.32 including tax (and original retail of well over $2000)
A. Ellis, B.S., M.Ed. is a mom of 5, one married, two high school, two 3rd grade and lives in Arizona.
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