Recipe for saving up for a big purchase at Best Buy

I recently fell into the “Mac side” and now I confidently walk into an Apple store and not feel like an outsider NO MORE!!!

It has been bliss so far…

Yet, making that financial leap on any big ticket item not only takes a little saving-up, time and patience but also a good savvy-sense on how the retail world  works. That said, it is always good to watch for those predictable sales cycles and events (ie. holiday boxing day, long weekends events, father’s day, pet day, the post-holiday blues of late January/February, etc.) and to combine these with any in-store special initiatives such as trade-in or up/recycle your old equipment etc. Those timely pieces along with my recent tactics below round out how I got my 15″ MacBook Pro – 2.2GHz Core i7 processor for $750 bucks off the retail price.

1. Retail Store Memberships

I signed up for the Best Buy Reward Zone (RZ) points and started charging my everyday purchases (ie. car insurance, furniture, travel, food, clothes, EVERYTHING) within a year before the big purchase.  The reason that it has to be within a year is because the generated Reward certificates expire after 6 months of when they were issued (sucks but oh well).

2. Credit Card Reward Plans

If you change credits as often as I do, go for the Chase Best Buy Reward ZoneVisa Credit Card. You get double the RZ points with no annual fee. Plus their credit fraud security monitoring service is top notch (they watch all your purchases and call you if something looks off…like constantly).

3. Collecting and saving gift cards

Do you have family that loves giving you gift cards? Try to graciously ask for Best Buy gift cards for all occasions without sounding overly shrewd. As well, when you trade in your old gear at Best Buy, sometimes they will give you store gift cards. I traded in my old mobile phone and I tried to look for old laptops, tv’s, DVD movies, and games.

4. Avoid paying full price

I am always reminded by my worldly accounting friends Mary and Damian that you should never ever, ever, EVER, pay for anything full price. There will always be sales and then the inevitable bargain basement sales, and then you can should always “ask” (bargain, persuade, pout, beg, etc.) to take an additional percentage off (don’t be bedazzled by the free cheaply made side bag or useless travel clock). You also have to be fast, and usually shop early as other people will be doing the same thing. I have yet to master that Jedi trick and in the end, the extra discount doesn’t really make a dent in “the man’s” wallet.

5. Open-box items

Finally, the tactic that put me over the $500 dollars savings mark, is the luck of coming into the store on the day where there happened to be open-box item available (if you know someone in the inside, get cozy with them as they can immediately call you when one comes in). People can shop impulsively and these days consumers expect that if they buy something and are not satisfied with it, they can easily return it for a refund (no major questions asked , especially at big box stores). And, it does happen a lot – brand new merchandise that have been barely used returned within 15 days. A colleague of mine recently picked up an open-box 27-inch iMac for $200 bucks off because the previous buyer brought it home and realized that it was “too big”.

Seriously?!? Have you heard of measuring tape? I shouldn’t heckle, it happens…

And in my case, a little unnoticeable scratch here and a nick that would inevitably-be-caused-by-me-anyways there, is no reason to ignore the substantial savings. Best Buy’s Geek Squad would have checked it over for any deficiencies and plus you do have the standard 1-year manufacturing warranty that comes with it. And of course, spend the time in the store to review the merchandise. Inquire why it was returned, give it a test it out and you will see that the new computer smell is still there. Don’t worry about the sales person, they will patiently take their time to show you that the product is still new while mentally preparing to deliver their “PRP” speech.

Got any more tips? Feel free to share them here.

Thoughts?