Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This week’s Money $aving Stories

I have enjoyed reading Single Guy Money's blogging series describing the ways he has saved money over the past week. In fact, I like the concept so much I decided to write a post this week about a couple of recent purchases.

To start the weekend, I stopped into the local take n’ bake pizza place with a coupon (mailer) for a free medium pizza. I upgraded to a large size for a dollar. I got four meals out of that one pizza. Not bad! Tasty 25c meals are hard to beat.

Now for the bigger purchase. Tires. Tires can be a major expense. I checked my MS money history and found that it ranks as one of my most costliest one time expenses. Of course, tires usually last a few years, so to be fair the price should be pro-rated.

Anyway, it’s a chunk of cash to layout at one time. To start the ball rolling, I did some internet research to find tires with the best tread wear, traction, temperature and good reviews. Then called my local tire store for a price. I mentioned another internet store’s price that was slightly lower and asked for a discount. The clerk shaved $14 off each tire and gave me a price of $581.77 to get out the door with my preferred tires. I noted this information and the clerks name on a print-out describing the tire.

I was surprised by the amount of markdown and how readily he offered a discount.

The next day I headed to the tire store. I showed the clerk the print-out of the tire I had chosen. He asked about the $581.77 scribbled on the page. Surprisingly, the tire was not in stock – perhaps it sold out in the past day? I had noticed on their website that it was low in stock.

He suggested an alternative. I pointed out that the ratings were similar but the alternative tire was higher priced. Of course, he countered that it was a better tire. He then offered to order my preferred tires or give me these “better” tires that were already in stock for the $581.77 price - which was quite a discount from the stated price of $690.02.

Evidently, moving stock out of their store is a pretty important factor. He was willing to sell a more expensive set of tires for $108 less than sticker to avoid shipping another set.

Most internet tire sites will provide general information on stock quantities at your selected location. It makes sense that the store would want to move inventory, so once you find out a tire is out of stock or low in stock – ask for that tire to be ordered. The clerk just may offer you a better deal on an in-stock tire!

Below is a summary of some tips to help save money on big ticket items.
  • Research the item before going to the store (get a grasp on prices)
  • Call or e-mail the store (they will bargain more on the phone to entice you into the store)
  • Ask for a discount (don’t be shy, they can only say “no”)
  • Get a price quote and a clerks name (write it down and take it with you)
  • Leverage low stock inventories to your advantage (they want to move inventory and don’t want you to leave without buying)

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