The Finance Corner: My Secret Deals Revealed
A while ago I started a mailing list for my friends to alert them of great deals so they could get in on some of the amazing bargains I find occasionally. Recently, one of the recipients asked me where I find these great deals, and I realized that the answer to that question would probably also interest and benefit some of my tens of readers here. I will say that within me there is a battle going on between the side of me that wants to keep this information secret so I can appear mystical in my ability to find deals and the side of me that wants to help people find good deals. Effectively I am cutting myself out as the middle man and dispelling my mystique for your reading pleasure, I hope you enjoy, you mynocks you.
There are a few sites that I frequent that are solely sites to find deals, and nothing else. The first of which is:
1) Slickdeals – This is pretty much the ultimate deal site. If you take nothing else away from this article, you should at least visit Slickdeals. I visit it several times a day, and leave the page open in my browser all day long. Slickdeals is a deal aggregating site. Slickdeal users will post deals, in every category, that they found and if it is an amazing enough deal, it will be put on the front page of the site. I usually just browse the front page, but occasionally I visit the forums to see deals that haven’t made it to the front page yet. All the deals from any of the other sources I post may end up on Slickdeals if they are considered “good enough”. My only warning for Slickdeals is that once a deal is posted to the main page it is in danger of ending soon. That is because the Slickdeal community is SO ravenous for deals that many times they will buy out the entire stock of items before anyone else has a chance. Now you see why I check it all the time.
2) 1SaleADay – This site makes its money by selling one thing in several different categories at a very steep discount per day. I haven’t found anything worth getting from here personally yet, but they do occasionally offer some items for free with free shipping. In those cases I get whatever they are offering.
3) FatWallet – This is a deal and coupon site, similar to Slickdeals, but doesn’t get the deals quite as fast. Nor does it have the discussions that take place on each deal that Slickdeals has, so you can hear opinions on how good a deal it is. FatWallet is not one of my daily places to check for deals, but it is a place to watch.
4) RetailMeNot – This is the easiest to use and best online coupon code site I have found. If you plan to buy something online from any site, I suggest you check RetailMeNot for a coupon code first. For example, I love Papa Gino’s Pizza and despite my expanding waste-line will order from them on occasion. 90% of the time that I order from them, I am able to find a coupon for $2-4 off my order. It’s not a ton of money, but every little bit helps. The best I have done was three years ago when I was buying a computer from Dell I found a coupon for 25% off the total order. I had already priced out a $3,000 gaming rig and when I found that coupon I turned it into a $4,000 rig that I got for $3,000.
5) Amazon – This site should not be a secret to anyone, but I have been surprised to find there are still people who do not know about Amazon. Amazon used to be just a book site, but has turned into a place where you can buy pretty much anything. I typically find that Amazon has the lowest prices, if you buy more than$25 of goods from Amazon itself you get free shipping, and Amazon does not charge tax (though as I have learned in my tax class, you are still obligated to pay the taxes on the items you order from them). Amazon has gold box deals every day which takes even more off of lots of different types of items. The best part (aside from prices) is that Amazon offers you a place to make your birthday/holiday wishlist so people know what to buy for you. If Amazon does not carry the item, you can even add items from other websites. A bonus tip for Amazon is to consider purchasing the item you are looking for as Used. You can get a good deal on items and sometimes still buy them directly from Amazon (these are known as Amazon Warehouse deals, items returned or sold to Amazon). I buy video games from Amazon and will typically pay $2-6 less by buying the game used, and so long as it works it doesn’t really matter. Lastly, the return policy of Amazon is SO great that I never fear having any issues buying anything from anyone on Amazon, but I do prefer to buy from Amazon itself rather than other sellers on the site.
6) CheapAssGamer – Yes, I am a gamer, but the average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 13 years, so I am still young. Not every reader will share my passion for games, but some of you will. Video games have gotten expensive at $59.99 for new console games and $49.99 for new computer games. If you are willing to be patient, you can save a lot of money buying video games. CheapAssGamer (CAG) is a huge help in that regard. I frequent the “Video Game Deals” and “Contests and Free Stuff” forums looking for deals. Between this site, and the next listed, I have shifted my video game cost target from $20 down to $10. An example of a deal I just got last week: I got Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition for $10. When the game initially came out I borrowed it from a friend, beat it, and returned it. Now that the squeal has come out and the price has dropped significantly it is the right time to pick up the game.
7) GoHastings – A great site to buy used video games, books, and dvds. It is similar to Amazon in its model and focus, but pricing is different. Amazon beats GoHastings for prices of new items, but many times GoHastings will beat Amazon’s prices for used items. Also, unlike Amazon, GoHastings usually has a coupon code you can use with your order for even better deals.
Bonus Tool: I use Firefox as my internet browser. With Firefox, I use a great add-on called “PriceBlink“. When I am one a webpage that has an item for purchase, priceblink will pop up and let me know if I have found the lowest price for the item, what other sites are charging, and what coupons might be available for the item I am look at and/or the site I am on.