This week my mission was to replace our broken TV with a 50″ LED Smart TV and to find the best deal I could possibly get.
Here’s how I saved money buying an LED TV. I want to warn you that the list below may sound daunting but believe me that 80% of this work is right at the comfort of my bed using my little iPhone!
1. Knowing What I Need to Buy. The quest to knowing the specs, size, refresh rate, model, etc. of what I need to buy is important. Knowing as much as I can about the product helps me eliminate wrong purchases and unwanted returns.
2. Time is my friend. I don’t buy in a rush. I go back and forth online between Target, Amazon, Sears, WalMart and eBay for at least a week waiting for the right sale, finding the best deal on electronics and comparing the price differences. This gives me an idea how much I need to budget for the TV.
3. I Used a Coupon. After window shopping for at least a week, it was eBay that suddenly gave away coupons to their shoppers. I received a per-invite discount of 10% on any $50 and above products. So I quickly compared the savings I will get against my Target Red Card 5% savings, Target Cartwheel, Amazon Prime membership, Fourth of July Deals at Sears, and Refurbished Items at Walmart. It turned out that this time eBay offered the best coupon.
4. I Purchased a Refurbished TV Online. Yes, I sometimes purchase refurbished and I also buy refurbished items on Ebay. Could be scary, right? But I don’t usually buy refurbished in haste (as mentioned in #2). I do check and research a lot about the product and seller before buying a refurbished item. Not to mention that buying online saves me time, money and gas!
These are some of the 7 obvious things I consider before purchasing a “refurb” from Ebay.
- I check the exact condition of the refurbished TV and know what accessories come with it or not. I won’t buy a high ticket refurbished item unless it is good as new. Scratches on the side, back, floor samples or simply an open box are acceptable to me. The refurb items I get are usually just floor samples or items that were broken but were fixed or replaced already by the manufacturer and as good as new with no visible signs of wear and tear.
- The item has to be re-certified by the manufacturer and sold only by an authorized dealer. I don’t buy from just anyone on eBay. The item has to be sold by an authorized dealer backed by the manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee that they will fix the item in case I get a lemon.
- I tend to move more towards eBay Power sellers who have already sold thousands of items on Ebay and have at least 97% positive reviews.
- I call the Manufacturer directly to confirm that the seller I am buying from is really one of their authorized dealers or re-sellers. I check with the manufacturer if they will really honor the warranty of the eBay seller before I make any purchases. Sometimes you can find this out by giving them the eBay seller name to the manufacturer or providing the manufacturer the serial number of the item.
- I email the seller for a quick question to check on the level of their customer service. If the seller doesn’t clearly answer my questions, doesn’t reply back within a reasonable time or doesn’t offer any “confidence” about their items, I don’t buy from them. Period.
- I check that the item is backed up by Ebay’s Money Back Guarantee and that the seller accepts returns.
- I check if the dollar-savings or the cash difference between the new and refurbished item is worth it. Or else, I don’t hesitate purchasing a new one with all these trouble.
5. I Buy Extended Warranties for Refurbished Items. Some people may agree, disagree or agree to disagree about buying extended warranties for electronics or high-ticket items but I personally prefer buying them. In this case, I bought my extended warranty from SquareTrade, which based from my experience and research is much cheaper than buying straight from the retailers or manufacturers.
With all these tricks, I calculated and saved almost $500 for my replacement TV compared to buying a brand new one. That’s a huge savings!