I need a new washer/dryer!

I’ve selected the washer/dryer pair listed in my catalog based on a target $800 budget and Consumer Reports recommendations. While there were other washers or dryers that scored as well or better, I tried to choose a matching pair that offered high scores for each appliance. As always, I greatly appreciate anyone that selects me as their Personal Shopper; it takes only a minute of your time and I earn commissions for life when you shop at any of the Sears brands. Thank you!

The regular price on each appliance is $897.99. They are currently on sale for $500 each! That’s a whopping 45% off without any work. Because of their special pricing, I haven’t been able to get any coupons to work over the last few days – consider it a blessing in disguise: you’re not missing anything.

You may choose to purchase with a credit card that offers extended warranties or price match protection; that is your decision to make. If you’re just looking for the best price, follow the tried-and-true steps below. Note that there are usually bonuses through syweverywhere and better payouts at many of the portals, but the sale price on these appliances may not last longer. Your gamble!

  1. Buy a discounted Sears (or Kmart) gift card. Navigate to cashbackmonitor.com and search for Raise. I don’t see any major payouts right now, so choose what you like or go to syweverywhere.com and search for Raise to get 3% back. At Raise, select a $1000 value Sears gift card for 6-7% off. Quick way to save over $50, right? You will earn 3% on the ~$950 gift card, or around $30. It can take a couple days to post, but you’ll earn more on that washer/dryer. Later, you can redeem those for an accessory or, if nothing else, consumables at Kmart.
    1. Should you opt for one of the other cash back portals, I kindly ask that you use my referral link so we both get a $~10 bonus!
    2. New to Raise? Join with my link to get a free $5 discount.
  2. Navigate to Sears.com through the portal of your choice. Just as with the link above, pick a portal with a payout you like. British Airways is offering a whopping 12pts/dollar; while availability can be limited, you can book American Airlines one way flights with miles for 12,500 pts, so this one purchase is about enough for that award. Else, you can use miles for (expensive) hotel bookings – I’ve done it, but it isn’t a great value. However, at this payout maybe it is worth considering.
  3. Add the appliances to your cart and check out with your gift card. You’re just shopping as normal at this point!

For a quick tally…

  • Original Price: $900
  • Sale Price: $500
  • Gift Card Discount: 6% ($60 total)
  • Gift Card Portal Award: 3% ($28 total)
  • Gift Card Redemption Portal Award: 12 pts/dollar or 2% – either 12,000 pts or $20. I know what I’d choose!

Final savings: $1800 – $400 – $400 – $60 – $28 = $912 plus a one way flight or $20 with potentially a $5 Raise bonus and/or $10 from BeFrugal.

Please contact me with your questions. I use this formula over and over and over again on nearly every purchase I make – check in weekly for updated promotions and bonuses!

Max Performing: The $20,000 Kitchen Upgrade

This “series” (as I don’t have the mental capacity to write it all in one post) is like the Olympics of couponing. What began seven years ago as a way to save a couple bucks on tires when I was (ironically) $20,000 in credit card debt now becomes an attempt to get about $4,000 worth of goodies for free after spending around $13,000 on the wanted luxury kitchen appliances, plus $3,500 worth of airfare just for fun. Don’t try this at home. Oh, and I apologize for the super short post but tomorrow is tax-filing day and I’m behind on the paperwork…

 

Part I – Introduction, Outline and Numbers

Introduction

A brave friend of mine has trusted me to figure this one out and I don’t take that lightly! I was provided with the new kitchen’s floorplan and set to figuring out what appliances would fit in each space. I was stunned with the 48″ slot for the range. A four foot stove? What could that be? I plugged in the allocated model number and it turns out it’s an $8,000 (on the low end!) professional range. Holy cow. At this point, I realized we had a big project to work out.

The Big Picture

My intent is to get as much as possible for free in addition to the $13,000 worth of kitchen appliances (that’s their sale price!) For fun, we’ll also accumulate $3,500 worth of airfare. My goal is to get a ‘free’ washer and dryer out of the gig. (What’s with the quotes? I’ll be shuffling around Sears Shop Your Way Rewards credits in doing my math, so please be patient and it’ll all come together.)

Three Part Process

This is a significant undertaking, so I have broken it into three parts:

Part I is the introduction, where I will also tally the numbers.

Part II is achieving loyalty status.

Part III is max performing loyalty status.

Each part will be broken into day by day steps to make this manageable for me, the author, and for you, the reader. Check back often for updates. Without further ado…

Part II – Achieving Loyalty Status

Day By Day Steps

Day One: Aquire Discounted Gift Cards for Washer + Dryer

Day Two: Purchase Dryer

Day Three: Purchase Washer

Day Four: Complete Shop Your Way Platinum Requirements

How I Made $69 in Less Time Than it Took to Write This Post

The world of e-commerce is vast. All you have to do is find an item here and there that is on sale. Hopefully, you can make that sale even better by earning (or redeeming) some form of store loyalty credit, adding a great portal bonus, and paying with a discounted gift card. Please the Rules of Engagement if you aren’t clear on that process. What does this have to do with your wedding? Not a whole lot, unless you, like everyone else on the planet, could use a couple extra bucks, have a father or other men in your life that will be gift recipients, or you opened credit cards to get a free honeymoon and need to meet the spend minimum.

Here is today’s example of making $69 in a matter of minutes (even if it took an hour, isn’t that pretty good?):

Sears is selling an impact wrench (I don’t even know what that is) for 50% off. I’ve added it to my Best Deals catalog. (Hint hint: you should really add me as your personal shopper so you don’t miss out on these offers…there are other great products in that catalog that you can make some money on, too!) Add in tax and my total was $132.80.

wrench

Turns out Amazon sells this product for just under the normal retail – $237.49. It is ranked around the 250,000 mark in Home Improvement, which is good enough for me. The fees look to be around 15%, but for the sake of argument…I’ll call it $40 if I sell the item for $200. I should be able to sell it for $225 and the fees will be less than that, but let’s stick with easy numbers and plenty of margin.

A quick scan through the Sears Deals Center shows a nice $10 back in Shop Your Way Rewards on $100 in tools. Free points!

Ebates is offering 6% cashback (and you should totally be using Ebates and referring people to it while they’re offering a $50 bonus! Yes, that last link helps sort out the details.) Fantastic. 6% on $125 is $7.50. Don’t calculate on tax.

Icing on the cake here…I have a small stash of Sears gift cards that I received in exchange for Discover cash back. $20 worth of Discover cash gets me $25 worth of Sears credit – so $80 worth of Discover cash gets me $100 worth of Sears credit. Not bad, right? On a $125 purchase, I am saving $20 + $5 = $25 (there’s some common core math for you…20% of $100 = $20. 20% of $25 = $5. $20 + $5 = $25.)

  • If you don’t maintain a stash of Sears gift cards…well, you can reload a gift card from the Sears site (which you navigate to by way of Ebates) – you’ll still get the 6% back. In this case, then, instead of a $25 savings, you’ll get a $7.50 savings. Be sure to call Sears right away to get them to process the reload transaction at 888-396-5299.)

Final Tally:

Purchase Price: – $132.80

Amazon Expected Sales Price: $200

Amazon Worst-Case Fees: – $40

Sears SYWR: $10 (hey, they’re also giving me $1 for accepting a one-day slower delivery…fine by me)

Ebates Cashback: $7.50

Gift Card Discount: $25

= -$132.80 + 200 – 40 + 10 + 7.50 + 25 = $69.70 (note that this will be $52.20 if you go through Ebates)

Heck, I think I’ll buy two…

What does this have to do with wedding planning?

As with many of my posts, here’s the list of reasons this is relevant:

  1. You opened a credit card and need to meet a spend threshold to earn a sign up bonus. Do not spend money for the sake of this bonus – spend what you need to spend…and make up the difference on creative “manufactured spend” like this.
  2. You need a couple bucks to cover this that and the next thing. Dear reader…wouldn’t an extra $69 cover at least an elaborate mani/pedi? YES! How about your rehearsal dinner dress? A gift for a member of your wedding party? This is money in your pocket to spend on whatever expenses aren’t yet covered. Else, use it to pay down your debt!
  3. You need gifts for the men in your life – your dad, brother, fiance, groomsmen, etc etc etc…
  4. You need gifts for a couple in your life – engagement party, wedding gift, etc etc etc…
  5. You happen to need this thing yourself.

Does this help?

Are you interested in becoming an Amazon Seller? Does this example motivate you to find great deals of your own? Please leave a comment or send a message if you need guidance!

Rules of Engagement: How to Save on Every Purchase

This three-part series will cover the foundation of any bargain hunter’s “training.” These are simple, minimal-effort rules (no coupon clipping or poring over sales flyers.) Once you understand them, you’ll find 5% off or more on almost every dollar you spend! Be creative in applying these guidelines to both your wedding expenses and every day shopping.

#1: The Credit Card Game
#2: Portal Shopping
#3: Discount Gift Cards

Rules of Engagement, #2 – Portal Shopping

These rules are so important to being a budget savvy shopper (bride, groom, event planner – whatever!) that they’re getting high priority here at Unveiled Savings.This trick works for almost every online purchase you’re going to make, whether for your wedding or general shopping.

How to get Free Cash and Miles from Online Shopping: A Portal Example

Let’s say you want to buy toasting flutes over at Things Remembered.
1. Remember that Things Remembered has a website. Go shop around and pick out what you like in store or online.
2. Visit topcashback.com.
3. Search for Things Remembered, then click Cashback.

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7% Cashback on a purchase you were gonna make anyway!
4. Check the Merchant Notes. Some vendors may restrict the transactions that earn cash back or are completed with gift cards. Make sure you know the rules.
5. Click “Get Cashback Now”- a new window or tab will open that directs you to ThingsRemembered.com. This is an important page, because it is tracked from topcashback. The track is how you get paid!

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Make sure you shop on the page opened by topcashback!
6. Complete your purchase directly from the window opened by topcashback. Otherwise, your purchase may not be tracked, and you may not receive cash back.

Which rewards programs can I use?

Visit cashbackmonitor.com and search for Things Remembered. You’ll see all of your options for earning points or cash. If you value airline miles more, then of course…shop through the appropriate portal. The steps will be almost identical to what I’ve outlined above. When you search for Things Remembered, you’ll initially see a one-line summary of options. On the far right, it will say “More…” Choose that link to expand to an example like this – look at all those options!

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So many rewards to choose from!

How much can I get for free?

In this example, you would get 7% back on your purchase. Isn’t that  easy? Our toasting flutes were over $100, and it was $6 to get one engraved. Pretty obviously, the 7% covered the engraving on one of the flutes. Why wouldn’t you use a portal for all of your shopping?Maybe you’re trying to accumulate Southwest Rapid Rewards miles for that trip to Aruba I mentioned. Here, your $100 purchase would earn you 500 Rapid Rewards points. Nice!

Now, consider how many event expenses you are going to accumulate online (or, just regular shopping, holiday gifts, whatever!) and think about how many rewards you’ll accumulate when you’re getting 5 miles per dollar or 7% back. It adds up quickly, so don’t underestimate the value of shopping portals!

Summary

Always consider whether an in-store purchase can be made online. Aside from opportunities to get free shipping or use discount codes, you can rack up cash back and rewards on almost every dollar you spend!Use cashbackmonitor.com for reward options.

If you’re signing up for topcashback, please use my referral link!

Rules of Engagement, #1 – The Credit Card Game

These rules are so important to being a budget savvy shopper (bride, groom, event planner – whatever!) that they’re getting high priority here at Unveiled Savings. Read all the way through to find out how to get a five night stay with airfare just for paying your event deposits!

Without further ado…

Universally Awesome Credit Cards

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably received invitations to sign up for new credit cards by mail, been offered a stadium blanket when you get your college’s card, or heard about some limited time offer from an airline. Truth is, there are dozens of excellent offers out there, yours for the taking. Later, I’ll discuss in detail the pros and cons of opening credit cards, but for now I just want to highlight how this can work for you.

Assuming you intend to charge wedding (or other event) expenses, you can receive a round trip flight for almost any charge that exceeds $1,000. What?! Yes, that honeymoon doesn’t have to be your first major expense as Mr. and Mrs.! Here are my top recommendations, but I encourage you to contact me directly prior to opening a card; often, there are better deals – or, at the very least, I can provide you with a referral link which helps me earn free trips, too. And I do love a free trip!

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred: although this card comes with an annual fee of about $100, if you are going to spend $4,000, you can get 40,000 points in return. These points are worth at least $400, but are better used toward airfare – they can be worth over $1,000 at that point, perhaps as a round trip flight for a pair of travelers! This is my go-to card, which I’ve had for years and use for any expense that doesn’t fall under a category bonus or sign up bonus.
  2. Chase Freedom: if you are not a big spender (although, with wedding planning…it is largely unavoidable) you can get a $100 statement credit by spending only $500 on this card. Or, if you’ve also got the Sapphire card, those dollars can be used for airfare. Of course, I’ll elaborate more on this in a future post.
  3. Discover It: this card allows you to take advantage of the very generous Shop Discover (now Discover Deals) portal, which is where I plan on sending you for major rewards on your flowers, etc!
  4. The card that goes with your favorite travel chain: if you’re a loyal Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, United, Delta, or Southwest patron, there is a card for you – we just need to find it! I have taken advantage of so many offers and enjoyed many free flights and nights, just by getting the right credit card.

Maximizing Miles Earned

Keep in mind that many cards offer revolving bonuses of 5%. For example, Discover might offer 5% back at gas stations. Now, be creative – instead of just buying gas at the gas station, stop in and consider buying gift cards for places you shop, such as the grocery store, department store…this is a great way to get 5% on more of your purchases, and will also help you meet a spending requirement. If you need to spend $4,000, and that far exceeds your monthly expenses, consider buying gift cards to use in the future – as long as you’re able to pay the credit card bill at the end of the month without accumulating interest, this will be a great way for you to earn a ton of miles!

Proving My Point – 5 Nights Plus Airfare in Aruba

 

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Assume the following:

  1. $2,000 photographer
  2. $750 dress
  3. $500 DJ
  4. $1,000 florist bill
  5. $2,000 venue deposit
  6. $2,000 caterer deposit

That’s $8,250. Ugh!

Maybe your dream destination is Aruba – there’s a fancy Marriott there, and you want to spend five nights for free. A round trip flight from Baltimore to Aruba is only about 24,000 points on Southwest, or 48,000 for a couple. Here’s how you can get that done:

Assume you were to open the Chase Sapphire Preferred card – remember that it has a spend requirement of $4,000 in the first couple months. Done! Your reward? 40,000 miles, plus 4,000 miles for the $4,000 you spent earning one mile per dollar. Still $4,250 to go…

That Chase Freedom card only requires $1,000 spend in three months, and the reward is 10,000 points. If you’ve also got the Sapphire card, you can combine the points. You’re at 55,000 points, and your airfare is free! Done! Still $3,250…

Ritz Carlton (a Marriott partner) happens to offer a card with enough points for a 5 night stay after $3,000 spend. Perfect!

Check it out, folks. You already had to spend over $8,000 in just a few months. But, now you’re getting free airfare and a five night stay in Aruba…for nothing more than taxes and fees!

Convinced? Leave a comment or send me a message if you need some help with your particular dream getaway!