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Frugal Hack #23: 5 Ways to Get the iPhone 6 For Next to Nothing

September 12, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under

There is no doubt that the Apple iPhone 6 looks like a pretty amazing smartphone, especially the 6 Plus. Some pretty cool features for sure, especially the big ol’ screen and Apple Pay. Although, I have some news for you Apple loyalists, my new Android MotoX has had that feature for quite some time, it’s called Google Wallet and it’s pretty darn cool.

But anyways, if you consider yourself an early tech adopter, and plan to get the new iPhone 6 when it comes out on September 19th, I have a few ways to make it happen that are very easy on the wallet. Let’s get right into it shall we…

iPhone 6

Trade in your iPhone 5 with Amazon for BIG Cash

Do you have an iPhone 5c or 5s and plan to upgrade to iPhone 6? Here is a great way to make it happen and darn break even or even make some money.

  • The first thing you have to do is check out the Electronics Trade-In Program.
  • For a gently used iPhone 5s (16GB) they’ll give you about $380 via an Amazon Gift Card. The higher the memory the more money you can get.
  • For a iPhone 5c (16GB) they’ll give you right around $200 which will allow you to essentially get the iPhone 6 for free as they start at $199 with a 2 year contract.
  • Perhaps the coolest part of this dealio is that you get to “lock in” your trade-in price and still hold on to your old iPhone for up to 45 days while you wait for your iPhone 6 to come in.

Stuck with a Dinosaur also known as the iPhone 4?

  • Don’t fret. Verizon is offering a pretty sweet deal for those with an iPhone 4 or 4s.
  • Just bring in your old phone to any Verizon store and they’ll give you a $200 credit when you trade in your iPhone 4.
  • You can then use that credit to upgrade to the iPhone 6 and a new 2 year contract with Verizon.
  • In the end, you basically get to upgrade to the iPhone 6 for free. If you are happy with Verizon and don’t mind the contract then this is a good deal for you.
  • This is a limited time offer and runs from 9/12/14 – 9/30/14.

Get iPhone 6 and MAKE Money with T-Mobile

T-Mobile recently sent out a press release that guarantees the best trade-in value on used devices. Here is how it works:

  • Essentially T-Mobile has promised to beat the trade-value offered at all major carriers including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.
  • From the press release, “T-Mobile will track the market every day to ensure we keep our promise.  If a customer can find a better trade-in offer from a major national carrier, T-Mobile will beat that offer, give them the difference back and because we value this help from our customer we will top it off with another $50!”
  • Pretty cool. If you are going to upgrade to the iPhone 6 be sure to see what T-Mobile will give you, the worst thing you will do is break even and you might even come out 50 bucks ahead.

Lease the iPhone 6 for $0 Down from Sprint

  • Consider leasing the iPhone 6 from Sprint for $20 a month with zero money down via the brand new iPhone For Life Program.
  • Pay nothing down and $20/month for 24 months.
  • Get their new unlimited data package plan for $50 a month, making your monthly bill $70.
  • This lease plan from Sprint is a solid option for new smartphone users who have nothing to trade in.

Are You Stuck Buying the iPhone 6?

If you don’t have an older smartphone to trade-in, at the very least make sure you don’t pay full price. Here is the skinny on how to do it:

  • You need to buy from Walmart as they are currently taking pre-orders for the new iPhone AND offering you a discount.
  • Specifically, they are selling the 6 Plus for $279 instead of $299, and the regular 6 is $179 instead of $199. Not a huge discount but it’s the best you’re going to find as Apple practically never discounts their new devices.
  • Bonus: They will also give you a $15 Walmart e-Gift card when you pick up your device.
  • You must walk into your local Walmart to pre-order, unfortunately you can’t do it online.

Ask the Reader: Are you upgrading to the iPhone 6? If so, how are you making it happen so you avoid the hefty sticker price? As always, I appreciate the comments.

By Kyle James


Talk Your Way to a Deal: How to Negotiate at These Major Retailers

September 8, 2014 by Kyle 3 comments   •   Filed Under ,

Last December, I was quoted in an article in The New York Times talking about how consumers can negotiate the price at major retailers. No longer is this a practice left for garage sales, car lots, and local “Ma and Pa” shops. If you are a bit nervous about being turned down or looking like a cheap fool, don’t be, as the act of negotiating a better price is becoming much more mainstream as retailers enact price match policies and low price guarantees to turn show-rooming consumers into paying customers. Below are six popular retailers where you should become a price negotiating ninja today.

Negotiate the Price

Home Depot

I use to work in the paint department at the Home Depot. For a little over 1 year I mixed paint and wiped excess paint on my orange apron until it looked like something straight from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But while I worked their I became quite aware of the best way for shoppers to negotiate a deal at the Home Depot. Here is the skinny…

  • Look for imperfect items. The Home Depot is chalked full of “scratch & dent” items. From appliances, to doors, to tools, to outdoor garden decor. If you seek out these imperfect items in many cases you can successfully get a 10-15% discount. Simply point out the flaws to an associate who works in that particular department and ask if they can help on the price. I always start be asking for a 20% discount and see where the negotiating takes me. As a dude who use to work at the Home Depot, I am here to tell you that we were encouraged by management to slash the price on imperfect items as we knew we would have trouble selling them at full price. The associate may have to seek management approval on more expensive items but it usually only takes a couple minutes. For shoppers, the time spent is well worth the effort.
  • Look for items incorrectly stocked. Now this one may be a little unethical but I had several customers pull it on me when I worked in the paint department. I once had a guy approach me and say, “Hey, this paint rush over here says it is only $3.99 and that’s the price I want.” I walk over and sure enough a $25 Purdy paint brush had been incorrectly placed in the wrong spot. The dude was adamant that $3.99 was the price he should pay. I got the assistant manger involved and we ended up giving him the expensive brush for the really cheap price. This technique is not for everyone but if you have the brass nuts to pull it off I wish you the best.
  • Try to bundle items. The technique of buying a riding lawn mower along with a weed eater, and asking a sales associate if there is the possibility of a discount if you buy both today, is one that you should definitely add to your Home Depot negotiating repertoire. Chance of saving 10% or maybe $50 has a high probability of success.
  • Look for floor models, returns, and overstocks. Tile, doors, appliances, miss-matched paint, and power tools are just a few of the items that often get returned or special ordered by a customer and never picked up. Store managers typically want them sold immediately so they don’t take up valuable real estate. Use this knowledge to your advantage and negotiate an even better deal on them. These items will typically be marked with a special tag that tells you they are floor models, returned items, or overstocked stuff. Start the negotiating at 20% off the asking price and be prepared to meet in the middle.
  • Become a price match pro. By knowing the price match policy at Home Depot it gives you a very easy way to negotiate the price. If you find a competing store in your area which beats the Home Depot price, you are eligible to get the product for 10% lower than the competitor’s price. It is also worth noting that Home Depot does not currently price match online pricing.

Costco Wholesale

Despite what many retail “experts” say, your local Costco can also be a darn good place to negotiate the price. Here is what you need to know to make it happen.

  • Look for floor models. Have you ever seen the last of a particular item at Costco? Nothing left but the display floor model, which still works great, comes with the same warranty, but might have a scratch or a couple wear marks on it. Often you’ll find these in the electronics and computers section as well as the seasonal section which is typically in the middle of the store towards the front. They want to get rid of these things, and while they might already be marked down, there is still room to negotiate an even better deal. I recently received an email from a faithful reader who was successful negotiating an even lower price on a Blu-ray player at Costco which was the floor model. The Samsung Blu-ray player was already marked down from $89.99 to $74.99 but she asked an associate if they “would take $60 as it had a few scratches on it.” The associate quickly went and asked a floor manager and within a few minutes she was walking out of the store with a really sweet deal. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
  • Crack the price tag code at Costco. According to my popular Crack the Price Tag Code article you can quickly determine which items at Costco are a clearance or discounted price. Clearance items at Costco will always have an asterisk (*) in the upper right hand corner of the price tag and discounted prices will always end in .97. Seek out these price tags and engage in a conversation with an employee and ask politely if there is any wiggle room in the price. Your chance of success goes up significantly if you can show evidence on your smartphone of a lower price elsewhere. Depending on how badly they need to clear out the merchandise to make room for new products, they may be very eager to cut a deal, especially if you are buying in bulk.
  • Always negotiate the price on tires. Tires are usually marked way up and have plenty of wiggle room in terms of price. If you do your homework and find a better price on a set of 4 tires from another retailer, approach a sales person at Costco and politely explain the situation and ask for a possible price adjustment. Remember the old adage that “Discounts vary upon customer attitude” as your attitude will directly impact how much money you can save.

Best Buy

Before buying any electronics from Best Buy you need to know how to negotiate in their store. Here are some insider tips to make it happen and help you save some money…

  • Listen to the salesperson. Best Buy is notorious for carrying certain brands that offer bigger margins, especially on TV’s. If the salesperson is pushing you toward a specific brand once you have tried to negotiate a better price, it is probably because that brand has larger margins giving them more room to negotiate a deal with you.
  • Bundle items and start negotiating. A few years ago I discovered this trick. I was buying a new Panasonic 42″ HDTV and DVD player and decided (on a whim) to ask the salesman if he could knock off $100 if I bought both right now. He went and asked his manager and within a minute he came back and said they could reduce the overall price by $75. I was like, “Cool, done deal!” A very easy $75 left in my wallet.
  • The more expensive the item, the better your chance to negotiate. A 32″ or 42″ TV at Best Buy typically has a much smaller profit margin than a 65″ or 75″ TV, regardless of the brand. So you have a much better chance of negotiating a deal on a larger, more expensive, TV or laptop computer.
  • Look for damaged packaging. I recently needed a new DSL router and headed off to our local Best Buy. The NetGear router that I wanted was indeed in-stock, but they only had one left on the shelf. I picked up the box with the router in it and one corner was completely smashed in. I immediately knew I had some great price negotiating ammunition. I walked up to a nearby sales associate and explained the situation. I told him, “I realize the router inside is probably OK, but I am taking a bit of a risk taking this thing home. Any chance you can knock off 25% and I’ll take this trashed box off your hands?” He says he has to get a manager’s approval and within a minute he comes back and says he can give me 15% off. Easiest $20 I ever made.
  • Try to negotiate at the end of the month. Sales floor managers are trying to hit sales goals at the end of the month and are much more willing to wheel and deal with you. I’m talking about the last 2 days of the month, like the 30th or 31st.
  • Open box products offer great opportunity to negotiate. This is especially true with floor model TV’s and laptops. Every time I step into a Best Buy I can find several floor model that are marked down for a quick sale. But guess what? They don’t always sell quickly. So whenever you see a floor model for sale, consider it an opportunity to negotiate an even lower price. As a general rule of thumb start at 25% and let them meet you somewhere in the middle.
  • Price match like crazy! The price match policy at Best Buy gets an A rating from Best Buy will match the lower price of both a local competitor or a major online retailer like Doesn’t matter how small the local competitor is, they will match the price. Always pull out your smartphone when shopping at Best Buy (I recommend the RedLaser app) and see if you can find the price lower in your town or online. If you do, use the lower price as a negotiating tool, the employee may even beat the competitor’s price if you sweet talk them and are polite.


Another major retailer where you can become a price negotiating ninja is Lowe’s Home Improvement. Here are some tips to make it happen.

  • Do not ONLY negotiate the price. Let’s say you are buying a new lawnmower. Instead of asking for a discount on the price, consider negotiating for complimentary products like a gasoline can, engine oil, or a new lawnmower blade. Lowe’s is notorious for negotiating add-ons rather than a lower price.
  • Always negotiate major appliances. Lowe’s has an amazing selection of appliances and are often open to negotiating the price. Your best bet is to always do your homework before you shop and print out any instances where you find of a lower price. Bring your paperwork with you and use it as ammo to negotiate a better price. Depending on the online retailer, Lowe’s may not always price match every online price, but you have a much better chance of negotiating a lower price than if you showed up empty handed.
  • Look for “Scratch & Dents” and floor models. Because of the large selection of floor models that adorn every Lowe’s warehouse, they are naturally going to have a lot of scratch and dent and floor models they need to clear out. These are perfect fodder to work on your negotiating skills as they are very likely to lower the price to clear out the “imperfect” or not “brand new” inventory. They often hide these in the back of the appliance section behind all of the new models. Start by pointing out any imperfections and ask if they would take 15% off or $50, whichever is higher. In my experience, that is a great starting point when negotiating at Lowe’s and likely to yield excellent results. Remember, they really want to get rid of these and are quite aware many shoppers don’t want “scratch & dent” items, no matter the discount.
  • Do NOT forget the 10% veterans discount. Are you an active or retired member of the U.S. armed services? If so, Lowe’s has an awesome veteran’s discount that many shoppers are not aware of. They will give a flat military discount of 10% to all active and retired military personnel. For all other vets they give a discount on Veteran’s Day, 4th of July, and Memorial Day. It is also worth noting, from the Lowe’s website, that “immediate family member(s) of someone with a valid military ID Card” is also eligible for the 10% discount. Use it!


Thanks to their appliances and Craftsman tools, Sears continues to stay in business. While many consumers think that you can’t negotiate the price in Sears I’m here to tell you that you’re completely wrong. Here is what you need to know…

  • Always negotiate the price on appliances. Start by asking if they can do anything with the price. Sometimes they have a coupon behind the desk just writing to hand out if a customer asks. If they don’t have a coupon they will often direct you to appliances that are a great deal or have more wiggle room in terms of price.
  • Look for floor models. Sears is notorious for having a section of the store that has nothing but returned appliances, tools, lawn equipment, or stuff that is on clearance for whatever reason. These offer a great chance to negotiate a deal. A few years ago, I was able to negotiate the price of a Craftsman lawnmower that had been returned by a lady who said it was just to heavy for her to push. They were asking $179 and I got them down to $150 as it has a couple scratches on it and clearly had been used a couple times.
  • Email and ask for specs on an appliance. When you email Sears and ask them for the specs of a particular appliance they will often email you back and include a $100 off coupon. This has happened twice to me and it’s the easiest $100 you’ll ever earn.

Guitar Center

Shopping for a new or used acoustic or electronic guitar? Or perhaps some accessories or gear? Be sure to negotiate the price at your local Guitar Center location and save some cash in the process.

  • Talk to the right person. Figure out quickly who’s the sales manager and try to approach them directly. They are the one with the most authority to lower the price so you’ll want to try and win them over.
  • Be polite and courteous. This one helps at any store, but it is worth repeating here as Guitar Center has a track record of knocking money off the price if you’re courteous and friendly. Bottom line, don’t be a jerk!
  • Real life example. I have a friend who recently bought a brand new guitar from Guitar Center and just by being friendly and asking if they had any upcoming promotions in the works, the sales lady knocked $75 off the price right on the spot. Just ask!

Ask the Reader: Have you negotiated the price at any of these retailers? Or maybe you have another store where you have made it happen? Let me know, thanks.

By Kyle James


The Master List: Good and Bad Buys in September

August 27, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under

As we enter early September, it’s a great time to make certain purchases. After all, one of the best ways to save money is to time the market on certain items so you remain in the driver’s seat in terms of negotiating power. It is with this in mind that I present the best and worst items to purchase in September.

The Good Buys in September:
Holiday Airfare
~ Will you be traveling home for Thanksgiving or [...] Continue Reading…


10 Things More Expensive This Fall & Tips to Fight Back

August 20, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

I recently read an article on CBS MoneyWatch talking about 10 things that are going to be more expensive this fall. Fairly interesting stuff for a dude like me who always tries to predict rising costs and figure out ways to divert said costs. What I found most interesting is the author had no problem spouting rising costs on certain items with absolutely no advice or tips on how to avoid them. Fairly typical I [...] Continue Reading…


11 Brick & Mortar Stores That ACTUALLY Accept PayPal

August 18, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under

I started researching this article by reading stuff that talked about over 20 brick & mortar retailers that accepted PayPal on in-store purchases. I was like “Wow, that is cool! I had no idea so many stores did that.” Then I started digging a bit further. Made a bunch of phone calls and talked to a bunch of store reps. Turns out very few brick & mortar stores currently accept PayPal. So it’s actually [...] Continue Reading…


4 Killer Ways to Consistently Beat (or Tie) Pricing

August 13, 2014 by Kyle 1 comment   •   Filed Under ,

Now don’t get me wrong, I love and am a fairly loyal shopper. They have an amazing selection of products and their pricing is very competitive. But I am here to tell you that paying for Amazon Prime and doing all your shopping with them is not always going to net you the best deal. As a matter of fact, today I have four ways you can actually beat (or tie) Amazon pricing [...] Continue Reading…


Chow Time: 55+ Restaurants Where Kids Eat For Free

August 6, 2014 by Kyle 1 comment   •   Filed Under ,

With three kids who seem to eat as if their stomach has a hole in the bottom of it, I am a big fan of restaurants and eateries who’ll feed them for free on specific days of the week. I mean, heck, if you’re going to go out for a family dinner, why not go somewhere where the kids can get their grub on at no charge. It is with this in mind that [...] Continue Reading…


Get Social on Twitter and Save Money with These 10 Companies

August 4, 2014 by Kyle 6 comments   •   Filed Under

It’s kinda funny how social media works sometimes. Not only is it a great way to network and connect with people, but the ability to use it as a money-saving tool seems to be growing daily.

The reason for this post all started about a week ago when I was asked by Cameron Huddleston from if I knew of any solid ways to use Twitter as a tool to save money. Thanks to a killer [...] Continue Reading…


I opened my latest AT&T bill and darn near fell out of my chair when I saw the total due. The reason it was so high was because we just added a second phone line for my home office and my introductory DSL promotion just expired. I knew it was time to get to work and get my bill lowered. Time to get ‘er done. Below is exactly what I did. You should do [...] Continue Reading…


(Updated 8/11/14)

Have you ever been shopping online at your favorite store, add items to your cart, then decide to not make the purchase for one reason or another. Maybe it was just to expensive. Maybe the shipping costs were a deal breaker. Whatever your reasoning for abandoning your online shopping cart, some popular online stores are now sending a follow-up email to try and entice you back with a coupon or discount to complete [...] Continue Reading…