Amazon No Longer Offers 7-Day Price Protection (But Not All Hope Is Lost)

May 25, 2016 by Kyle
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Amazoh

I come today bearing bad news for loyal Amazon shoppers. As of early May 2016, Amazon is no longer offering 7-day price protection on your purchases. Apparently this was never an “official” policy, and was offered as a one-time exception at the discretion of chat operators and customer service reps. But the fact of the matter is, they almost always gave you a price adjustment if an item you just purchased went down in price.

But unfortunately, no longer. With one exception that is…new TV’s. Amazon now gives you 30-day price protection on any TV purchase, just as long as the order is fulfilled by Amazon and not a 3rd party seller. Also, when it comes to TV’s, they’ll price match a long list of online retailers, they call it their TV Low Price Guarantee. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of this new policy when you can.

So….Now What? A Camel to the Rescue

But alas, all hope is not lost, you’re just going to have to change your Amazon shopping strategy slightly. Instead of requesting the price protection after the fact, you’re going to have to get good at buying when the item is at it’s lowest price. Here’s what I mean…

So if you shop regularly on Amazon, you’re aware that their prices change all the time, which was why it was nice to have “price protection” in your back pocket. But since you don’t any more, it’s become much more important to be sure you’re getting the lowest price at the time of your purchase.

The absolute best way to do this is to become proficient with the site CamelCamelCamel.com. This site “monitors millions of Amazon products and alerts you when prices drop, helping you decide when to buy.” It also allows you to view the price history of over 18 million Amazon products so you know just how low the price of a particular item should go and shop accordingly.

Will Amazon hear the backlash from shoppers and start offering price adjustments again? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, go create your free Camel account today, or download their Browser Add-On and start saving money by only buying when the price is right.

Happy savings.


By Kyle James

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All The Hardware Stores That Price-Match Home Depot and Lowe’s

May 18, 2016 by Kyle
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Technology is amazingly handy, especially when it comes to DIY YouTube videos that can help you with pretty much any job around the house. Another aspect that has changed the DIY landscape is the ability to use retailer’s price-match policies to ensure you get the lowest price on tools, hardware, and DIY supplies. Perhaps you’d rather shop at your local Ace, Menards, or True Value as they offer better customer service and are happy to avoid the cavernous aisles at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

If you fall into this category, you might as well get the lower Home Depot or Lowe’s price (if they have one). It’s with this in mind, that I present all of the hardware stores, or stores with a significant hardware aisle, that’ll happily price-match Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Home Depot and Lowe's

Ace Hardware

Most Ace Hardware stores are independently owned, and many absolutely will price match. Find out if the Ace in your area price matches Home Depot and Lowe’s be simply asking or do a quick Google search. If they do, they most likely follow these guidelines:

  • If you find a lower price on an identical item, at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, just bring in their current ad and they’ll match their price.
  • If HD or Lowe’s is offering a percent off discount, they’ll match the final net price the competitor is offering.
  • Exclusions: Labor charges, closeouts, special orders, discontinued items, clearance, liquidation or damaged items.
  • They will limit to reasonable consumer quantities. So don’t abuse it.

The takeaway here is to always inquire at your local Ace Hardware to determine if they offer a price match policy.

Home Hardware

With 19 retail locations spread across Canada, Home Hardware offers a Price Match Promise at all of there stores.

  • Simply bring evidence of the lower price to any Home Hardware employee.
  • They reserve the right to exclude significantly below cost competition loss leader pricing.
  • Because lumber grading varies by location, they will not price match lower lumber grade quality from competitors.
  • They also reserve the right to limit quantities to an amount reasonable for a residential homeowner.

Lamps Plus

When it comes to fans, lighting, chandeliers, and home decor, the folks at Lamps Plus will absolutely price match. Here’s what you need to know.

  • The lower price must be advertised within 60 days of the date of your purchase.
  • They’ll actually give you an additional discount of 20% of the price difference.
  • Can’t be redeemed in conjunction with other coupons, discounts or promotions.

Menards

If you like to shop at Menards, and you’re NOT price matching Home Depot and Lowes, there is a great chance you’re overspending. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You are not required to provide the local competitor’s ad for us to honor the price.
  • Items purchased must be identical size, quantity, brand, flavor, color, etc.
  • Menards reserves the right to limit price matches to reasonable quantities.
  • Exclusions: Ads when the actual price cannot be determined, competitor ads from outside of the store’s local market, “going out of business” sales or “close out” prices.

Orchard Supply Hardware

Located in California and Oregon, Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) has long been a favorite of mine. Great selection of products, but more importantly, outstanding customer service. Here is there price-match policy:

  • Item at must identical and they reserve the right to limit quantities.
  • Exclusions: Bonus or free offers, special offers, rebates, financing offers, clearance, and closeout items.
  • OSH will not match Home Depot or Lowe’s pricing that result from a price match or online purchase.

Sears

While Sears carries many in-house tool brands like Craftsman, there is definitely some overlap with items carried by Home Depot and Lowe’s. And the good news is they’ll price match those items if the two warehouse giants carry them for less.

  • If you have a Home Depot or Lowe’s in your local area, they’ll match their price either at time of purchase or within 14 days of purchase. Just bring in price evidence to any sales associate.
  • The competitor’s price must be offered on the same date as the date of your purchase.
  • The price match is only eligible on the day you make your purchase.

Target

Target has a growing section of tools, hardware, and DIY supplies and thus make my list. Here is what you need to know to get your price match.

  • Target will match both Home Depot and Lowe’s prices as well as 29 online retailer’s pricing, which includes HomeDeopt.com and Lowes.com.
  • It must be the same exact product, down to the color and weight.
  • Online price matching is good for up to 7 days after purchase. Be sure to always hold on to your receipt.
  • Major Exclusions: “Prices that only display on a website after guests log in. Clearance, closeout, damaged product, used, refurbished, open packages or liquidation sales.”

True Value

All True Value stores are independently owned, and store owners are given the flexibility to offer a price match policy. But the good news is many True Value locations will absolutely price match Home Depot and Lowe’s. Here’s the scoop.

  • Evidence from their site, “We promise to do whatever we can to provide you with the best price.” This obviously includes price matching the big-box home improvement stores in your area.
  • Stores will not price match products in the Outlet section of the True Value website.
  • A price match is not available for stores in Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico.

Walmart

Let’s not forget about Walmart as most locations have a fairly stocked hardware, paint, and DIY products section. If these items are cheaper at Home Depot or Lowe’s be sure to get your price match.

  • Walmart will match the price of any local brick & mortar competitor, including Lowe’s and Home Depot of course.
  • You DON’T need the ad to get the price match which is convenient.
  • Items must be absolutely identical. One price match per item, per day.
  • Exclusions: BOGO items and closeout prices.

West Marine

I was happy to see that West Marine will price match both Home Depot and Lowe’s, here are the details worth knowing.

  • If you have a Lowe’s or Home Depot location within 50 miles of your local West Marine location, they’ll happy price match either store.
  • Simply provide the item number and base price of the product and they’ll independently verify the price.
  • You can also call them at 1-800-BOATING to discuss your price match.
  • Exclusions: “Price matching does not apply to online auctions, liquidation sales, refurbished or used merchandise, shipping charges, taxes, or promotions such as: mail-in offers, gift-with-purchase, financing offers, installation services, or typographical errors.”

Ask the Reader: How do you save money on your DIY or home improvement projects?

Happy Savings.


By Kyle James

Photos by Mike Mozart (1, 2)

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The 7 Store Gift Cards You Should Use ASAP (Before It’s Too Late)

May 12, 2016 by Kyle
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(Updated 5/24/16)

Having you ever cleaned out your purse or wallet only to find an old gift card to a business that doesn’t exist anymore? If you have, you know it’s a pretty sickening feeling. It’s with this in mind that I want to help you avoid this “gift card foul” in the future. Here are the retailers that are currently in, or re-emerging, from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, or worse yet, about to shutter their doors forever. If you have any gift cards for these stores, use them NOW!

Sports Authority Gift Card

Aeropostale

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, Aeropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court. Aero is going to close 113 of their stores nationwide and all of their stores in Canada.

As of this posting, they are still accepting gift cards both online and in-store. If you have one burning a hole in your pocket, you’d be wise to use it before it’s too late. If at some point down the road, they stop accepting gift cards, you can file a claim to try and get your money by clicking here.

American Apparel

American Apparel has just recently emerged from bankruptcy and is operating normally again, this includes their gift cards as they’re still being accepted. How long will they be around this time? Only time will tell, but you might want to consider using your gift card, if you have one, just in case.

Hancock Fabrics

Hancock Fabrics has made the decision to shutter ALL of their stores and website. While they’re no longer selling gift cards, they are still accepting them, so use them NOW. They are only accepting them in-store, not online. As of this writing, you probably only have 2-3 weeks before they liquidate all of their inventory and are gone forever.

Pacific Sunwear (PacSun)

On 4/07/16, PacSun filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and they are looking to re-organize and re-emerge a financially stronger company in the upcoming months. For the time being, they are selling and accepting their gift cards. Use ’em if you got ’em. If you miss the chance to use yours, you can file a claim to hopefully be reimbursed by clicking here.

Sports Authority

Back on 4/02/16, Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Then on 4/27, they abandoned the idea of restructuring via chapter 11, and were looking for a suitable buyer. That didn’t happen, so now they are shuttering all 460 stores and selling their inventory to a group of liquidators. Use those gift cards quickly or risk loosing them forever.

As of this writing, they are still accepting Sports Authority gift cards both online and in-store. You have until 6/28/16 to use them, both online and in-store. If you missed your chance to redeem your gift card, you can file a claim here and try to get your money back.

Sports Chalet

The folks at Sports Chalet started the process of closing all of their retail locations on April 16, 2016. You have until May 31, 2016 to use any gift cards you might still have in your wallet. You have to use your gift card in-store only as they are no longer accepting online orders. If you’re unable to visit a Sports Chalet before this date, you can transfer your gift card balances to a gift card from one of their sister stores, Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob’s Stores through July 29th, 2016. To transfer your balance, contact customer service at (888) 801-9162 and an agent will assist you.

Radio Shack

Radio Shack has long been a running joke as to how they were still in business. Well, it turns out that as of March 31, 2015, they are no longer accepting gift cards. But alas, all hope is not lost if you still have one of these relics in your wallet. Simply go to OldRadioShackGiftCards.com and file a claim by December 2, 2016.

No guarantees, but definitely worth a shot. When it comes to getting your money back, gift cards bought directly from Radio Shack have priority over gift cards that were issued as store credit.

Bonus: Sears & Kmart

Does anyone hear that noise? Sounds like a very faint heartbeat. Also known as your local Sears and/or Kmart location. They just recently announced they were closing another 78 locations. Better start using your gift cards as you don’t want to be stuck with them someday as all they’ll be good for is scraping ice off your windshield on a bitterly cold morning.

Happy savings.


By Kyle James

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7 Little-Known McDonald’s Menu Hacks That’ll Save You Money

May 10, 2016 by Kyle
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I recently noticed that McDonald’s stock is at an all-time high. They are clearly making a ton of money off our fast-food love affair, so I figured it was time to come up with some McDonald’s menu hacks that can actually save us money on our next trip to the golden arches. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these tips can definitely save you some cash. McFlurry anyone?

McDonalds Menu Hacks

1. Order the “Budget” Big Mac

Did you know that you can order any McDonald’s burger to come with “special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – on a sesame seed bun”,  just like the famous Big Mac? Apparently there’s even a button on the register for this request at many golden arches locations. All you have to say is “Like a Mac” and you’ll get hooked up – minus the 3rd bun in the middle of course, but you can live without that strange invention.

Turns out this is a great hack to get a Big Mac for a lot less money. For example, order a “McDouble – like a Mac” and you’ll essentially get a Big Mac for about $2 after the add-ons, compared to the original Big Mac which comes with a price tag of $4.19 at most locations. Also, if you’re simply craving a double burger, just order the McDouble instead of the Big Mac and easily save a couple bucks as the McDouble remains a steal at $1.79.

2. Order McNuggets in Multiples of 4

Okay, so this tip is awesome if you love yourself some chicken nugs. The next time the craving hits order your McNuggets in multiples of four. Why? Well, a box of 4 will typically run you about $1.30 ($0.32 cents a nugget) while a box of 10 will cost you about $4.50 or $0.45 cents a nugget. So…if your local arches has the 4-pack on the menu, order them up like crazy as you’re saving money.

3. Ask About Discounted Chow

I use to do this in college and it almost always worked. When ordering, I’d simply ask if they had any burgers or fries that were “going begging”. Meaning they were made but not bought, or perhaps they’ve been sitting under the heat lamp a little too long. Nothing wrong with them! I use to get Big Macs for $0.79, Quarter Pounders for $0.75, and fries for $0.50. Hey, I was a starving college student and I didn’t care what anyone else thought!

4. Over 55?  Get a Free Cup of Coffee

If you’re over 55, did you know you’re entitled to a free cup of coffee every time you enter a McDonalds? You must dine-in to be eligible for your free coffee, and not all restaurants participate, but it’s definitely worth asking about. Also, it appears that some golden arches offer the choice of a free coffee or a cold beverage.

5. Egg McMuffin Hack

The next time you enter a McDonald’s jonesing for some breakfast, consider ordering a simply Sausage McMuffin (without the egg) along with an ala carte “round egg” and create your own Sausage Egg McMuffin on the cheap. According to the clever folks at BuzzFeed, by ordering it this way, you’ll get it for $2.58 instead of $3.19. Not a huge savings, but kind of a fun way to stick it to Ronald.

6. Want Hot and Fresh Fries?

Nothing worse than luke warm and soggy french fries. To avoid this, be sure to order them with “No Salt” and Mickey D’s will fry up a fresh batch just for you. You can then add the salt yourself if you want. While this won’t save you any money, it will definitely get you some deliciously amazing french fries on your next visit.

This tip also works for the Filet O’ Fish – order it “no cheese” and you’re guaranteed to get a freshly made fish sandwich.

7. Don’t Ignore the Value Menu

Not all “Value Menu” items are created equal as some are much better deals than others. The best value menu items at McDonalds are as follows:

  • McChicken Sandwich: At an affordable $1, this is the best buy on the ENTIRE menu by far. It weights 5.10 ounces, which means it’s priced at $3.14 per pound. In contrast, the Big Mac sells for over $9 per pound and the Filet O’ Fish comes in at $12.45 per pound.
  • 2 Cheeseburgers for $2: If you’re craving beef instead of poultry, the 2 cheeseburgers for $2 is the best way to go.
  • McDouble: At $1.79, the McDouble is also a great value menu item. Order it “Like a Mac” and get it with all the Big Mac trimmings and you’ve essentially order a Big Mac and saved a couple bucks in the process.


By Kyle James

Photo by Mike Mozart

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Ask Company For a Coupon if They Can’t Fix Their Product

April 28, 2016 by Kyle
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Here’s a Cheap (and Brilliant) Way to Score a Replacement Product:
So, this tip is short and sweet. If you have a product that is broken and out of warranty, and the company that manufactured it is unable to fix it (or it’s cost prohibitive), ask them for a coupon that you can use to save money on a replacement.

I recently had a friend do this quite successfully with Logitech. (See the screenshot of the […] Continue Reading…

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How To Ask and Get an Amazon Price Adjustment (Even On 3rd Party Items)

April 20, 2016 by Kyle
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(5/02/16 Update: It looks like this will only work on TV’s now, stay tuned to see if this new Amazon policy sticks. Because Amazon changes prices so frequently, I think they’ll get a lot of backlash for changing their policy. Bottom-line, be persistent as I have heard reports of some shoppers still getting Amazon price adjustments. YMMV.)

One of my favorite blog subjects is Amazon, more specifically, how to save money at Amazon in ways you’ve […] Continue Reading…

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Frugal Hack #34: Use New Google Tool To Score Great Travel Deals

April 11, 2016 by Kyle
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It’s called Google “Destinations”,  and it’s Google’s brand new way to find the cheapest travel destinations, including airfare and hotel. It’s important to note that this secret little way to find cheap travel spots will only work on your smartphone, either Android or iOS, via the Google search app. So don’t try it on your laptop or desktop, it won’t work. Below is my breakdown of how it works so you can start dreaming […] Continue Reading…

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8 Ways to Shop at Sam’s Club Without a Membership

April 7, 2016 by Kyle
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A while back I talked about the clever ways you can shop at Costco without a membership. The article was very popular and made me realize I should write the same article for Sam’s Club. Maybe you’re on the fence about dropping $45 for a standard membership, or you know you won’t buy enough in a year to make it worth it. Whatever the case may be, there are clever ways to get free […] Continue Reading…

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9 Killer Ways to Shop Smart and Save Money at TJ Maxx

April 5, 2016 by Kyle
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TJ Maxx is a favorite shopping spot for many discount shoppers. Not only do they have dozens of name-brand apparel brands at discounted prices, but they also have deals on home decor items as well as name-brand kitchen stuff. The best part? Most items are marked down 25% to 50% off the original retail price. But…there are some other ways to save big money at TJ Maxx that only employees and consumer insiders are privy to […] Continue Reading…

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The Best Buys at Trader Joe’s According to Employees

March 23, 2016 by Kyle
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Who knows a grocery store better than the employees who work there? Nobody. This is especially true when the store is Trader Joe’s and employees are munching on free samples along with taking home new items to try out. So when I stumbled upon an article over at Thrillist documenting the products that employees like best at TJ’s, I knew I had to share it with you. Here are some of the best buys […] Continue Reading…

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