(Updated 6/05/17) While Best Buy sales continues to struggle in recent months, there’s no doubt they’re a much need retailer in the consumer electronics space. Not only do they keep online players like Amazon honest in terms of pricing, but shoppers need a place to go to check out new electronics. “Show-rooming” if you will. The good news for consumers is that Best Buy has many ways to save money, many of which not even the loyalists of shoppers are aware of.
Here are 7 insider tips to save money at Best Buy that just might blow your mind and help you score a great deal the next time you’re in the market for a new HDTV, computer, home theater system, and hundreds of other cool gadgets.
Crack the Best Buy Price Tag Code
Learn how to read Best Buy price tags to determine what kind of deal you’re getting. In particular, the cents column tells you some pretty cool things. Here’s what you need to know:
- Prices ending in a .99 – Could be a full price or a sale price. Sale items ending in .99 are typically not that big of a savings. Try to avoid the .99 if you can.
- Prices ending in a .92 – This is a 1-time price drop at or below Best Buy’s cost. Typically a screaming deal.
- Prices ending in a .96 – Anything ending in a .96 is an adjusted price designed to beat the price of a competitor.
- Look for Code “C” – If you see a price tag with a small “C” in the lower right-hand corner, it means the item is clearance and no longer stocked. I have it on good authority that managers are able to give discounts on these products, so be sure to negotiate an even better price.
Products You Can Negotiate a Lower Price On
When it comes to knowing how to negotiate a lower price at Best Buy, you need to keep the following in mind.
- Bundle items and negotiate. When buying more than one complementary item, think HDTV and Bluray player, politely ask for a bundle discount if you buy both items today. I’ve personally done this several times and it works. Start by asking for 15-20% off and be prepared to settle for around 10%.
- Listen to the salesperson. When trying to negotiate, they’ll often steer you towards the brands that they can lower the price on. Whether it be a higher margin, excess inventory, or clearance items they want to clear out, listen to them and they’ll often give you hints about the HDTV’s or computers where they can help you on price.
- The more expensive the item, the better your chance to negotiate. This one is fairly obvious. It’s all about profit margins. Best Buy is more willing to lower the price on a $3,000 75″ HDTV than they are on a 32″ HDTV priced below $250.
- Look for damaged packaging. I recently needed a new DSL router and headed to my 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 minutes he comes back and says “Deal”.
Memorize this list and use it often…it works!
Open Box Products Offer Great Chance to Negotiate
Every time I walk into a Best Buy I find several floor model HDTV’s that are marked down for a quick sale. But 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 be prepared to meet in the middle.
Oft-Forgotten Student Discounts
Many college students are still not aware of Best Buy’s Student Discount program, but it’s pretty dang awesome. Sign-up if free and only requires you to be a college student actively enrolled in at least one course at a post-secondary educational institution, and be verified by Best Buy as a currently enrolled college student and be able to provide proof of enrollment upon request.
Some of the current deals include $50 off a MacBook or iMac, 10% off select Surface Books, $50 off select Blue Label Laptops, and 20% off Rocketfish Home Theater accessories. (See also: 50+ Places Where Students Get a Sweet Student Discount)
Their Online Outlet is AWESOME (and Hidden)
The Best Buy Online Outlet is not easy to find when you’re on their homepage. Because of this, many shoppers have no clue it exists but it’s a great way to save BIG on open-box, refurbished, clearance and pre-owned electronics.
You can regularly find savings in the 50-60% off range and the best part is that these items are all backed by their Return & Exchange Promise, covered under warranty, and are all verified to work properly.
By the way, to find it on their website you click on “Deals” which gives you a drop-down menu, then click on “Best Buy Outlet”.
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.
Special Discounts for Gamers
If you fancy yourself a gamer, and you’re not a member of Best Buy’s Gamers Club, you’re clearly doing it all wrong. A membership will get you a bunch of free rewards that you can exchange for discounts on new and used games, along with gaming accessories.
At the very least, get the Gamers Club free option which is a no-brainer. The $30 for a 2-year membership will get you the Gamers Club Unlocked membership which can really save you some money by getting you 20% off all new video game software plus 10% off all pre-owned games.
Ask the Reader: How do you save money at Best Buy? Have you ever taken advantage of any of my tips?
By Kyle James
Photo by Mike Mozart.