One of the essential tools in my toolbox to help me achieve financial freedom is price tracking.
There might not be an easier way to save money (other than not spending it of course), and it requires less than 5 minutes of your day. In this scenario I will highlight below, I saved 75% off my original purchase (savings of $142)! This is such a simple process that you can easily replicate.
First a back story – I’m a sucker for holiday decorations, halloween, Christmas, you name it. I enjoy decorating my yard for halloween, and hanging lights for Christmas. The problem is I live in a two story house, and the fruwife frowns upon getting on ladders and even attempting to hang lights on the second story. Every year the first story is lit up, the yard is lit up, but the second story is severely lacking. Then I came across an awesome projector from Home Depot (WindowFX Pro Projector) that projects videos from the interior and displays on the exterior window. Even better, the reviews were mostly positive. Perfect! Until I saw the price… $189.00. Yikes! Not a very frugal purchase, or a very necessary one.
72 hour Rule
I decided to use the 72-hour rule, think about the purchase, and then decide if I really needed to purchase this projector. The 72 hours came and went, and behold, I still wanted the projector. Halloween was fast approaching, and it was the final piece needed to complete my halloween decor, after all. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the projector, taking a step back from my journey to financial freedom, and taking a step forward towards consumerism (I’m a terrible person!). However, I lessened the blow, by using a $20 off $100 coupon from Lowes – at least I wasn’t paying full price, right? I walked out paying $169 + tax and was not entirely pleased with myself. Fortunately, I could sleep on the decision and return it if I changed my mind (this is something to consider when deciding to purchase an item online vs. in store).
After making a large purchase or purchase I’m on the fence about, I routinely check the prices to see if there are any price adjustment opportunities. An easy way to do this is by going to the product page, and keeping it open as a tab in your web browser on your smart phone or computer. Every morning, I would go to that tab, hit refresh, and see if there are any changes. This takes roughly 1 minute per day.
Money saving adventures…
Following the above instructions, I noticed 3 days later on Oct. 12th, the price of the projector was reduced by a whopping $60! Down to $129.99. I also had another $20 off $100 Lowe’s coupon, so I went back to Home Depot, walked up to customer service, and asked for a price adjustment. They refunded the original purchase, then rang up the projector at the current price and accepted my coupon, bringing the total down to $109.99 + tax. Much Better!
Not so fast! I continued to price track this item by refreshing daily. On Oct. 23rd, the price of the projector decreased yet again to $94.50! I’m loving this projector more and more. I head back to Home Depot, request the price adjustment, and I save another $17!
Not done yet! I continue to price track the projector. On Nov. 1st, I hit gold. The price is down to $47.25! I grabbed my keys and my receipt as soon as I see this, head back to Home Depot, request the price adjustment, and I save another $50! In total, I saved $142, and purchase the same $189 projector for a grand total of $50!
Another way I had done this in the past that required even less work is using a credit card that features price protection. However, it seems now that most credit cards are doing away with this benefit.
While this specific purchase may not strike your fancy. The key take away is – do not buy at full asking price. Unless it is absolutely urgent, plan for the purchase, ensure you have budgeted the money, and continue to track the price until you have the money budgeted. Stores have varying sales, coupons, etc, so be sure to purchase at the lowest point by tracking the price! Price tracking allows me to continue to be able to enjoy a few wants versus needs while pursuing financial freedom. This is one of my most frequently used tools in my tool belt. It requires patience, but the savings are more than worth it!