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Cycle of an On-line Deal - Pay the lowest price!

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Cycle of an On-line Deal - Pay the lowest price!

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cycle of an On-line Deal - Pay the lowest price!

Last night I was shopping online for a new digital camera...the old one finally went belly up on me. As I was happily clicking through websites, I realized that I always look for a deal the same way. Follow these tips and you'll get the best deal EVERY time!

Since I haven't bought a digital camera in many years, which might as well be decades in the fast-paced digital camera world, I had to start reading reviews of the different cameras and man, there were just too many choices. Review sites are a dime a dozen. Two sites that really stand out though are PC Magazine and CNet . Once you have narrowed it down to a few cameras, make sure you google the model number and put "review" in the search box to find a few more reviews. It's nice to also get consumer reviews too and not just from the experts. Typically, I do keep note of what the prices are on these sites as I go along. Amazon has some good consumer reviews and Epinions is another one (although it is frequently outdated).

With that information, then I really go to work. Follow the steps below to get the best possible deal!

  • After researching what you want and narrowing it down to a product, go to Froogle first. This is google's version of a search of all things for sale online to put it simply. I then rank order everything from cheapest to most expensive. Weed out the accessories and other camera-related items, and you've got a good starting point. I also check the vendor out through Froogle and Resellerratings. A cheap price means nothing if the vendor can't or won't deliver or worse it ends up being some kind of a scam!
  • I then go to gottadeal.com. They do a pretty good job of crawling the internet, looking for the best deals...and these are people doing the crawling, not bots for the most part. They even have a great forum where you can search for a product (or store or whatever) and among other things, a deal finder forum where people love to help you look for that next best thing. You should see how this place gets hopping in the month before Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).
  • So now, you are armed with the lowest price you could find. I also take a look at amazon and EBay to see what folks are paying there. If you decide to eventually go the EBay route, make sure you buy from someone who has a very high level of feedback, and at least a 98-99% positive rating with lots of happy customer comments. You can find many legitimate businesses on Ebay. Also be sure to read the listing, as the item may be "as is", defective, missing parts or used (which you may or may not find acceptable).
  • Now you've got the name of the store. The last step is to find a discount for that store. I NEVER buy ANYTHING on the internet without looking for a coupon code for that vendor. Go to Google and in the search field, write "name of store" and "coupon code". It may take a few minutes to wade through the listings, but be patient and look through the first few pages of search results. I have found coupon codes buried on the third and fourth pages of the search results. If you've still got your Ebay window open, type in the "name of store" and "coupon" and you'll see some pop up there...for sale. I wouldn't bother with some of the lower discounts, but sometimes employees and others get their hands on bigger discounts, and again, if you find someone with great feedback and your purchase is very large, it may be worth it to buy a coupon (just be careful, lots of potential for fraud and expired coupons here).
  • Now that you've got the coupon code, it's just a matter of going through the store's checkout and cutting and pasting the code into the appropriate field (just keep an eye out for it as you check out).
That about covers it. I ended up buying my Sony point-and-click camera through Dell's website. Not only was it the cheapest price online (they were running a special for only that day apparently), but I was able to find a coupon code elsewhere, which brought the price down 40% from their normal list price! So, what's the lesson here?...don't settle for mediocrity and getting hosed when you don't need to be...take a little time to do a little research and feel better about that purchase!

Have another idea or technique you use? Pray tell....


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