Tag Archives: rebate

When (and Why) to buy a NEW Car

If you remember I previously posted about when to buy a car. This week I am posting (finally) about when it’s good to buy new versus used.

  1. Duke it Out–Call different dealerships and ask for their best quotes. Tell them about yourself so that they know you’re a real person (real phone number, email address, where you live and what you do). Tell them what you want as your walk out price. Not the final sale price but what the final walk out price you want. Get them to send you quotes in writing and send those quotes to other dealers asking them to beat it. Many dealerships will not engage and you can’t blame them, to them you’re not a real person yet. But talk to the ones who do bite and use those quotes to get as close to your best price.
  2. Maintenance on used car-No matter who you are and how well you take care of your car, after a certain number of miles it will require upkeep. Depending on the car make, model and year, however, these costs can vary but after 30,000 miles they will all start to cost money. Furthermore, after the factory warranties (typically 5 year, 50,000 miles), the car’s value takes a big dip making resale harder and costing more in repairs.
  3. Financing Options-If you can get a car loan at 0% (which many Toyotas and Kias offer), you should definitely take advantage.  Instead of taking the money you get from the sale of your car or putting a lot down, you can put that money into either a high-yield savings or the money market, as long as it earns more than 0% it’s a better investment.                                   I recently looked at 2 cars and broke down the financing options.
    1. 2015 Toyota Rav4 XLE with 29,000 miles-used price 22,400
      1. Financing available on this model was (lowest rate through USAA) 2.49%. Car’s cost over 72 months becomes $24,138
    2. 2017 Toyota Rav4 XLE new with 0 miles-new price 26,500
      1. Financing through Toyota at 0% car’s cost over 72 months remains the same, 26,500

Between these two options I balanced the little more than $2,000 difference. On one hand the new car comes with 2 years of free maintenance and oil changes.  They also include 5 year, 50,000 bumper to bumper warranty. These perks and the fact that I am buying a car that I can later sell as “first owner” and newer, with fewer miles made the decision clear for me and my family, new car wins.

If you decide to go with the new car route you should wait until the end of the year. During this time dealers are trying to get rid of that year’s stock so you can get great deals on new cars. If you can get in on a weekday they will give you further discounts. Also, try to garner loyalty by going back to a dealer from whom you have purchased before because dealerships do value those relationships (my personal dealership gave us an extra $1000 off for that relationship).

And as always, don’t be afraid to walk away!

 

Ensuring Success with Mail-In Rebates

Mail in rebates are a strange beast. We are in an era of everything online, fast, immediate so the idea of mailing in a receipt and wait for a check in the mail is kind of foreign for most of us.

I wish people weren’t afraid of them because I am here to say, they DO work!

I have a list of ways to ensure you get your rebate no mater what:

cashback

  1. Be over-inclusive-By this I mean if the rebate asks for “the original UPC” I often collapse the box and send the WHOLE THING. I started doing this 12 years ago when a company said they could not “verify the item based on the UPC alone”.  This also helps because a lot of packages have 2 UPCs so it’s hard to know which one to send. By sending the whole box you get rid of the confusion.
  2. Keep a copy of the receipt-If the rebate asks for the original receipt MAKE A COPY of it for your records! This tip comes from an electronics company that had a mail in rebate for $50 on a $200 item. I sent in the receipt and the company said they never got it. I learned my lesson.
  3. Write Legibly-Even if your address is clear on the envelope, if it’s not clear on the form they can refuse to send you the check. Do not give them any reason to deny to claim!
  4. Put the correct email address-I used to put fake email addresses because I did not want to get SPAM. Unfortunately, a lot of rebate companies will communicate issues or problems with your rebate via email, so make sure you put the right one. in general fill out the form correctly.
  5. IF Rejected-Write or call them! I was recently rejected for a rebate on a item. The item had an online form and I filled it out precisely. A week later I got a letter in the mail saying that I did not purchase a qualifying item. What?? I 1000% did! I had the box to prove it! If only they’d asked for the original UPC! Well, in fine print on the bottom of the letter there was an address to send appeals. I sent in the box, the form, the receipt and crossed my fingers. Alas, I got the check in the mail 2 weeks later! So don’t let a rejection discourage you!
  6. Check your rebate status-Follow up on the company’s preferred method whether it’s a 1-800 number or website. And don’t be afraid to complain! You are not in the wrong to ask for what you are entitled to!
  7. Cash the check ASAP-A lot of times the checks or prepaid cards that companies use for rebates expire within 30 days so make sure you use them as soon as you get them!

Weddings on a Budget

A lot of people have asked me in the past how I managed to keep my wedding last year within budget.  At first I created a spreadsheet of the things I did but then that got too messy so I’ve decided to create a blog post.

  1. Michael’s- DIY wedding invitations. These invitations range from $30-$50 for a box of 30 or 40 and with the coupons Michael’s always has you can get a lot of cheap. We ended up getting 120 invitations for $72. That’s less than $1 per invite AND it includes the RSVP card and a nice card holder, tissue etc.  All you need is a regular printer, inkjet or laserjet. Here’s the one we used:invite
  2. Groupon-We used groupon for our photobooth and it was well worth it! Now a lot of groupons expire but don’t let that dissuade you. I emailed the business owners and asked for an extension on the expiration date and the owner agreed.
  3.  Publix-wedding cake-I know you want the fanciest bakery cake ever but the Publix cake tasted better than our fancy one (we did a Publix grooms cake).
  4. Venue-Choose a venue that lets your bring your own booze-This speaks for itself. If you can find a venue that lets your bring your own alcohol you can just go to Costco for your alcohol and save thousands of dollars. That’s what we did!
  5. Wedding Planner-GET A WEDDING PLANNER-We used Wedding Belles and we could not have been more pleased. I know that you think a wedding planner just costs you money but ours actually SAVED us money. They recommended someone for our centerpieces who was significantly cheaper than any other vendor we spoke with. They save you a lot of headache and money, I promise it’s worthwhile. Not only that but our planners had a day-of emergency kit incudling double sided tape, snacks and more. We could not have survived without them.
  6. Wedding dress-I did the Jenny Yoo dress from Nordstrom.com (using ebates for cashback, duh) which ended up costing me about $212.  I then went to a local tailor to get a custom made sequined ribbon to put around my waist for an additional $25. So total I spent $237 for my dream dress. But there are lots of affordable options including Jcrew Bridal, Macy’s Bridal and even some pre-owned options.  I know you cringe at pre-owned but really, with the prices people sell for you can get a designer dress for the fraction of the cost.
  7. THE RING-I will say it once and I will say it again: Diamonds do not have value. I tried selling a diamond ring and eventually successfully sold it for ONE HALF of the original purchase price. And I was lucky! Check out I do now I don’t.  I know, again you are cringing at the thought of a second hand ring but with the thousands of dollars you will save you can get the ring reset at a jeweler and lose the icky bad joojoo.
  8. Bridesmaid’s Dresses-To help your bridesmaids save money try going a non-traditional route and having them get non-bridesmaids dresses. What I mean is fun cocktail dresses. I chose my from ASOS. By choosing something that’s NOT a bridesmaid dress you are giving them a fighting chance of ever wearing the dress after the wedding. Not only that, but everything with the words “bridal” or “wedding” are automatically marked up 50000000%.  By choosing something non-bridal you are guaranteeing that money will be saved!

Ebates.com Hack to Save Money

Let me begin by saying I love ebates.com. No, I was not paid to write that. My site is not important enough for that.

Simply put, I do all of my shopping online and ebates.com pays me for it. I am going to teach you some hacks to MAXIMIZE your cashback.

I hate trying on clothes in store. I hate fluorescent lights.  Those stupid lights make look like an anemic ICU patient who is ill with what, not sure, but it’s bad all around. So I order all of my clothes online. And other than HM.com, most stores let you return online purchases in store.

So here’s the hack: say I see a shirt at macys.com that’s $15. But shipping and handling is $9.95 (which at macys.com it usually is).  I START my journey at ebates.com. Oh look, Z% cashback, click that button, and go to macys. Then I add one item that’s $85 or more to get free shipping. I usually get one item because it’s easier to return than half a dozen items.

By using this method, you maximize your cashback because you get that Z% x $100 and you only spent $15!

YES, to answer your question, you get to keep the cashback even if you return the items.

It requires some work but to me it’s worth it not to pay shipping and handling.

Tune in next week for my next hack!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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