With the holiday season approaching, many shoppers will be buying high-ticket electronics and appliances, as well as computers and related equipment. It's not uncommon for the prices of these high-ticket electronics to vary from week to week, so watching for sales and coupons can provide big savings.
You can also save big after your purchase by taking advantage of any price fluctuations. Although high-ticket items have the greatest price fluctuations, you can even benefit from price guarantees on smaller purchases like clothing, toys and books.
Many retailers have price guarantees, which basically mean that if the price of the item you purchased goes down within a short time after your purchase, you are entitled to get a refund of the price difference from the retailer.
Up until this year, I was aware of retailers' price guarantees but I never took advantage of them. It seemed that tracking price changes after I had made my purchase required too much effort on my part. Not only that, retailers' price guarantees can vary widely, and some policies include matching competitors' lower prices as well. Unfortunately, I am not organized enough to track prices for an extended period of time at multiple retailers after my purchase.
Fortunately, there are now great Web sites that do the work of tracking prices post-purchase for you. This year I have saved a lot of money with virtually no effort by using these sites to take advantage of price guarantees that retailers have.
Now I use the Web sites Refund Please (www.refundplease.com for Amazon ) and Price Protectr (www.priceprotectr.com) for 52 retailers including Amazon.com to track prices for me. I simply enter my purchase information and e-mail address in one of these sites and if the price drops, the site automatically sends me an e-mail to let me know the details. At that point I contact the retailer to request my credit. That's easy enough for me!
Price Protectr lists 38 retailers' price guarantee policies, and is an excellent resource to learn how to save with these policies. In the past year, I've saved more than $200 in real cash and thousands in "hypothetical" savings as I tested the program using randomly selected, hypothetical purchases.
If you'd like to begin saving with price guarantees, take these simple steps:
Visit Price Protectr (www.priceprotectr.com) to review the retailers with price guarantees and their details. For example, some retailers' policies last only seven days and other policies cover 90 days.
After your purchase, enter the required information into the site. You do not have to provide any personally identifiable information other than your e-mail address. You do not provide any payment information.
If your retailer also matches competitors' lower prices, then you would be wise to enter the same purchase information for the competitor. That way you will be automatically notified if the price drops elsewhere, and you can still contact your retailer for the price adjustment. You will need proof that the item's price is lower at another retailer, so you can print the item's pricing page from the other retailer's Web site or bring its weekly advertising circular from the newspaper.