Cash Back Archives

How I Bought a $1200 55-inch HDTV for $472.96

Behold the power of eBay. A Vizio E550VL 55-inch Full HD 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV (retail new $1199.07) for $472.96 (and four and half hours five and a half, due to traffic, of my time). How did I get this price on this television? eBay cash back, gas perks, credit card rewards and being a clever searcher is how I got this price. 2_thumb3

Auction’s Ending Price: $503.00 (Link)
Gift Cards Purchased: $500, $1 off a gal * 15.8 gallons = $15.80
eBay Cash back: 7%, $35.21 back
Credit Card Cash back: 2%, $10.06 back

Cost: $503 – 15 – 35.21 – 10.06 = $441.96

Downside? It’s a local pickup and its about 2 hours away. It’s worth it, but its going to run about $31 in gas.

Total Cost: $472.96 and 4 hours of driving

How did I find such a good deal? Well to get the cash back you can follow my previous post about getting the best cash back from eBay. As for the search, you have to think about it this way – eBay’s main advantage is the audience. You put up a crazy voodoo doll head on eBay, there is a chance that someone of the 1,000,000’s of people who use eBay is interested. If you went down to your local flea market and let 400 people see it, you might find someone to buy it as well, but it is less likely. Ebay’s main advantage is a large audience, that is what you pay the fees for as a seller.

The amount of people interested in a less than $500 55’’ E550VL 55-inch Full HD 1080p HDTV, a lot.How many people interested in driving to Indiana and picking it up locally, A heck of a lot less. So when I did my search I limited it to 150 miles from my Zipcode, Local Pickup Only. Sadly it was towards the higher end of my range of distance, but my time isn’t as valuable.

Some of you are saying – That’s a very uncommon price, but honestly I was upset I paid as much as I did! The exact same TV on eBay ended previously for $450 Local Pickup – Someone had an opportunity to get one for roughly $50 less and if they were actually local and didn’t have to spend $31 in gas – it could have been under $400! The seller was amazing by the way, it was a couple of brothers running the eBay Store – I would highly suggest them.

cheetah_thumb[4]Part of me hurts for knowing it could have been better, but most of me won’t care after I mount it on my wall.

Speaking of which I was worried about the cost of a mount, but I ordered a Cheetah Mounts APTMM2B Flat Screen TV Wall Mount Bracket for 32-65-Inch Plasma LED LCD TV for right around $25 off amazon. It even comes with a level and cables and has great reviews.

There still are deals on eBay. You just have to find them.

EBay Bucks Close Loophole on Gold Bullion

credit-suisse-gold-barsI have to say, I’m disappointed that I missed this journey. If you are looking to invest in gold Bullion – this might be worth reading.

Effective 10/01/11 – EBay Bucks are no longer offered on gold bullion. You can still however realize 2% cash back on your credit card and gas perks by purchasing gift-cards (Up to $5000 every six months per account).

I personally need to wait until Kroger is offering 2x points per gift card on EBay.

Lets say you invest $2000 through a reputable seller on EBay on Bullion.

$2000 * ($.20 a gallon / $50 dollars) * 12 – 15 gallons =  $96 – $120 cash back from gas perks+ 2% from Credit Card = $136 – $160, which is 6.8% – 8.0% off your bullion. Might be even better if you have a better gas program than my local Kroger. Not to mention if you are smart enough you may be able to get the auction for 2-7% lower than fair market value.

If you get it for fair market value or below fair market value on EBay from a good seller and you planned on buying bullion– Why not? You also get buyer protection through eBay.

This actually sounds somewhat appealing to me as an investor because normally I’m paying a commission on my securities – not the other way around.

I don’t own any gold at the moment, but I have considered it.

The reasons I ‘m not crazy about gold as an investment:

1. Its liquid, but usually only usually if you are willing to take a small discount. Gold is going for $2000 an ounce, but can you actually get $2000 an ounce? Will you end up giving away some percentage in the actual sale of the gold. Will you have to arrange a sale through a third party – its just more work than a stock sale.

2. Need physical storage.

3. Gold gains are taxed as a collectible (28%), which is not as favorable as the long-term capital gain tax rate of 15%.

4. You need to do your research on gold ownership, quality, grade, certificate, etc.

So gold at times doesn’t sound very appealing to me, but if I was able to buy gold for say, 7% lower than market rate by bidding on 30 auctions and winning 1 and get back another 5-7% through rewards – Yes I would be interested in trying it.

I have to believe people were doing this on a large scale back when was active for EBay.  Could you imagine it back in the good old days of (For those of you who are not familiar, used to offer cash back deals for using their search engine, Microsoft was trying to buy people’s attention and it failed miserably).

I am determined to give bullion + cash back a try. Stay tuned.

How to save 18.8% to 22.6% at Home Depot or Lowes

Lowes Coupon 2012Want to save money at Home Depot or Lowes? Save thousands of dollars with this technique.

18.8% without being a contractor. Impossible right? I did say this was “Epic” finances didn’t I?

Let me give a brief reason why this was so important to me, I bought a house that needed rehabbing. How much rehabbing? $25,000 worth. I did it all myself.

I did not take advantage of the full 18.8% to 22.6% due to time constraints, I averaged probably more like 14%, do not fail me. I am giving you amazing advice.  I am so happy with this advice I’m going to add a PayPal donation to my site (Button is on the right). If I save you hundreds or thousand of dollars, why not toss me a little something? Your choice. Regardless I hope it serves you well!

The are many ways of doing this, but I am going to offer you several ways.

The Easiest and Best Method of Saving Money at Home Depot or Lowes.

Lets start with the foundation of our journey. 10% off Lowes Coupons. If you are doing any major work on your home or business you need to obtain purchase Lowes coupons. They are honored at Home Depot for 10% as well.

Lowes Coupon 2012

Where are they? For now they are found at the Post Office. Where at the post office? In address mail forwarding packets, NOT the online packets – the non-internet changing packets. They are kept on the counter sometimes in the lobby but most of the time they have them behind the counter.

This has gotten tricky and messy. You don’t want to be the weirdo that is asking for those packets,  I don’t even want to drive to the post office. I’m lazy.  Also they started put in dummy coupons – instead of 10% off up to $5000 of purchase, they have things like $5 off $50 (which are trash comparatively). Well remember when I mentioned some post offices keep them on the counter in the lobby? Well most post offices do this because people steal them all to sell.

Coupon Price on Ebay – Roughly $2 –$3 each depending on timing. Note, make sure they are not expired.

This is the start of our journey. 10% off. Getting $3000 worth of new flooring, $300 cashback at the time of checkout. (Did I mention there was a paypal donation button?). But there is oh so much more.

Next Step, Buying Giftcards.

There are three methods for this, which is good because it presents options. I will offer you my best option first.

Option #1: – Where you can buy Lowes and Home Depot Coupons for 7% Off (Current rate). Did I mention, they TAKE CREDIT CARD? Another 2% on your credit card. That is 9% cash back.


Option #2:
Buy off Ebay – Approximate savings, 3% plus Ebay bucks of 2% (or more depending on promotion, NOTE SOME PROMOTIONS EXCLUDE GIFTCARDS).  Plus Credit Card – 2% more. That’s 3+2+2 = 7% cash back (or more depending on promotions).

Option #3:
Buy Gift Cards from your local grocery store for gas perks. Kroger has run promotions in the past for 4x points, which is the only time I would take this option over the first two options. With my local Kroger I get $.1 off per gallon for  every $50 spent and when its 4x promotion that is $.4 off. You also get back 2% from credit card.

$.1 * 12 = $1.2 / $50 = 2.4% Cashback (All the Time)
$.2 * 12 = $2.4 / $50 = 4.8% Cashback (Only when 2x Gift Card Promotion)
$.4 * 12 gallons = $4.8 / $50 = 9.6% Cashback (Only when 4x Gift Card Promotion)

So lets call it roughly 4.4% – 11.6% cash back depending on grocery store and promotion and size of gas tank (I actually get more like 15 gallons at a time which greatly increases all of the cash back.)

Why can this option be good? When it can be done without delay. Obviously when they have the 4x promotion at my Kroger it is more than worth it, because if I get 15 gallons a time at 4x promotion its 12% cash back + 2% CC which is 14% cash back.

Combine the savings and go to town. No limits except whatever your gas perks program limits you too.

Option #1 – Buy 10% coupons, Buy Gift Cards from and get 8.86% discount = 18.8% off

Option #2 – Buy 10% coupons, Buy Gift Cards from Ebay and get 7% discount = 17% off.

Option #3 – Buy 10% coupons, Buy Gift Cards from Grocery store get back 4.4% to 14% cash back = 14.4% to 24.0% off.

Did I mention I have a paypal donation button on my website?

When you go to home depot and pull this off and save 18% off on $2000 worth of goods, that’s $360 off your $2000. Gasp.

Side note to all of this, I saw a guy in Lowes buy appliances when I was looking for something and he was literally in the process of checking out for $3200 something — without a 10% coupon. I almost passed out. I scrambled pulled my wallet out and found one… “WAIT WAIT!!!!” I handed it to him. Cashier scanned, –$320 off.

“Thanks – that means a lot”

“No problem”  (but what I was really thinking, give me half.)

Next day, was short a coupon for myself…. *Faceplant* The guy was literally holding his child (who was sleeping) when checking out with all of his fancy appliances. I don’t regret it. Sure it ended up costing me about about $40 the next day – But “Lisa needs braces” (I assume his child’s name was Lisa, and it’s a The Simpson’s Joke)

Go out and SAVE!

I shop on eBay and I am always searching for any way to save money on eBay purchases. To me eBay has always been a numbers game. eBay introduced a program a while back called “Ebay Bucks” and my epic mission to game the system began.

It works like this, you bid and win an auction. After paying for the item, eBay credits your eBay account with 2% back in “eBay Bucks.” These eBay bucks are given to you in quarterly certificates. Oh how delightful, especially for those who have made buying on ebay a business.

I myself frequently buy and resell items I buy on ebay for profit. How do I sell them? Well that’s for another article, but for now you should know that I was buying up to $7,000 a month in “inventory” off ebay.

So lets do the numbers, $7000 * 2% = $140 a month. used to be another program to get back 36% of the sellers fees as a buyer. Lets call this a conservative 2% cashback for ebay.  That’s another $140 right? Well it used to be. However Ebay canned the program in mid 2011 and started exploring their own options.

I mean think about it. Bigcrumbs and all of the other programs were just acting as a funnel for already current ebay buyers to get back another 2% while they took a piece. Ebay was right to make this move, although I would have loved to see Bigcrumbs stay active for ebay. Bigcrumbs is still active for many good stores like HP,,, Nordstroms, and Sears for example. If you are buying something online – This is FREE MONEY.

So why am I mentioning this? Well when the program with Bigcrumbs ended ebay said they were exploring their own options right? Well they have had several promotions, but this month – its pretty Epic.

7% BACK through Ebay bucks.

First off you need to subscribe to ebay bucks.  Basically you log in your ebay account and click subscribe. Boom, Free money. One note I learned though, you cannot snipe auctions (bid within last few minutes) – For all the details check out the FAQ. (signup) (FAQ)

I did say 7% right? Well get this. If during checkout of an item you purchase you select “Pay Later through Paypal” you get an additional 5% until the end of October. That is 7%. Wait a second, You said 10%! All these numbers are confusing!

Well here is the additional 3%+. First off, the obvious one. Credit Card. 2% cashback. There are several ways to get 2% which I will cover in a later article, but for now lets assume you have a 2% cashback card. That’s 9%. Note you can simply pay off the Pay Later virtually immediately (have to wait for the balance to show up). Be sure to remember though.

Now for final percentage. Gas Perks. Many people overlook this perk. I myself shop at Kroger (as many do), but there are many Programs. Kroger, Giant Eagle, Biggs, and plenty of local deals. Go to the grocery store and buy gift-cards.

One little secret here. Most credit cards that give back 2% for gas and grocery and only 1% for other purchases will classify these cards as groceries and give you the 2%. Kroger is NOT the best program in the nation – it is actually pretty terrible, but I get .20 per gallon for $50 of giftcards. If you fill up 12 gallons at a time that is $1.20 off for $50 purchased (2.4%) back.

9% + 2.4% = 11.4% or more if you have a bigger tank. If you are a shopper at giant eagle, it would be double the perks – and would be 13.8% cashback.

There are some details you need to know.

First, you can only use $5000 worth of ebay giftcards per account per 6 month period.


Gas Programs vary a lot, Kroger’s is actually VERY restrictive. They only let me get up to $1.00 off per fill up. ”

You need to have at least .01 that is put on the paypal pay it later. You cannot use giftcards completely. Therefore if your bill is $107.15 you need to use $100 of giftcards and put $7.15 on the pay it later.


I made a personal purchase that I will also share with you.


I bought a rebel t2i, body only for $464.99. Used Priced on Amazon – $516.99($509 +7.99 shipping.)

$464.99 – $31.64 (7% of the price minus shipping) – $9.29 (2% cashback on credit card) – $13.50 (450/$50 gift cards = .90 per gallon off x 15 gallons)

$464.99 –$54.43 = $410.56 — $106.43 off vs. best amazon price.

I know what you are thinking, that’s a big ticket item so it looks very dramatic. You are right, but you know what would look even more dramatic? $5000 gift cards in a single transaction.. say a used car, real estate, or other high priced item.




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