Sep 04 2008

How do you find the lowest price?

Shane and I are in the market for a car seat (go figure). We don’t want to buy it too soon, since seats do have an expiration date. But then again, I’m due in less than four months, so we’d better get this show on the road before too long.

After tons of research, we’ve chosen the seat we want. Now, all we have to do is get it for the absolute best price we can find.

My question to you: How do you find the lowest price on a particular item?

I tend to start with a basic Google search. I’ll hit up the “shopping” tab to see a list of prices for similar products.

Next, I’ll check out Amazon.com and eBay. In our case, I won’t be shopping on eBay, since I want to make sure this seat truly is brand-new.

Now that I have a general idea of the lowest price out there (about $170), I can keep this number in mind when I head to brick and mortar stores. I know that with a physical store, I’ll have to factor in sales tax (about $12 in my case, if I can find it for $170). With some online retailers, I’ll have to consider shipping costs.

My last step is to find online coupon codes and check to see if Ebates* or MyPoints offer incentives for shopping with particular online retailers.

To find codes, I just do a quick Google search and enter the product name with “coupon code” or something of that nature. I usually have a list of sites from which to explore.

In the case of our car seat, I think the cheapest way to get it will be through Amazon.com. Right now, the price is $173.01 (and, bummer, it has gone up about $10 in the last week or so).

This price includes free shipping.

I found a discount code thanks to BabyCheapskate: “visababy” which will get me 10 percent off if I pay with a Visa debit or credit card. This code is valid until mid-October, I believe. Ten percent off will bring my price to $155.71. That’s much cheaper than I could find it anywhere else, and about $45 cheaper than I could get it at Target.

If I had a pile of loose change, I’d take it to the CoinStar at my grocery. If you opt to get a gift certificate for an online retailer (Amazon.com is one), you won’t be charged the $0.08 or whatever it is per dollar for the convenience of letting them count your change. I don’t have at least $5 worth of change (the minimum for getting a gift certificate) so I’ll skip this step.

Finally, I’ll enter my info with priceprotectr.com to make sure the price doesn’t go up after I’ve purchased it. Sometimes, you can get a price adjustment on the difference.

*Affiliate link. No other links in this post are affiliates or paid ads.



10 Responses to “How do you find the lowest price?”

  1. That’s more or less exactly what I do. For big ticket items (that aren’t for emergencies) I always take a couple of weeks to check out Consumer Reports, surf the internet for deals, and shop on Google and eBay.

  2. Wait a minute. What do you mean car seats have an expiration date? I have never heard that before.

  3. Mercedes: Car seats are usually good for about 6 years. There should be an expiration date on the label somewhere. The plastic can start to breakdown after that date.

    Just something to think about re: car seats. We bought the infant seat with my 1st. Used it for about 3 months till he & the seat got too heavy to carry. We really didn’t use it out much, because he liked to be held & I preferred wearing him in a sling. My 2nd was a premie and had to pass a car seat test before he could come home. He almost didn’t. If he hadn’t in the infant seat, they would have had us use a convertible (rear to forward seat.) Very seldom do they have babies fail the test in those. After we got him home, we ended up using a convertible instead of the infant seat anyway. So the infant seat that I thought we had to have, got very little use. I wish I had skipped it in the first place. Just my experience though. Have friends who love the infant seats.

    Heather G’s last blog post..Labor Meme

  4. Mercedes,
    There is a date stamped on a car seat (usually 5 years from date of manufacture). After that time, they reccomend you get rid of the seat b/c the plastic, foam, etc ages and is not as safe if you were to be in an accident. And if you are in an accident, no matter how minor, make sure you replace the seat!

    Kacie, you are doing your research!Great job on finding a great price. When we had our son 2 years ago, we were lucky enough to use my MIL’s discount @ Walmart. We made all our “big” purchases there and saved a ton!

  5. I purchased both my kids’ carseats at albeebaby.com – they had the best prices for what I was looking for. I bought ones in discontinued colors that were way cheaper than the regular ones. yes, that means they were a little older (last year’s models generally) but the seats last 6 years and my kids won;t be in the same seat for 5 years each.

    I was buying Britax though, i have no idea if they have great closeouts on other brands. I’m watching their right now for when the Frontiers go on sale so I can get one for my son. :)

    paidtwice’s last blog post..The Saga of the Scale and a Tomato Update

  6. “I know that with a physical store, I’ll have to factor in sales tax (about $12 in my case, if I can find it for $170).” Actually, you need to account for this even if you buy it online. Just because the *store* doesn’t collect state sales tax for you doesn’t mean you aren’t still obligated to pay it when your taxes come due. See, for instance, http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/faq.html#5 (Every state probably has this same info on their state tax website under FAQs.)

    There’ll be a line somewhere on your state taxes that tells you to figure out what you owe for this. I use TurboTax and it’s just another question in the interview, something like “How much did you spend on online and mail order purchases from out of state companies?” Then it figures out the 5% tax for me and adds it on my bill.

  7. I do a little comparison shopping online and then I look for coupon codes and things like that. If I’m lucky, I can find one. I should really do eBates. I don’t even know if I’ve signed up yet…I may have once, but I don’t remember.

    Mrs. Micah’s last blog post..How to Keep Christmas Shopping from Taking Over Your December Paycheck

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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