May 23 2010

I saved on camping gear by splitting a purchase into 3 transactions

UPDATE: I am now aware of use tax that is required when you make online purchases out-of-state. Read more about it here.

After reading about how much fun Ashley and Jes have while camping, and hearing my husband talk about how he wanted to go…I thought, “Well why not?”

Sure, I’m inexperienced and I’m not exactly an outdoorsy person. And I’m a wimp when it comes to mosquitoes and critters and sleeping on the ground. But I can give it a shot and be a good sport about it. My son is sure to love it, and I’m pretty sure my husband will, too. I’ll probably like some aspects (S’mores!). And let’s face it — camping is a really cheap way to get out.

I’m accumulating camping gear (while you can borrow or rent stuff, I am buying most of our gear. It seems that everything except the tent will serve dual purposes, so I’m fine with the start-up costs).

Ashley suggested I check out Target and Walmart for good prices on gear. They do have good prices — but so does Meijer! Oh man. Meijer.

There isn’t a Meijer near me so I almost forgot about the store entirely. Since there isn’t a physical store in Pennsylvania, I didn’t have to pay sales tax on my purchases. That adds up!

From, I made three separate purchases. I first started out through Ebates*, where clicking through that site first earns me 1.5% cash back.

I ended up splitting my purchases into three transactions because I could only use one coupon code per order, and it was the best way I could save some money.

Transaction #1:

Two sleeping bags. I chose these because we’re tall and would prefer long-length bags. I wanted cotton inners and outers because I don’t like slipping around in a polyester bag, plus they are noisy. The weight doesn’t really matter since we won’t be carrying it far. $37.45 each on sale. A similar bag was $57 each (plus tax) at Target — it would have been $122 just for the bags!

The total for those two bags was $74.90. There was a code that I found on RetailMeNot for free shipping on orders over $75. Ten cents shy. Drat.

The shipping would have been $13.95. That’s just too much!

So I hunted around for some other equipment we would need so that I could save money on shipping.

I chose these camp chairs with a little table for $23.99.

My total for the two bags and camp chairs set was $102.84. I did have to pay about $4 in shipping, because the code I had was good for up to $15 worth of free shipping. $4 is better than $14!

Transaction #2:

I did a bit of research and asking around and chose this tent. I hope it serves us well. I wanted one that I could stand upright in and that would have some extra room for our stuff and for Johnny to move around. I wanted a three-season tent because it just isn’t hot in Pennsylvania. We have like two days above 90 degrees a year, it seems — and it’s not really that bad. Nights are cool, even in summers. And I just get cold easily and I would imagine my baby would, too. He’s not as chubby as he once was.

This tent was listed at $179.99 with free shipping already. The same one is listed at $220 on Target with free shipping and a 15% off ($33) discount, so $187 plus tax — $200 total, roughly.

At Meijer, I had a coupon code good for $25 off a $175 purchase, so it brought it down to $154.99 and again, no tax.

Transaction #3:

Because I am a wimp (and for pete’s sake, I’m also pregnant) I insisted on an air mattress. I chose this queen-sized double-high air mattress for $45.38. I bought a separate, battery-operated pump for $12.13. (I bought three foam pads to put underneath the airbed, but from Walmart locally).

My total was $57.51. Shipping would have been $13.95. No thanks — so I kept on searching for something else to add to the order.

I went with this LED lantern for $21.71.

Since it was more than $75 at that point, I went ahead and used the free shipping code that I used in my first transaction.

Total for this one was $79.22.

All told, I spent $337.05 on these purchases from Meijer. I will get 1.5% cash back from Ebates so that’s an extra $5.05 or so back.

Splitting the transaction into 3 allowed me to save $29 on shipping costs. And since I got it from Meijer and didn’t have to pay sales tax, that’s another $23.59 I didn’t have to spend.

Any tips you wanna share with me? What types of items aren’t so obvious to bring, but extremely helpful? Once I get it all, I’ll write another post detailing all that we’ve purchased and the costs.

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8 Responses to “I saved on camping gear by splitting a purchase into 3 transactions”

  1. Hooray! Johnny’s first Camptastic. He’s going to have so much fun, and I think you will like it too once you get the hang of it.
    Be sure not to forget the bug spray, or even a mosquito net. Nothing ruins the outdoors more than bugs and bites galore.

    Have fun camping. Can’t wait to hear more about your adventures!
    .-= Brittany´s last blog ..16 Things Only Found at Chinese Wal-Marts =-.

  2. Your tent is pretty big, but if you ever have a backyard or a big indoor play room, you could always let Johnny and friends “camp” at home when he’s older. I did that with friends, and even though it wasn’t a place away from home, it’s a lot of fun and great for make-believe.

  3. You didn’t have to pay sales tax up front, but that’s because the company isn’t collecting it on behalf of your state. But almost every state requires that YOU pay the sales tax, reporting all online purchases for which you did not pay sales tax when you file your tax return, and paying it at that time.

  4. Do people actually do that? I don’t see how they can enforce it. Yeah, that’s unethical of me I suppose…but really?

  5. Yay for camping! That’s how we took all our family vacations growing up, and I love it. We got to go some many great places that we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

    Now, I’m converting my husband to camping. He kind of feels the same way you do about some of the inconveniences of camping, but he’s coming around. Camping nearly right on the beach in South Carolina for $20/night helped sway him!

    Do you have any plans yet for your first trip? Raccoon Creek is really close, so might be a good place to start. I have a couple of great site #s if you go there (the site makes all the difference!). Ohiopyle is probably my local favorite.

    My one must-have piece of camping gear is a pie iron. I saw your friend’s list on your other post, and if you don’t want to invest in a stove and pans, a pie iron is the way to go. Something similar to this –

    You can make everything in them – french toast, pancakes, or scrambled eggs/omelettes for breakfast; hot lunch meat sandwiches, grilled cheese, or pizzas (my absolute favorite), for lunch or dinner, and all kinds of fun creations with pie filling, chocolate and/or peanut butter for dessert. You can even cook chicken or other meat in them! Between a pie iron or two and some heavy duty foil (you can make packets of meat and potatoes and cook right in the fire, or slit a banana, insert chocolate and peanut butter, wrap, and cook), that’s all the cooking equipment I really need!

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..My To-Do List =-.

  6. WOW! That’s fabulous. I *heart* Meijer. We have that same air mattress for guests and it is great! We’ve had it for a few years. I love camping. I am happy you got a good tent- that is so important! We went camping once and someone *cough MrMoney* forgot the tent poles!!! Don’t ever do that..

    I would recommend easy meals. But of course you’ve probably already thought about that! Umm SUNSCREEN and bug spray. I always forget sunscreen! That’s so bad. I always come back burnt.

    And as far as sales tax- do people really keep track of that? Probably not.

  7. I couldn’t tell from the page but you want to see what kind of floor your tent has. You may need to put a plastic liner underneath it to make sure you don’t get moisture through the floor. Also see if you need to seal the seems. The instructions should say (it might not be a bad idea to do it anyway). You can get seam sealant in a small bottle and apply it to all of the seams to help keep moisture out.

    It may seem obvious, but make sure you put the tent together at home before you go camping! I’ve put together tents losing daylight in the rain and let me tell you it’s not the time to be figuring out where the poles go!

    I always find extra rope helpful. And if you bring an extra tarp you might be able to set up a dining tarp if the weather calls for it.

    And bring toilet paper with you!

    There’s a store called Campmor in NJ that has great gear at good prices. They have a catalog by mail and online that’s worth checking out.
    .-= Craig/FFB´s last blog ..Comparing TV Services With BillShrink =-.

  8. Oh wow! You guys are going to be super prepared! We have a cheap-o tent that cost about $30 at Target. It works in nice weather, but I would not want to get caught in a rainstorm in it. We also don’t have sleeping bags. We typically just load up on old blankets and line the bottom of the tent with them. But again, that probably wouldn’t work if the weather was chilly. Yay, camping! I hope your gear works well for you.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..How to save money on maternity clothes =-.

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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.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

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

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