How We Saved $500 While Christmas Shopping

It’s official … we’ve decided to bite the bullet.  Throughout our nine years of marriage, my wife and I have always considered ourselves to be pretty wise with our money.  Yes, there are the occasional impulse buys and intermittent nights out to dinner with our kids.  But overall, we have managed to live within our means while being (or attempting to be) content with what we have. One of the major areas in our lives in which this stands true is in the area of our furniture.  In fact, the only major piece that we’ve ever purchased was an entertainment armoire for our TV.  Other than that, everything that our family has was either given to us by friends and family or was found at an extremely low price. So, after nine years, we’ve decided to update our living room completely, including the aforementioned armoire and television.  After spending hours in the furniture store and picking out the right sofa and entertainment center, it was time for me to get to the fun part…picking out my (ahem…”our”) new TV. Anyone who has begun the process of shopping for a new TV within the past two years has very quickly found out that there is an entire universe of brands and features to sift through and decipher.  One has to face the decision of Plasma vs. LCD vs. LED, while unpacking terms such as “refresh rates”, “HDMI” and “contrast ratios.” What started out as something that I thought would be fun ended up with me becoming increasingly discouraged that I would never find the “right” TV for my family’s basic needs given all of these confusing features.   Thankfully, I found three key websites that ultimately saved me $500 (and countless hours of research) this week and by implementing the same strategy that I used, you can likely save $500 too! 1. ConsumerReports.org Consumer Reports is a publication put out by Consumers Union, an independent and nonprofit consumer testing organization that tests a myriad of products through their in-house testing laboratory.  Subscribers have two options: Buy the magazine publication or subscribe to the online version.  I personally subscribe to the online version due to its convenience and it’s price tag of only $26 per year. Considering all of the buying advice and reviews that I’ve obtained over the years, it has paid for itself and then some.  While opinions may vary as to what consumer reporting agency rates the highest, I have never gone wrong with Consumer Reports after using them for over 10 years for all of our major purchases, including our vehicles.  There is now also a Consumer Reports iPhone App, which is an extremely useful tool that can help you make your decisions on the go. 2. CNET.com Another consumer reporting website that’s perfect for any and all technology and electronics shoppers is CNET.com.  This site is the best destination for technology product reviews, news, price comparisons, videos, and podcasts. They are unbiased and put each product through a battery of tests, ultimately rating each product on a 5-star system while adding “editor’s picks” and offering hundreds of user reviews. With the combination of these two sites, you will have more than enough information and personal reviews to make the most informed decision possible when it comes to the item that you’re looking for.  In my case, both ConsumerReports.org and CNET.com helped me to know exactly what to look for in an HDTV while also helping me to know what features to ignore.  The best part was that I was able to narrow it down to one specific brand and model based on all of the ratings and reviews by the editors of these sites.  It was at that point that the REAL savings began as I browsed the next site on the list. 3. BFAds.net This site was the clincher for me and is the #1 reason that I saved $500 this past week.  The name, “BFAds” is short for “Black Friday Ads.”  Here’s how it happened for me: Once I narrowed it down to what I wanted, I simply went to this site and typed in the keywords for the product that I wanted.  Then, it brought up a list of stores that offered that exact TV but at deeply discounted prices for Black Friday.   In my case, it was offering the TV that I found for $500 cheaper on Black Friday!  Then, I simply took that list to different stores and negotiated the price to see if they would match the offer. Editor’s Note: Although Black Friday and the weekend are over, bookmark this website to come back next year. It’s a great tip and you’ll save loads of money ! In my experience, I found it most helpful to first and foremost take some time to do the research on the subject of what you’re looking for. Then, when you’ve navigated the gauntlet of options, you will educated yourself enough to narrow down your choices to one or two specific products. It is at this point that you are now ready to price shop among the various sites out there, ultimately guaranteeing that you will be able to get the best deal out there for the item that you are looking for.  By using this “method” to narrow it down, it can save you countless hours and hundreds of dollars (depending on the product). What types of deals or tips have you found that have saved you time and money this year?  Meet me in the comments! Image by  Aleksandra Zaitseva / Shutterstock Related Articles: The Online Shopper’s Toolkit 8 Tips To Save Money On Your Christmas Shopping Walmart’s Pre-Black Friday Sale and Deals Why It Pays To Shop Around Can You Save Money by Spending More? 5 Things NOT To Buy In November I just saved $330 by switching to Geico Adam Simon is a devoted Christian, husband, and father of four. At age 19, his life was dramatically changed by God, forever transforming his life to one of unwavering passion and service to Christ. Today, through his writing, speaking, and love of God, Adam shares his personal message of faith and family with people everywhere. You can reach out to Adam directly at asimon126@gmail.com and through Facebook & Twitter . The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Also, many of the CPF articles help us pay the bills by using affiliate relationships with Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Find out more here .

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How We Saved $500 While Christmas Shopping

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