Appendix 1: Products Buying Checklist

STRATEGY NO. 1: DON’T BUY ANYTHING

  avoid the purchase
[address my need without buying]

  wait until later
[season’s end, next sale, new models]

  use what I already own
[repair, fix, upgrade, closet shop]

  make it myself
[filtered water, cleaners, work lunches]

  get it FREE
[Freecycle, C-Span, ManyBooks.net]

  borrow
[library, friends, neighbors]

  trade or barter
[media, toys, duds]

  rent
[tools, sports gear, tuxedos]

  flip
[buy, use awhile, resell at profit]

  try Group Buynamics
[buy with friends]

STRATEGY NO. 2: BUY SOMETHING ELSE

  buy used
[eBay, Goodwill, yard sales]

  buy the flawed
[seconds, dents, demos, returns]

  buy other technologies
[shovels for snow blowers]

  buy other models
[fewer features, gen3 not gen4]

  buy a part instead of a whole
[upgrades, disk drives]

  buy generic
[bleach, batteries, frozen veggies]

  buy multipurpose merchandise
[heater/fans, 2-way vacs]

  stack tactics to save more
[combine two or more of the above]

STRATEGY NO. 3: RESEARCH THE PRODUCT

 read buying guides and product reviews

□  for big ticket items, read buying guides [search web]

□  ConsumerSearch.com, Consumer Reports

□  Amazon reviews and bestseller lists

□  CNET, for electronics

□  YouTube

□  web reviews [search for name, model no., “reviews”]

□  sources unique to this product [magazines, clubs, blogs]

  ask around [friends’ opinions, chat rooms]

  try before I buy [loaners, rentals, demos, samples]

  consider hidden ownership costs

□  install/set-up

□  disposal [old TVs, tires]

□  storage

□  service and upkeep

□  accessories [cases, rechargers]

□  frequently replaced components [filters, toner]

□  energy use

□  insurance

□  fees, subscriptions, licenses

□  tax impacts [ownership taxes, deductions, credits]

  consider repeating Strategy Nos. 1-2

STRATEGY NO. 4: FIND LOW PRICES

  shop around

□  search price comparison sites

□  visit web stores not listed on comparison sites

□  search for low prices offline [call stores, read ads]

  delay buying until sales arrive
[search web: “best time to buy xx”]

  look for “special offers” on prices

□  coupons and codes

□  group discounts [consult lists of discounting sellers for each of my groups]

□  rebates

□  volume discounts

□  discounts for preferred form of payment

□  deal-a-day websites [Groupon, LivingSocial]

  seek out “deal sweeteners”
[terms other than price]—

□  freebies [delivery, accessories]

□  store loyalty programs [rewards, gift cards]

□  credit card benefits [rewards, extended warranties, price protection]

□  zero percent financing

  look for “stacking”
[sales+special offers+deal sweeteners]

  weigh transaction costs
[sales taxes, shipping, my own time]

STRATEGY NO. 5: PICK A LOW PRICE SELLER

  run background checks
[past dealings, friends’ experience, customer feedback, time in business]

  review the seller’s policies

□  extended warranties

□  price matching before and after the sale

□  rain checks and back orders

□  surcharges for credit card purchases

□  returns/exchanges

  research product support
[repair sites, parts availability, updates]

  research customer service
[JP Power, Consumer Reports, theacsi.org]

  once I pick a seller, look for discounted gift cards
[e.g., CardCash.com]

  once I pick a seller, consider haggling
[on prices, deal sweeteners, shipping costs]

STRATEGY NO. 6: AVOID PITFALLS

  refuse to pay interest on products
[revisit strategy nos. 1-2]

  buy the right size
[measure twice, buy once]

  avoid stuff that owns me
[spas, RVs, ATVs]

  sweep away dust gatherers
[pasta makers]

  never pay extra for prestige

  beware of buying too cheap
[seek values, not lowest prices]

  decline to be an “early adopter”
[newest iWhatevers]

  reject fads
[Beanie Babies]

  read contracts before signing them

  say no to middlemen who add no value

  plan ahead for big ticket items

  beware of deals “too good to be true”

  sidestep the “bait and switch”

  forgo bells and whistles

STRATEGY NO. 7: FOLLOW UP

  confirm terms of sale
[check receipt, shipping manifest]

  inspect for imperfections
[dings, defects, malfunctions]

  register with manufacturer
[for recalls, upgrades, news]

  retain receipts, packaging, manuals
[returns, resale, taxes]

  monitor price drops
[seller or credit card might match]

  visit chat rooms
[vehicles, appliances, software]

  buy duplicates
[if item discontinued]

  make the item last
[know rules for operation, upkeep]

  keep a “checklist savings log”
[see Chapter 47]

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