Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Art of Shoptimization

Shoptimization: The art of evaluating internet deals in order to pay the lowest possible price for an item or items. See Software, Financial.

Explanation: Yesterday, I made my annual TurboTax purchase. This is always a very exciting time in the Jeremy's Status Message household. After several days of monitoring internet deals, I decided that my best option was to purchase TurboTax Deluxe With State at Staples for $39.99 (a $5 internet-only discount off the normal $44.99 price) and take a $60 rebate on Quicken Deluxe ($59.99) along with it. Ordinarily, I would look for the best possible deal on TurboTax and take any deal I could find with it, but this year I'm in the market for a new version of Quicken, and I need the Quicken Deluxe version for 401(k) tracking and such, which you normally can't get for free with TurboTax.

Normally, I would be looking for Antivirus software - usually you can get Norton Antivirus for free with tax software, so I buy it and hold on to the free copy until my subscription runs out later in the year. Last year, though, my subscription ran out very late in the year, and I think I can get by without actually making a Norton purchase this year. Yes, I know that means not getting new antivirus updates for a week or so, but it's a risk I'm willing to take, especially after the last time I installed Norton.

So this year, I was actually looking at an OfficeDepot deal that offered the same $60 rebate (actually 2 rebates) on Quicken Deluxe, but they never posted one of the rebates on their web site. I even called tech support and they said they would fix it and never did. Luckily, I looked again at Staples and saw that they have the same deal, plus the $5 instant coupon on TurboTax. Throw in my Staples Rewards membership and the convenience of their Easy Rebates system, and this was a no brainer.

So, I knew the deal I wanted. The next step is to maximize that deal. The best offers I could find were a 12% store-only coupon (which means I would lose my $5 instant rebate on TurboTax) or a $10 off $100 coupon they had emailed me. I know what you're thinking, and yes, I could have probably bought a $20 off $100 coupon on eBay, but I never trust those and I think it's more hassle than it's worth. Doing the math, $12 off $104.98 was not as good as $10 off $99.98, so I went with my coupon. Unfortunately, when they say $100, they mean $100, so I had to buy a $0.58 eraser to render the coupon valid. A small price to pay for a better deal.

There you go. That's my shoptimization process in a nutshell. Stay tuned - maybe someday I'll talk to you about the last LEGO set I bought. It took three months to find the perfect deal, but it was TOTALLY worth it. Ooh! There was also my camera, which I ordered for store pickup with a sick coupon on a day when I was in the Delaware area. That was a major coup as well.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Herman read the entire message. And found your process pleasing to the heart.
The rest of us made grocery lists in our heads, did six other tasks and wondered at your sanity.
Your genetics are showing.