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The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

I might get tarred and feather on a PF website for saying this, but I just bought myself a new TV.  There wasn’t anything wrong with my old TV.  I just wanted a new one.  Before you start typing your response, let me explain.

Want versus Need

The idea of a new TV actually occurred to me in the beginning of the year.  For whatever reason, I decided I wanted a slightly bigger TV.  So, do I go right out and by one?  Nope.  Since the TV is a “want” and not a “need”, I have to use my allowance.

Yes, I get an allowance, so does my wife. We each receive a set amount each month to spend on whatever we want, no questions asked.  The rest of our income is for joint expenses and generally reserved for “needs”.  I decided that I wanted to have the TV by January at the latest.  My wife and I host a Super Bowl party every year and I wanted to have the TV by then.  It was then I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to save enough for the TV with just my allowance alone.  So, I made it known that I was willing to become a staff writer.  I needed to supplement my allowance with additional income.  Since this extra money is outside our normal income, I am able to keep all of it.

Pricing TVs

After I had saved for several months, I decided I should see how much my TV was going to cost.  My first stop was to Consumer Reports to see the ratings for TVs.  I settled in on a 51-inch Plasma from Samsung.  I then began to search around for the best price I could find.  I saw prices ranging from $649 all the way up to $750.  The $649 price was at both Sears and Best Buy.  Surprisingly, Amazon was not the lowest price.   The price was actually lower than I expected.  When I began saving, I had expected to pay about $1,000 for the TV, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn I’d only have to spend $649.


At this point, I began researching to see which of the stores had a better rewards program offering.  I had signed up for both some time ago.  It turned out both stores offered a 5% bonus on purchases.  I was leaning towards Sears, as I didn’t think I would need any more electronics for awhile.  It was about this time that I noticed Discover’s cash back bonus category for the 4th quarter.  It was a 5% bonus for on-line purchases.  I realized that I could buy my TV on-line with Sears and get 5% cash back.  I was pretty excited.

About a week or so later, I found a BankAmeri Deal that was even better.  I have a Discover card for my allowance purchases and my wife and I have a joint Bank of America card we use for the household.  The separate cards help me track expenses more efficiently.  The BankAmeri Deal I found was for 10% cash back on a Sears purchases, either on-line or in the store.  I did not have to do anything else other than use my Bank of America card to make the purchase.  The 10% cash back would be in addition to the 1% back we normally receive on the card.

So, for simply buying my TV at the right time, I was able to receive 11% cash back.  It was also about this time that Sears sent me a $5 coupon to go shopping.  With all of that, I pulled the trigger on the purchase.

Total Savings

Overall, I was quite happy with the money that I saved on my TV.  Had I simply purchased it straight off of Amazon, I would have paid $30 more.  By paying attention to the rewards on my credit cards, I was able to secure an additional savings of $81.13.  That includes the 10% bonus for buying it with Bank of America card, the 1% normal cash back reward and the $5 coupon from Sears.  I quite enjoy the new TV.  I also am enjoying the 12% discount I received too.