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HOW CAN I GET A GOOD DEAL ON HOME-IMPROVEMENT ITEMS DURING A HOLIDAY SALE?

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Here are a few tips for working the post-Thanksgiving sales to fill your toolbox and remodel your kitchen.

  1. Shop around. Every retailer from department stores to big-box warehouses to the mom-and-pop shop around the corner is competing for your business this weekend by offering some of the year’s lowest prices. Use the Internet and the telephone to do some comparison shopping before you head out with your checkbook. Some stores will match the lower advertised price from a different store if you have the ad in hand.
  2. Clip store coupons. You’ll find them in the newspaper, online and in the mail. Many stores won’t honor a coupon-only price if you don’t have a coupon in hand when you get to the cashier. Some coupons are for specific items, but most are good anywhere in the store.
  3. Get up early. All weekend long, stores are offering drastic discounts on specific items if you get there during the wee hours. Pay attention to ads for the higher-priced things you want at stores that are offering temporary deals.
  4. Ask for more. Especially at locally owned stores where the owner is on site, negotiate, even on sale items. You might be able to talk him into a greater discount or into throwing in a smaller item for half price if you buy the bigger one there.
  5. Get free delivery. Or 0 percent interest on an 18-month payment plan. Or a free extended warranty. Come right out and ask the sales clerk what other discounts or perks you can get.
  6. Bundle up. Some stores will offer the holiday sales price and then some if you buy more than one appliance, piece of furniture or big-ticket kitchen accessory—like a countertop plus cabinets—at once. Even if a “bundling” deal isn’t advertised, ask for it. A caution: Just as you can try to bundle items to get a lower price, the seller might try to get you to buy more than you want or need by offering a generous deal on the extras. Even a blowout deal isn’t a good one if you overbuy to get it.
  7. Deck the halls a little later. The closer it gets to Christmas, the less expensive Christmas decorations become. If you wait for a few weeks before buying your new lights or your artificial tree, you might get a better deal—although the pickings will be slimmer.
  8. Don’t rely on the sales price alone to determine value. If you’re buying an appliance or a tool, for instance, compare the energy efficiency and operating costs of the models you like. The Energy Guide label on an appliance will help you estimate how much it will cost to operate and compare it to similar models. If the difference it makes on your month utility bill is significant—especially when you add it up over the 10- to 20-year life of the appliance—it might be worth it to go with a slightly more expensive, more energy-efficient model than the one that’s on sale but is an energy guzzler.
  9. Shop online, but buy in the store. Retailers are offering some juicy, online-only bargains this weekend and on Cyber Monday. Be aware that manufacturers of most kinds of flooring, gas fireplaces, barbecue grills, some power tools and a lot of furniture refuse to honor the warranty on any product that a consumer purchases from a Web site.
  10. Look beyond the mall. Things aren’t the only sale items this weekend. Service providers from plumbers to air quality specialists to exterminators to handymen are offering specials on repairs, upgrades and installation to help you get ready for the onslaught of holiday houseguests.
  11. Take a breath. There’s no need to succumb to pressure from a sales clerk to make a big purchase that you’re not ready for just because it’s on sale this weekend. You’ll get a few more chances in the coming weeks. Examples: Super Saturday— the last Saturday before Christmas—shows up with tremendous, last-minute deals. Clip the coupons from the Christmas Day newspaper, and you’ll save a pile of cash at Dec. 26 sales. Wait until the last day of the month, and you could reap even greater savings on items like washers, dryers and refrigerators because sales reps at some stores will be trying to fill sales quotas then. Or put off your purchase until January, when stores will be pushing next year’s models out the door at rock-bottom prices to make room for next year’s inventory.
  • Sanderson Ford

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