Extreme savings at Lowes

imageA while ago I stumbled upon a few FlyerTalk posts by Sam_Goh who seemed to know everything in the world about saving money at Lowes.  I reached out to him and asked if he could document his ideas for this blog.  He generously wrote up his best tips for me.  I’ve done my best to summarize and quote Sam’s techniques below.  Hopefully Sam will be reading this and can help clear up any mistakes I’ve made and/or answer questions from readers.

To give you an idea of how big the savings can be, here is the final paragraph of the document Sam sent (bolding is mine):

Using these methods and all the stacking stuff above, I’ve gotten 2 fridges, 2 freezers, a grill, oven, dishwasher, and other stuff for 50%+ off. If you can time it to where you hit closeout season, my best deal all in was a $2699 stainless whirlpool fridge for ~$540. My brother-in-law always asks why we buy the expensive new stuff and why not go for the scratch and dent sales that give 10-15% off, I never mention that > 45% off is my starting point.

Here is a collection of techniques Sam uses.  By stacking many of these techniques together, he averages about 50% off.  We’ll go into each with a bit more detail after the bullet list:

  • Buy gift cards at a discount
  • Every day is 10% off day!
  • Creative coupon use
  • Order online, pickup in-store:
  • 110% Price Match
  • Seasonal and rotating promotions:
    • Buy 2, get $50; buy 3, get $150; buy 4, get $200…
    • 1 price installation

Buy gift cards at a discount

At the time of this writing, there are multiple opportunities to buy Lowes gift cards for 20% off.  See the post “It’s raining gift card deals” for details, and be sure to read the comments of that post for more reader suggestions.  If you miss out on these deals, go to GiftCardGranny.com to find gift cards available through resellers.  Lowes gift cards typically sell for 7% off.  If you go through a cash back portal like TopCashBack to PlasticJungle, you can earn an additional 4% back beyond the 7% discount PlasticJungle already provides.

Every day is 10% off day!

Next, Sam tells us how to get 10% off of all of our purchases:

This can be achieved by using a 10% Mover’s Coupon. Usually included with a “mover’s packet” available at the US Post Office, these coupons offer a nice discount that stacks with nearly everything. Depending on the area you live in, these are readily available by just asking nicely at the front desk, or you may request them online (more on this in a minute). A nice touch is that these coupons can be used both in-store and online. They are, however, one-time use with a unique barcode/number.

If you don’t want to deal with the post office, both Lowes and home depot allow you to request coupons to be e-mailed or snail mailed to you, although their response time won’t be quick enough for “run to the store” type projects (see Lowes Moving Center and Home Depot Moving).

In addition to the options listed above, you should be able to find these coupons for resale online via sites like EBay.  Another option, if you happen to be moving, is to fill out a change of address form with the post office.  Sam writes:

At the end of the process you will have the option of instant printing out a few offers, including a 10% Lowes and a 10% Best Buy coupon. The USPS charges a whole $1 for this, supposedly to verify your identity.

Creative coupon use

The 10% off coupons described above are meant to be “one time use” only.  Let’s see what Sam thinks about that:

There are creative ways to reuse coupons. First, depending on your area, competitors may take each other’s coupon. If I’m buying something at Home Depot, I’ll take them a Lowe’s coupon I printed out. Obviously, Home Depot has no way of running the coupon to void the one-time use, so they’ll manager override to give you the lower price. You can then use that coupon later at Lowe’s. Depending on how you feel, you could save the coupon as a PDF. That way you can print it out multiple times to use for an easy 10% off each visit at a competitor.

A final tip about reusing coupons, even though they are one-time use, Lowes online ordering system is a little poorly designed. It seems that if you place an online order for store pickup and it gives the message that “this coupon has already been redeemed”, all you have to do is select a different store until you find one that applies the coupon, and then switch back to the original store. The 10% discount will still be applied!

Order online, pickup in-store: get 6.5% back

Shopping portals are a great way to get extra points or cash back.  The best deal I know about right now [this is Frequent Miler talking] is through TopCashBack which currently offers 6.5% cash back for Lowe’s purchases.

Order online, pickup in-store: get $20 free

Here is another trick from Sam: Lowes has a 20 minute shop-click-pickup guarantee.  When you shop online and buy merchandise for in-store pickup, you are likely to wait around more than 20 minutes for your stuff.  When that happens, point out the guarantee.  You should get a $20 gift card for your trouble.

Order online, pickup in-store: exchange rather than return

Suppose the items you ordered weren’t exactly what you wanted.  You could return the items, and buy something else in-store, but then you’d lose the shopping portal points / cash back.  Sam has a solution to that:

After you have picked up your order, walk around for a bit and then go back to the return counter, mention you have changed your mind and want to exchange for store credit. The key word is exchange, do not mention a return, or a chargeback on your card, or anything like that. I normally ballpark what the items I want would cost, buy 1-2 random items that are in the same total price range to exchange, then execute this strategy to double dip.

Of course, be sure to double check prices as they can vary online and in-store, and pricematch the lower of the price! I’ve found in a few cases that the in store prices were a bit cheaper depending on the ad week and saved a couple of bucks that way.

110% price match

Here’s how Sam takes advantage of Lowe’s PM (Price Match) policy:

Let’s say you want a new fridge for beer in that basement of yours. Lowe’s has a 110% pm policy for local competitors. You have to be informed on the model you want, what competitors carry it, msrp, etc. Many people think that 30% off is good (Lowe’s runs 10-20% off unless it’s closeout). Instead of wasting time watching Lowe’s though, I watch their competitors – for example HHgregg when they do their employee pricing sales for 30-40% off. Then I take it to Lowe’s and ask for a 110% pm. The appliance person will offer to PM but you can insist on 110%. At that point they will want you to checkout and will not allow any further discounts. Decline and say that you need to think about it and ask for them to save it in the computer with your phone number. Then…. walk around a bit and go find a cashier up front, pull it up in the computer and use a 10% coupon there!

Another thing is that there are a lot of Lowes exclusive models (to prevent pricematching or they bought in bulk) that they will try and push. You can sometimes use this to your advantage. When you PM an appliance at a good price/closeout, the salesperson will say well we really are losing money on this or conveniently say it’s going to take too long to order this, in order to steer you to the Lowe’s model. If you’ve done your research, you should be aware of how much it is and/or if it truly is comparable in terms of features. The trick is, if they say will you buy this model for $XYZ, don’t immediately agree. Instead, run the numbers, and then if not satisfactory, say – you are willing to PM this other appliance for XYZ% off MSRP, so why don’t you give me the same % off your model. Seems that Lowes has a lot more flex in that price and it works well. Since at best, Lowe’s does 20% off daily prices, if you target sales that are 30-40% off + a 10% coupon cashier trick…. you’ll be in a good buy range.

Seasonal and rotating promotions:

Buy 2, get $50; buy 3, get $150; buy 4, get $200…

If you’re going to purchase several appliances at once, don’t forget to take advantage of the specials for buying sets. For example, last fall Whirlpool was running a buy 2 get $50 buy 3 get $150, buy 4 get $200 rebate. These come and go periodically and you can always ask a salesperson when the next time comes around. Depending on where you live, you may get tax credits or cash back for buying energy efficient appliances too.

One price installation…

Lowes and Home Depot love to entice people with 1 price installation specials, e.g. “whole house” blind or hardwood floor prices. Installation specials will rotate in and out as well. Be aware of this because as always, the fine print will get you. The 10% coupon is a great saving tool, but it does NOT apply to installation charges. Use these labor specials to your advantage to get the bottom line down by maximizing the materials savings. For example, we were offered 20% off Hunter ceiling fans and a whopping $75 to install each fan. It was nearly a $600 savings when a few weeks later we could get 15% off the same ceiling fans with a fixed “whole house” installation fee of $80. Besides, for $8 a ceiling fan, think of all the headaches you’re saving!

Other ideas?

Did Sam miss anything?  Do you have any additional suggestions for saving money or earning points at Lowes?

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I have been to our local Lowe’s twice all these years! Well, I had not been to the Office Depot previously either. I think you are the reason for the pick up in our local economy:-)

  2. You can also get $5 of $25 (20%) competitor coupons (Ace) in bulk on ebay and use them at Lowes. These stack nicely with discounted gift cards for smaller purchases. I once used multiple coupons when Lowes had a special buy 2 get 1 on KnockOut Roses and saved a bunch using multiple transactions.

    Here is a quick link to one I just purchased:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-Ace-Hardware-coupons-5-off-25-Home-Depot-Lowes-x-12-2012-/310405194390?pt=US_Gift_Certificates&hash=item4845976296

    Of course you can also purchase Lowes gift cards at Office stores with your Ink…

  3. So, I don’t think I understand the double dip scenerio of buying online and exchanging for items in store. Aren’t you just using the store credit at that point? How do you get additional points or savings doing that over simply ordering what you wanted in the first place?

  4. I’ve been told, though I haven’t been able to try it yet, that if you buy online, (using your points earning portal of choice) that when you come into to Lowes to pickup your order that you can have any gift cards you might have applied to your purchase and they will then credit your credit card that amount.

    For example, I want to make a $2,500 purchase through the portal in order to get maximum points. But I have $1,000 in gift cards. I make the $2,500 purchase, go into Lowes for the pickup, give them my gift cards and they will credit my card for $1,000.

    As I said, I haven’t done this but this was what I was told but someone at my local Lowes store.

    Probably a “churn” opportunity here if you wanted to game the system but I’ll stick with “normal” purchases.

  5. wow, I need to meet this guy, I thought I had a good at finding deals, this guy cleary has me beat.

    One note, The 20 minute guarentee doesn’t always work. I’ve ordered stuff from as small as LED light and as big as a grill for in-store pick-up on a saturday afternoons hoping to take advantage of this, but they seem to a pretty efficient process.

  6. For those with an OSH nearby – here’s a 15% off for this Thursday. http://www.osh.com/eng/coupons/120614-club-orchard-news-emx2.cfm?utm_source=COmember%3Ay&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=15pctoff_d20120612

    A word of caution – the Home Depots I have been too have had no problems taking competitor coupons, but Lowe’s has been hit or miss by location. Check with a checker (and see if they will be there when you check out – they may refer you to the Manager) before loading up the cart!

  7. Another Lowe’s online shopping note – if something is on clearance at Lowe’s online, it often (almost always) is priced different from region to region and even store to store. If you have more than one Lowe’s location near you and are looking at a clearance item, check the stores near you for price differences – it can be a 50% or more difference in clearance price.

  8. So I’ve got a question, say you order online through TCB. How does Lowe’s handle the pricematch/coupons then? Do they credit you back the difference?

    For example, say I’m buying a fridge.
    Listed online at $3,000
    Buy through TCB, get $195 back from TCB
    Best Buy sells it for $2,600

    Would I get $440 back from Lowes + 10% mover?

  9. The reason I believe he buys online and exchanges in store is so he can buy items that are not available online, or do his shenanigans in store. You know that the item you ultimately want is $600 so you buy a $600 grill online, and then “exchange” the item in store for a fridge that you then use your 10% discount/pricematch etc. for. This way you’re buying through the portal for extra CB, and then exchanging for store credit and then getting the item you really want at an additional discount. If you outright return your purchase through the portal would be void.

  10. Yes, I’m wondering about JPC’s question too. We’ll be purchasing new appliances for our upcoming kitchen renovation and was wondering how to use the coupons/price match AND order it online through a shopping portal.

  11. fyi: the home depot near me doesn’t accept lowes coupons. the manager says that anyone can go to the post office to get the coupons (duh), so he refuses

  12. Stacking a 10-20% off sale or Price Matching with the 10% off coupon is a YMMV. I’ve bought several appliances over the past couple of years from Lowes and the stacking did work before, but recently, the registers block the coupon from being applied to discounted appliances. It does say on the coupon something about not combinable with other discounts, but the registers always allowed it before. Guess they wised up to this loophole (at least at my particular store).

  13. @tracey

    The order/exchange strategy stems from the multiple little trips to Lowes that somehow I’d end up spending $50 or so with no points. So to double dip I’d buy a $50 drill online using a portal site, exchange for store credit and make my purchases while keeping the portal points since it was an exchange.

    @mike

    Love your store’s efficiency! I only started this after waiting 30-45 mins each time I got to the store for them to pick my order after I got there. Finally got irritated enough to do something about it.

    @jpc

    It could work in different ways. I’ve had a grill PM’d after buying it online by a manger where I requested the PM difference as store credit. In that case the full portal points stuck around. Just have to creatively avoid the refund process.

    If you’re buying lots of appliances, I would also concentrate on where the funds come from.

    “One card to rule them all” 5%, buy EGCs or GCs from Cardpool 7% off plus use TCB 2-4% referral, then 1) portal and PM in store or preferably 2) PM a competitor for 110%, then try a 10% at checkout. With #2 you don’t get portal points but I think you’ll get a better deal overall.

    It takes a bit of social engineering to get the last part to work. Here’s a good hint – find out who can override 10% coupons at checkout. A manager may be more focused on the bottom line, but the head cashier…. make friends!

    @stubify

    Sorry, I’m cheap 🙁

  14. Wow, my head is spinning, but I finally got it all. I have a couple of questions.

    -Can you buy 3 to get $150 off, then exchange those items for something else and still keep the $150?

    -Instead of using the credit to purchase in store, you can use the credit online through a CB portal for more CB. Then return those items and one could essentially do this over and over again, no?

    Essentially, you can use this technique in lots of stores that give credit.
    and Sam_Goh, you are “frugal”, NOT “cheap”, there’s a big difference. And thanks Sam and FM for this great post.

  15. @DealsSeeker
    Normally the 3 to get $150 off is in the form of a rebate that is with the manufacturer. Sometimes Lowes will do it directly too. I think this would be a ymmv.
    On #2 while it does sound feasible, however I think it’s along the lines of the ATM withdraw loophole on the Amex prepaid card. I wouldn’t try and abuse it.
    And thanks, I am frugal indeed!

  16. Used to be able to find a price in another store(other state) on sale for something..then mess with the store locations and change the instore pickup location last min and you would be able to pickup the item at that other state location..but i think they closed that loop hole..

    also as far as the movers coupon goes..remember to use the coupon number(or save the coupon number for later use) and then take the movers coupon over to Home depot where they will accept competitors coupons…typically I just take pictures of the lowes movers coupons..

  17. This post does not clearly explain how to get 40-50 discount. I use all technique mentioned here. Unless you exchange several times for store credit which they don’t allow for big amount, I don’t see how. I personally see discount of 20 max. Perhaps you can add some numbers to show better as an example?

    • I’m assuming he’s going with price match (10%), new mover (10%), general discounts (right now all appliances >$400 are 10% off) and clearance item (20-30%), to get the discount from retail. Of course you can add discounts from purchasing gift cards below value (6-10%) and using the top cash back website (4-6%). I don’t think you’ll ever get all of these, but yes, at a minimum you should be able to get 20% off retail every time you purchase from Lowe’s.

  18. @telco

    Large discounts are usually for appliances. Let’s say a $1,000 fridge. HHGregg runs F&F promotions at about 30% off. On a $1K fridge, 110% PM at Lowes is ~$630. If you stack TCB + CP purchases on giftcards, you should get at least 10% off. If you can stack a mover’s coupon, that’s another 10%. Final price = ~$510 or about 49% off.

    Lot of negotiating but if you’re patient it’s a good savings. If you can wait for clearance season and/or stack rebates for multiple appliances, that’s even better.

    The exchange for store credit could work if you wanted to earn shopping portal bonuses. Guess you could buy a water heater for in-store pickup and exchange that. They don’t allow for big amount returns without ID. Therefore, I wouldn’t abuse it and think it’s too much trouble in the case of appliances myself.

    @jpc

    I agree. With the ability to buy GCs + 10% mover’s coupon you should aim to get everything at least 20% off. If you wanted to deal with exchange for credit/portal points, PM guarantee, 20 min pickup etc, then you can go for even more off.

    • My issue with HHGregg is that I doubt my Lowes in Texas would match them. Unless Lowe’s has a history of matching online/out of state prices. Any knowledge on that?

  19. @jpc
    It almost certainly has to be a local store. I’ve had success with one store PM’ing Amazon but that’s a very limited incident. This is where knowing other big box stores and what brands they carry is helpful. For example, if no HHGregg, Sears carries many of the same lines (e.g. Whirlpool) that Lowes does. Sears also runs their own F&F promotions periodically too.

    Ironically when I’m shopping for appliances, lawn mowers, grills, etc… I don’t shop at Lowes. I wait till I see a great price at a competitor, then I go to Lowes to negotiate a better deal using the tips above 🙂

    • Thank you Sam, I’m building a house and you have literally saved me thousands of dollars! I was not aware that sears does F&F deals, thanks!

  20. Just finished buy a washer and dryer at Lowes. Bought through the Chase portal to get my 10x points. Went to Lowes and told then I wanted the next model up. They gave me store credit but said I couldn’t use my 10% mover coupon on the next model up item which were special orders.

    I said no thanks and repurchased my original washer and dryer and they let me use my mover coupon on the rebuy. (Even though the coupon does say not good on items that are already discounted. Which the original washer and dryer were.)

  21. I went to the post ofiice but they just had a big post card for change of address that directs you to USPS.com. It did have a Lowes ad on the side but no coupon.

  22. @Sam-Thinking of purchasing a light. The total with taxes is $265.81. Buy discounted gift cards which I use online for the majority of the purchase (but not all) to get UR point. Go in store and ask to exchange for a different light that is more expensive so I get store credit. Walk around for a bit then go up to the front register with 10% of coupon and repurchase original light with coupon. Does this sound like the general idea?

  23. One thing to note is ANYTIME you have an order totaling more than $2500 you can go to commercial services and ask them to run the items through QSP (this is Lowe’s version of Home Depot’s “bid room”. They will discount your order based on the margins of the items you are buying. Sometimes the mover’s coupon or veterans discount is better than the QSP discount. You cannot stack the QSP and the movers discount. I recently purchased 20k in doors and windows and averaged 23.7 % off. If you combine that with the GC you would be saving around 31-32%.

  24. I have been doing variants on this for a while because of some work on my house and yard. I would say that the Lowes website, the coupons from ebay and the gift cards do not interact very well. I have about 10-20% success getting everything to work well. Do others have smooth transactions? I have tried changing browsers but never have great success with Lowes.

  25. @David – I’ve never bought coupons from ebay. They’re always free – either through the post office, or $1 through the post office online (via change of address).

    Never had any problems ordering stuff with GCs and 10% offs from either source. Good luck!

  26. I am moving to new home and expect to buy stuff worth of $6k (washer/dryer/refriderator/blinds/mower etc.). All the tips seem great. However, I am having difficulty finding/buying discounted gift cards, could anybody tell which is the best place to get them?

    • david: the easiest is if you have a credit card that gets bonus points or cash back at a place that sells gift cards. For example, use the Blue Cash Preferred card to get 6% cash back at grocery stores and buy Lowes gift cards there. Alternatively, look for them at PlasticJungle.com. You can setup alerts so that you’ll be emailed when they become available. Once they are available, start at TopCashBack for an additional 2.5% cash back.

  27. Little do you all know, that Lowe’s employees and management are well aware of all of these tactics and have cracked down on most if not all of these attempts at discounting. The economy is rough and everyone is affected. Keep trying. Won’t work.

  28. None of my lowes.com orders were ready in 20 min, never knew some people got a $20 giftcard out of it. How hard is it to get that when they are late?

  29. @Joe: they have the postcards directing you to USPS.com out in the lobby at my post office, too. If you ask at the desk, however, they have the full packet behind the counter. They have to have some option available for people who don’t have Internet access, or, like me, are irked by the idea of having to give the PO a cc# for a service they are required to provide (I moved 6 months ago).

  30. I don’t think the 20 minute guarantee is available anymore… just clicked your link above and there’s no mention of it

  31. 1. Used USPS.Com to do a change of address
    2. Paid $1.05 for them to confirm I have the right to be doing a change of address
    3. Got to the next step but none of the 10 or so coupons were from Lowe’s or Home Depot. Had a 10% from BestBuy and some other ones I didn’t find helpful.
    4. Got an email from USPS confirming my change of address request and clicked on the link which eventually leads you to another set of coupons. None were from HD or Lowe’s, but had one from Container Store for 20% off.
    5. Decided to cancel my change of address.

    So going through those steps above, you are essentially paying $1.05 for some coupons. Some you may find useful. But for me, I did not get the Lowe’s I was looking for.

  32. Wow… there are a few good tips there, but, I am truly amazed at how bad and illegal most of your “great tips” are. For example, making a PDF of a coupon to redeem multiple times. This is a felony… you should really think about posting some of this stuff as some of this great advice could wind up costing you prison time… smh

  33. I know this is an old thread but I found something that might be useful for those looking for deals at lowe’s

    It has to do with sorting the items online at lowes.com to find clearance items at your local store to buy for instore pickup. The steps are listed here: http://www.debtadventure.com

  34. Just wanted to say thank you for the write-up. I’m currently upgrading my rental property before selling it next month and used a combination of these tips to save a ton. I was targeted for the 10% ebay bucks promo last week. I purchased $4000 worth of Lowes gift cards from giftcardmall through topcashback with my Ink card during the 10% ebay bucks promo. Discount = 10% back in ebay bucks, 1.5% cash back through TCB, and 5x UR points paying with Ink Bold. Total ~16.5% off on the gift cards if you value the UR at 1c.

    I plan on ordering appliances (current Lowes promo was 10% off major appliances) and other things through the AAdvantage Shopping portal for 6x AA points and stacking a 10% movers coupons on my order. Saved a ton of money, earned a bunch of points, and increased the selling potential of my house for nearly half price. My realtor lost it when I told her all the discounts I’m chaining together!

  35. I buy everything at Lowe’s using their web site lowes.com, with the
    free “store pickup”. This way I don’t spend hours searching the
    store for each item. And, I always get 10% or 20% off with the
    promo codes at a site called
    http://renovopower.com
    I stopped buying from Home Depot because they rarely have good
    coupons/promo codes.

  36. Thanks, Sam for such an insightful post. Does anyone know which portals still pay cash back for purchases of Lowe’s GCs at Staples? The terms for Upromise now specifically say that purchases of “gift cards” do not qualify for cash back, but that was inserted after the portals stopped paying cash back for VGCs. Thanks!

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