A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to water my garden and remembered that a hose reel would be helpful. I decided to buy one, but I wanted it same-day. I also wanted to get a good deal. I decided to do a little Extreme Stacking, instant-style.
After online comparison shopping I picked a hose reel that listed for $59.98 at Lowe’s (and, for comparison, the same price at Amazon). It was important to me to find the item at a store like Lowe’s where I could pick it up same day rather than waiting for delivery. Next, I “extreme stacked.” I found a Lowe’s coupon; got a discounted Lowes gift card; shopped through the best available portal; and ordered the item for store pickup. An hour or so later I picked it up and returned home.
If I had bought the item in-store without any preparation, my total cost would have been $63.58 after tax. Instead, I paid a total of $43.46 and still had a bit over $2 in Lowe’s gift card credit left afterwards. Not counting the extra gift card value, I saved over 30% with very little effort. If I had extra time I could have done even better (by waiting for a sale on Lowe’s gift cards, for example), but the point is that it’s possible to do very well without waiting.
The steps I followed towards this Instant Extreme Stack should be repeatable with many stores. Below you’ll find info about each step, along with details of what I did in this particular example…
Instant Extreme Stacking Steps
After you have identified the item you want to buy and where to buy it, here are the basic steps for extreme stacking with no waiting:
- Find best coupon for that store and item
- Find best instant gift card deal
- Place order through the best portal
- Pick up in store
Let’s look at each step, one by one…
Find best coupon
I like to check Google (Google for “Lowe’s coupons,” for example), check the merchant’s website, and check eBay for coupons available for sale. In my case, the best coupon I found was on eBay: $15 off $50 or more. I found a seller with very high ratings and that promised instant email delivery. They wanted $1.49 for 2 coupons that were close to expiration. That was fine with me since I planned to use one that same day. The order details said to check my spam folder after ordering. That was good advice. The email with coupon codes was in my spam folder.
Out of habit, I shopped through TopCashBack to eBay and earned 3 cents back for this order :). I also had some eBay gift card credit left over, so I used that to pay for the coupon. I’m sure that there are ways to get these coupons for free, but I was more interested in getting a good deal quickly rather than saving $1.49.
Find best instant gift card deal
Our new page “Instant Gift Card Deals,” was created for this purpose. There we list all of the options we know of for getting getting gift cards instantly (or nearly instantly) and getting discounts or earning rewards along the way. Since I have a bunch of Discover It Cashback, I chose to redeem $45 in Discover It Cashback for a $50 Lowe’s e-gift card (10% off).
After checking the Instant Gift Card Deals page, it’s also worth checking GiftCardWiki.com to to see if there are any really good resale deals at resellers other than those listed on the Instant Gift Card Deals page. You can also check this eBay page for gift card discounts. Just keep in mind that many of the discount gift cards on eBay will not be delivered right away.
Place order through the best portal
Use CashBackMonitor to find the best current portal deals for the place you want to shop. I’ve compared “portal finders” in the past and found CashBackMonitor to be the most comprehensive and accurate. At the time of this writing (and at the time that I shopped), two cash back portals are/were offering 5% cash back. I shopped through the uPromise portal for 5% cash back.
After clicking through a portal and selecting your items, don’t forget to do the following:
- Select “pickup in-store”
- Apply coupons
- Pay with discount gift card
Interestingly, uPromise paid me 5% of the list price rather than the after-coupon price.
- Original price: $59.98, $63.58 after sales tax
- Price after coupon: $44.98, $47.68 after sales tax
- Coupon cost: $1.49 – $.03 (TopCashBack) = $1.46
- Portal rebate: 5% of $59.98 = $3 back (note: I was expecting to get 5% of $44.98)
- $50 gift card cost: $45 worth of Discover It Cashback
Total cost: $45 (gift card) + $1.46 (coupon) – $3 portal cash back = $43.46
Total discount: $63.58 – $43.46 = $20.12
Discount %: $20.12 / $63.58 = 31.6%
The steps listed above won’t work with all stores, but I’m sure they’ll work with many more than just Lowe’s. And, keep in mind that not all steps are necessary in order to get a good deal. Even if you are shopping in-person it is worth Googling for coupons and checking apps and sites listed in our Instant Gift Card Deals page to see if you can get discounts and/or earn extra rewards for your purchase.