Finding Uncommon Discounts

by Contributor

No matter what the condition of our nation’s economy or my individual finances, I always look for easy ways to save money. It’s like second nature for me, and uncovering even a small discount usually means I’m much happier with my purchase. Many retailers maintain some sort of “savings center” where they dangle money saving strategies in hopes of closing the sale. I started investigating a few of the big-name sellers to see if there was anything worthwhile, and was surprised to find some discounts that I never knew existed.

No Sales Tax at AJ Madison

AJ Madison is a very large appliance retailer. You won’t find them in your local mall because they are an online entity, and, like Amazon, they often don’t charge sales tax. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that out-of-state vendors don’t have to charge in-state taxes except in the states where the retailer has a physical selling presence. The AJ Madison headquarters is located in New York meaning that most consumers will benefit from this added perk, and it could result in as much as 8.25% in savings. When you combine the tax advantages and  AJ Madison coupons, you can almost always beat a local retailer.

Sales Tax Legislation: If you’re aware of The Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007, you’ll know that President Bush signed that act into law in November 2007. This act works to promote ecommerce by eliminating tariff and nontariff barriers, burdensome regulation and discriminatory taxation. Currently, the ITFA is in effect until November 1, 2014.

Kmart Unemployed Discount

In September 2009, Kmart expanded their Smart Assist Savings Card program to better help unemployed Americans. Eligible customers receive a 20% discount off regularly priced private label (Kmart brand) grocery and drugstore products for up to six months. This change rolled out in Michigan where Rep. John D. Dingell (D), said, “…I want to applaud Kmart and its parent company, Sears Holdings, for doing its part to help people who are struggling. We have a lot of people in transition right now, and these displaced workers will – like our state itself – get back on their feet and remember those who helped during this time of hardship.”

The program is open to applicants who present a state-issued ID (like a drivers license) and a state-issued unemployment benefits confirmation. At check-out, present the discount card and state-issued ID to the cashier to receive the discount.

Refer a Friend at Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight is no stranger to people who purchase lots of tools. Their tag-line reads “Quality Tools at Ridiculously Low Prices” and they work hard to fulfill that claim. One way to stretch your dollar even further is to refer a friend. Your friends may not be so keen on finding an unsolicited email in their inbox, but for every $100 they spend online using your referral link, you earn a $10 gift card. Of course, there are restrictions. Your friend can’t make a purchase and then return it, and you max out at 50 referrals per year.

You may think $100 is a lot to ask of your friend, but if they were planning on making a purchase anyway, shopping carts can pass that mark very quickly. Common tools, like a miter saw or air compressor, will easily put you over the necessary amount.

Best Buy Trade-In

Best Buy has a trade-in program for getting rid of certain used electronics, video games, musical instruments, CD’s and movies. You can choose between being compensated with a Best Buy gift card or a check (for a little less value). Start the process by estimating the value of your item online. Take it to a local Best Buy or pay to ship it to a trade-in center. They will validate your item and make the final offer. This program applies to items like laptops, televisions and other products available at Best Buy and things like iPods, video games, mobile phones, etc. not available at Best Buy. Factors like condition, product age and specifications are all considered when they make you an offer.

If you navigate deep enough into a retailers website, you’ll often find a list of traditional (like a rewards card) and not so traditional ways to save money. Even though unconventional discounts may not always be as readily applicable, it’s important to know what’s available. Of course a good ol’ coupon code is always helpful. One Project Closer maintains a complete list of discounts for Home Depot and other home improvement retailers. Check them out before your next home improvement project.

What obscure discounts have you found in the past?

About the author. This is a guest post from Ethan @ One Project Closer, a web site that provides premium DIY content, including engaging articles on projects, tools, materials, home finance and more!

Published or updated May 12, 2015.
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1 Ben

This is a great idea. I know that GameStop will buy old video games, but not much else that Best Buy is offering here. Will definitely have to check this out.


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