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If you had a swimming pool in your backyard where I grew up (in Maryland), it meant you were doing pretty well financially. Today, I live in Arizona, which means I have to have a swimming pool if I want to survive the summer heat. It also helps with resale value although I don’t plan on ever selling my house. Anyhow, back to the story…
Our pool vacuum started having issues and was not cleaning the pool well. Our pool tech said it needed to be repaired and did so at the cost of $60. It seemed to work for a while and then later stopped working again. He then said it needed to be rebuilt and advised taking it to the local pool store. They charged $80 to rebuild it, but in the end, it just never really worked again. In the end, I really should have done my research, which is why I am writing this post in hopes that I will save someone else the financial loss I took on this endeavor.
While at the pool store getting the repair, I noticed that a replacement pool vacuum was between $300 – $400, so that is what I was preparing to spend to replace it. I am not sure why I never thought to check online, however, I was researching cashback sites and decided to enroll in Ebates. When I enrolled, I was offered a $10 gift card after making my first purchase, so it dawned on me to check one of the stores in Ebates to see if they sold pool vacuums. Sure enough, Walmart.com had a pool vacuum that had a 5-Star rating and it was only $130. Now I was pretty excited because I love saving money. I was ready to buy the vacuum, save some money AND get a cash back reward and then I thought to myself that I might be able to find the same thing on Amazon (because I shop at Amazon a lot more than Walmart). Sure enough, I found it at Amazon, and even better the 3 year extended warranty was about $15 cheaper. I was even more excited about saving another $15 and then I saw something even better. I saw a refurbished model of the pool vacuum for $40 less and it still allowed me to purchase the warranty. I read the terms of the warranty and it said that if it failed for any reason within 4 years and they could not fix it they would refund my money. In the end, I saved at least $250 on the purchase, got a warranty for pennies, and even earn a $3.60 cashback rewards PLUS a $10 Walmart gift card.
So what are the lessons here?
- Always Price Shop. Yes, this seems like common sense, but often we can forget that there is competition for almost every product or service.
- Use Ebates. If you shop online and don’t use Ebates, you are missing out on FREE MONEY that you could be getting as cashback rewards. If you haven’t heard of Ebates, it’s a shopping portal that allows people to get cash back for their purchases from major online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Dell, DICK’S, Groupon and over 2,500 others. Best of all, it is FREE to sign up, and if you use this link you will get a $10 gift card just like I did.
- Buy Refurbished. If you can find a refurbished product that is protected by the same warranty that you would have had on a new product, you can come out ahead. At worst, you will have the inconvenience of having to have a new item shipped or replacing it. If you use a reputable product warranty company such as one recommended by Amazon, you should not have any problems with the warranty company.
I happened to save on my pool vacuum, but now that I am on board with Ebates, I am looking forward to saving lots of money on my future online purchases through their cashback program.
I’d love to hear some of your success stories with Ebates or other cashback programs.
UPDATE – So as I set up my pool vacuum, I realized it was not working well. I made some adjustments and still no luck. I reached out to my pool guy and asked him about it and he said he wasn’t sure if he could help because he only recommended certain brands that he was familiar with. And that’s fair. He asked me to send him the link to what I had purchased and it turns out I had purchased the wrong vacuum. It happened to be for an above ground pool (which I failed to read) and thankfully I was able to return it. He also asked me why I didn’t consult him. Being uber-frugal, I told him I was just looking to save money. Not the funny part is that he read that as “I don’t have the money” so he offered to finance a pool vacuum for me at zero interest (because he is that amazing). I told him I had the money, but I didn’t want to spend it (LOL), and he then referred me to his wholesale resource, so I still ended up saving $100 over what I would have spent at the local pool store.
So lesson #4 is Always Consult a Professional because expertise can save you lots of time and money.