As a Christmas present for my sister in 2012, I purchased a 23″ Coby 1080p LED TV for $169.99 at Hhgregg.
At the time, I was strapped for cash and didn’t do much research, so it seemed like a great deal. Over the course of 2013, the pixels began to permanently burn out one by one, leaving the picture in a scattered mess of black dots, and the speakers began to fade.
By the end of 2014, the pixels of the screen had completely burned out, leaving just the muffled sound of late night talk show monologue to play in the dark. Unfortunately, the one (1) year manufacturer warranty would have covered the demise of this product. Unfortunately, my sister wasn’t aware of it, nor did she tell me about the issue until 2014, when it had finally stopped displaying for good.
I thought about replacing that TV for Christmas last year, but I couldn’t find the perfect deal within my budget, so I ultimately got her something else. This year, I decided I would find her a new TV for the holiday season, but I wanted to stay within my budget and shop for the deal online only. I knew this purchase would prove to be a challenge with so many in-store only offers, but the internet is my playground, and I was willing to fight to find the best deal.
I knew if I wanted to find the perfect TV for my sister, the TV needed to meet a series of specific requirements. I wanted this TV to last longer than 2 years, and maybe even more than 5 years, assuming she takes care of it!
- Must be a name brand (LG, Westinghouse, Samsung, Sony, Sharp): The last generic-branded TV (Coby) I purchased didn’t do so well, so I wanted to make sure this one had a quality reputation behind the name.
- Must be at least 32″: My sister is a college student, and she has used her TV in the past as an extra monitor display for her laptop. While her last TV was a small 23″ display, it did the job until it couldn’t do it anymore. I knew she would (hopefully) appreciate a larger TV that she could display her work on, and watch for entertainment purposes.
- Must be a Smart or 4K TV: My sister doesn’t have a set-top box streaming device (Amazon Fire TV/Stick, Roku, Xbox, or Playstation), so she usually watches Netflix and Hulu on her laptop or phone. The cost of these ‘special’ TVs has decreased significantly over the years, and there is massive benefit to having the apps embedded in the functionality of the TV. This way, I’ll feed two birds with one worm.
- Must have an LED display: Everyone (or almost everyone) knows that LED displays tend to outlive LCD displays, simply because LCD (liquid crystal display) doesn’t last very long. The Coby LED TV ended kicking the bucket before it should have, but I believe this failure happened because the quality of the TV overall was garbage.
- Must have at least 1080p resolution: This is the standard definition for most TVs, unless you have a 4K, then nothing else compares. Let’s face it, 720p is like watching The Price Is Right on an old tube TV in your grandma’s living room. When it’s the choice between SD or HD, you prefer to watch in HD, even if SD is slightly more affordable.
- Must cost less than $150: If I paid $169.99 for a 23″ TV over 4 years ago, I knew that I could find a 32″ TV for less than $150 this year. If I watched for sales and deals to pop up at my favorite stores, I knew could do even cheaper than that!
With all the specifications carefully selected, the next step was to find the best deal.
The Hunt for the Best Deal
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, I began window shopping on various e-commerce websites for the perfect deal. I ventured into the deepest search engine queries on BestBuy.com, Walmart.com, TigerDirect.com, Amazon.com, Hhgregg.com, and Dell.com. In the weeks following up to Black Friday, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com offered pre-Black Friday deals, but nothing that I was really interested in pursuing. After gathering up prices and ideas, I knew I would be able to find a TV that met all of my specifications, and maybe even under budget, if I watched the prices and waited for the right deal.
On Black Friday, BestBuy.com offered a Westinghouse 32″ LED 1080p Smart HDTV for $139.99, saving $30 off the $169.99 MSRP, and a Sharp 32″ LED 1080p Smart HDTV for $139.99, saving $60 off the $199.99 MSRP. Additionally, Ebates.com offered 2% cash back on any Best Buy purchase. These were really great deals, but I wasn’t ready to settle with Best Buy just yet!
I soon discovered that Dell.com offered customers a Samsung 32″ 1080p LED Smart TV for $189.99, a savings of $210 off the original $399.99 MSRP! Samsung is a brand I know and love, the specifications were just right, but the price was $39.99 higher than I was willing to go. While reading the details of the deal, I noticed an exclusive offer of a free $100 Dell promotional gift card with your TV purchase, which would bring the final cost down to $89.99… but it wasn’t enough!
If I could figure out a real use for the $100 gift card, then this Dell.com deal would beat the other offers by $50, even if I had to put more cash into it upfront. But to get the best deal, I would need to sweeten the pot even more. Dell Advantage Rewards gives its members 10% back in gift card for any qualifying purchase, which would shave off another $18.99, bringing the price down to $71.00! Ebates.com offered Dell customers 12% cash back on their purchases, shaving off another $24.39 in cash back, bringing the price down to $46.61.
Roughly 7-10 days after I purchased the Samsung 32″ 1080p LED Smart TV for $189.99, I received the $100 Dell promotional gift card in an email. I thought about purchasing a tablet as a gift, or maybe a new monitor for myself. After doing some digging, I came across a $100 Microsoft Xbox Gift Card on sale for only $90, a savings of $10, which would bring the price down to $36.61. As I frequently purchase Microsoft Xbox products, games, and accessories, I knew I could use this deal! However, in order to use the entire $100 Dell promotional gift card, I decided to use the remaining $10 to purchase a $10 Microsoft Gift Card, increasing my total gift card value to $110!
I noticed that Dell Advantage Rewards members earned an additional $5 back on any $100 Microsoft Gift Card purchase, which would bring the price down to $31.61! I turned to CouponCabin in hopes of finding a promo code or cash back, but Ebates offered 8% cash back the purchase, providing an additional savings of $8.80, and ultimately dropping the price down to a cool $22.81!
The Breakdown of Savings
In the end, I paid only $22.81 for the Samsung 32″ 1080p LED Smart TV for my sister, saving an amazing 94.2% off the original MSRP of $399.99. Here’s a tl;dr of all monetary savings used to achieve the final price:
- Samsung 32” LED 1080p Smart TV…… –$399.99
- Dell Black Friday Sale…… +$210.00
- Dell Promotional Gift Card…… +$100.00
- Dell Advantage Rewards…… +$18.99
- Ebates Cash Back on TV purchase…… +$24.39
- $100 Microsoft Xbox Gift Card for $90.00…… +$10.00
- $10 Microsoft Xbox Gift Card…… +$0.00
- Dell Advantage Rewards…… +$5.00
- Ebates Cash Back on Gift Card purchase…… +$8.80
- GRAND TOTAL = $22.81
Did you score a great deal on Black Friday? If so, let us know!