Category: Shopping

15% Off at Saks 5th Avenue

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Julie here, in desperate need of new sheets (sumptuous, high thread count a given). Made a quick scan through Ebates and Discover Deals in search of ongoing splurgeworthy promotions at Department stores.

Found a 15% reimbursement until May 10th at Saks Fifth Avenue through the Discover Deals portal. This is the highest affiliates rewards offer I’ve seen. When redeeming your cash earnings on your account as giftcards, that’s about 16.5% cash back.

You must enter through the portal link. Offer is not stackable with any promo codes! Use your Discover card at check out.

Julie

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Don’t Buy Into Sales

As a guy just tipping 5’7”, clothes shopping is nary ego-polishing or at the very least, dismally satisfactory. For me, rather, it’s decades of mall trips culminating in bagfuls of over-sized devastations. Too-large, too-big, too-long–I longed for a Goldilocksian just right.

J. Crew was a rare solace, offering a slim-fitting line that whittled men’s general sizing down to the uber-small. The brand drastically reduced my weekend errands and the money I spent on alterations. My seamstress, though extraordinarily wizard, charges a bold $15 per pant. Julie claims that her step dad gets his hemming done for $7.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by J. Crew’s well-stocked and varied fitted offerings. I felt at once flattered and militantly supportive of their endeavor. I decided that I would buy from them relentlessly and needlessly so that they would continue to provide and cater to small men. Anytime they hosted a massive sale (or any sale really), I’d splurge hardcore on polos that looked Saran Wrapped to my torso.

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^I’ll take 10 of those…

Julie being the adorable crazy that she is, went through all three of my closets, my storage room and my dresser (maybe I’m the adorable crazy one?) and discovered mountainous stockpiles of shirts and jeans and socks perfectly retained and unworn, in fresh from the factory plastic. This was after the fact that I enlisted familial help to collect and shovel six 30 gallon bags’ worth of clothes out of the kitchen that I’d been accumulating… for reasons. And after the umpteenth time of opening and transporting J. Crew packages from the entryway into the bedroom dresser, Julie spoke in a fit that was more aggressive than passive, “don’t buy shit just because it’s on sale.”

What? Why not? J. Crew isn’t exactly cheap. I’d endlessly regret it and feel as though I missed out if I didn’t take advantage of their limited time discounts. What if, after liquidating current stock, they discontinued XS and slim-fit products? I’d have nothing left. Nothing.

That perspective changed, or is sort of changing, but not before one last anti-splurgist faux pas (12 more cottony-soft broken-in XXXXXS polos). Is it so wrong to buy during sales?

Sales are anti-splurgist because they’re impulsive-buying traps. They actually prevent you from having splurge-worthy things. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on clothes that crowded my kitchen, three separate closets, my bedroom and another whole room. I never wore them and they’re in a landfill somewhere now. I bought reiterations of similarly styled clothes sale after sale after sale and I still don’t have the perfect, confidence-exuding wardrobe that makes me look forward to getting dressed for work or getting ready for the weekend.

Why is it on sale?

How much of a margin are your favorite brands working with if they’re willing to enormously discount their products? As in, how can something originally priced at $50 be reduced to $5?

That store is doing its damndest to clear out old inventory in order to make room for new styles. Are my purchases devalued once new stuff hits the floor? If I think about devaluations from a car viewpoint, I would never buy certain models the year before a new style release.

Am I a proud, willing owner of something that requires a sale to sell? Isn’t the ultimate retrospective compliment for a discounted item: “I would’ve bought this at its full price”?

Maybe the product I am holding is inherently defective, a previously returned item, or even refurbished to resell? While refurbished deals are fantastic when the seller markets it as such and backs the product with some guarantee. However, return fraud is a massive phenomenon and costs billions of dollars. There is no one person that hasn’t worn a shirt or shoes out and sent it right back.

Is it ever acceptable to buy on sale?

Splurgists, off-season and season transitioning sale items should only be bought if they are transcendent, or irrefutably classic. Julie scurries past racks of on-trend or trendy clothes because those silhouettes, prints and colors won’t reappear next year or endure. Those sale items would have limited or short wearability.

Since we live in Florida, we could shop for cold weather gear leisurely and during the off-season. The risk is that we may not have all the sizes and color available to us and we may not have intended or prolonged wear until we take a trip elsewhere. At that point, we may have forgotten about our coats or have even stopped liking them. People evolve their tastes continually and dramatically.

Julie buys discounted clothes by happenstance if the brand/curator’s website does not discriminate between sale and full price items. When merchandise is listed altogether in gallery view and markdowns are intermixed with regularly priced clothes, everything is most likely still in-style and in-season. The markdowns are owed to initial prices being too unaffordable despite consumer interest. If the website has a cornered off “sale” section, they are trying desperately to sell by exploiting deal-justifying shoppers (like me).

It’s fine to bargain hunt when you have the intention to resell for a profit. If you are knowledgeable about the product and its market, you can take advantage of sales by being willing to transport/redeliver, cater to overseas consumers and/or by making adjustments and repairs. Flipping is a fantastic supplemental revenue stream. I’d factor how much cost or losses you’re willing to take on before stocking up.

But I don’t feel comfortable paying full retail?

If you absolutely cannot pay that price, google the item and check multiple stockists for a cheaper offering. Julie professed to her daytime hobby of scouring the net for coupon codes. She also feels strongly about Ebates.

Often, there are exclusive discounts just for subscribing to the shop’s e-mail newsletter. If there’s a shout out for a site-wide discount and you’re in the market for new jeans or something, I would say go ahead and peruse that section for the splurge that you’re wanting. Don’t go out of your way to browse everything that is on sale for the sake of getting it at a discount.

When you buy something at full price, it’s most likely your size and in the color that you like best. I would put it on a card that offers price protection, such as Julie’s Discover it or the Chase Sapphire. The new Citi AT&T Access card is an excellent candidate because it earns 3x ThankYou points per dollar (valued at a 4.5 to 5% reimbursement) spent at online retailers and offers Citi Price Rewind.

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Lastly, Visa Signature and American Express cardholders enjoy benefits that encompass purchase protection and extended warranty which insures your product and enforces returns’ compensation.

Marc

To Lease or to Finance?

A significant portion of our contemporary lives are spent within the confines of a car. Driving is so thoroughly integrated into our day to day that being able to enjoy that experience is paramount. Splurgists get around in comfort and in their beautifully engineered car.

The definitive method to car drivership is to lease.

I drive this bimmer below. It is made affordable and thusly accessible to me through BMW’s navigable programmes. Leasing wisely allows us to drive the cars we want at lower costs than with financing.

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Flexibility.

First of all, you are not locked into lease terms. Swapalease.com and LeaseTrader.com facilitate lease transfering. Ultimately, the option exists to buy your leased vehicle and resell it at your leisure. You would contact the manufacturer for the buy-out figure and apply for an auto loan to purchase.

Mileage.

Leasing allowances range between 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year. Typically, Americans drive 14,000 to 16,000 miles each year. For high-mileage drivers however, a lease that offered insufficient miles at the beginning can have additional end-of-lease mile charges. You are not limited by the miles stated at time of leasing. Audaciously ask your dealer how they price extra miles and whether they can be added at sign up. For example, BMW sells extra miles upfront as part of their financial services.

New car advantage.

The reassurance I feel when driving a new car is priceless. That sense of security is attributed to the vehicle being under warranty. When leasing, your car and its parts will be guaranteed by the manufacturer’s warranty during the entirety of the lease.

Anti-splurgists consider their cars as investments (albeit depreciating ones) and would rather finance a new car. However, they should take to heart the length of coverage under warranty. After the warranty expires, car owners are monetarily responsible for any and all mechanical failings. Though their beloved car inevitably depreciates, the parts and labor to fix do not become cheaper with time. Anti-splurgists can still spend thousands of dollars fixing their car over the course of ownership.

The cost to fix major issues can even rival the whole value of the car. I had to total my used 2001 Lexus IS300 after it suffered a catastrophic engine failure owed to a headgasket leak. I could not go through with the $8000 repairs because of the then-current value of the car and its susceptibility to additional failures.

Trade-in/resale worth.

Though anti-splurgists purchase to own, they eventually trade in that same car in order to get a new one. Habitually financing and trading in after a few years time hits them with greater losses than when leasing over a comparable period of driving the same vehicle. Leases are frequently subsidized by the manufacturer when they artificially raise the residual value in order to offer lower monthly payments.

Splurgists, you essentially wash your hands once you give the vehicle back to the dealership at lease termination. You’re unencumbered in your next pick of car.

Zero Down

Financing may require a higher down payment upfront with a lower credit score. Initial down payments can be as high as 10% to 20% of the sticker price for a financed purchase, not including taxes and dealer fees. Down payments are anti-splurgist: they’re an awful way to sock dollars away because they obstruct potentially higher savings. While down payments may seem to save you some on the car loan, that amount pales in comparison to dividend earnings from investing that initial dollar amount into stocks and retirement.

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Splurgists, when selecting the best lease deals, look for the highest residual and lowest money factor, or interest rate. Never MSRP, or sort cars by sticker price. Lease specials are subsidized by the manufacturer and displayed their websites. The residual value will be declared, though less noticeably, in the fine print. Aim for residuals over 65%.

While unsubsidized leases have lower residuals of around 50%, you can still negotiate costs down further. Transaction details, such as car value and money factor, should be dictated by you, the emboldened splurgist consumer. I will teach you how to negotiate car purchases in a future post.

To demonstrate leasing superiority, I will compare the cost of leasing a luxury midsize sedan to the cost of financing an everyday midsize sedan.

We’ll be leasing a 2015 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Premium with a MSRP of $37,325 as our luxury vehicle. Its current lease special is $310 a month for 36 months with a $3490 down payment.

For comparison, we’ll finance the purchase of a 2015 Kia Optima LX with a MSRP of $22,565. The manufacturer is offering $2000 off the sticker price which brings the financing cost to $325 a month for 60 months with a $2000 down payment.

There is a negligible monthly difference of $15 between the Audi A4 and the Kia Optima LX. However, the Audi A4 comes standard with a 2.0 L turbocharged engine that powers an AWD drivetrain with 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque that sweeps you to 60 in 6.6 seconds. And with enhanced with leather power front seats, 10 speakers and Xenon headlights.

The Kia Optima is equipped with a larger 2.4 L engine yet produces only 192 hp owed to its lacking a turbocharger. The FWD drivetrain and the sluggish 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds would be noticed and sorely felt by driving enthusiasts. The Optima LX, with its cloth seats, 6 speakers and projection headlamps, is overall mildly unimpressive.

Even with Kia’s 9% generous price cut, the Optima LX still has the higher total cost of $21,500 compared to $14,650 for the lovely Audi A4 you should be driving.

Splurgists, you deserve the most vroom for your buck.

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Marc