Surprise! You’d Never Expect These Online Bargains

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I do love a deal. There, I said it, but by now it’s really not a secret, is it? If you are like me, a typical “bargain hunting” shopper, you probably have signed up for emails from some of your favorite online retailers like Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, and Walmart, etc. They are constantly sending offers like coupons and discounts on their latest promotions that you probably love just like I do. It can be a great way to find some online bargains, so long as you only use them when you need them.

When searching for online bargains, you may think you know where to look. But surprise!...you might just find the best deals in some unexpected places.Logically you think if you need clothes, check out the deals at Kohl’s, copy paper then look at Staples, and new cookware or a bathroom scale, Bed Bath & Beyond, right? But did you know the magical part of buying and selling online is that all of these retailers sell stuff you’d never guess they have and sometimes they are shockingly good deals! You’d never expect to get these bargains at these sites and that’s why today I am sharing with you some really surprising things that I have discovered!

Purchase a Sofa Bed, Bath Towels, or an HDTV at Staples?

You would expect Staples to offer a great deal on bathroom supplies such as toilet paper or cleaning supplies which you can find in their retail stores for their small business customers to purchase. You’d also expect them to have a good selection of office furniture and desks too. The prices on some of these things are pretty reasonable since they tend to discount them, especially online. But surprisingly, what they offer online is much larger in variety then just the basic necessities for the things you need for your home or office. Things such as bath towels and even shower curtains are listed. I’m not just talking about a couple of them either. I am talking hundreds of them at prices from $2.99 to commercial grade ones selling for hundreds of bucks!

In the market for the latest in high tech HDTV’s from companies like LG or Samsung, Vizio, or Sharp? Yup, they’re there in all sizes up to a 90 inch screen (for a mere $6,000+ bucks!). And OMG wait for it…you can actually buy sofas including sofa beds from such manufacturers as Serta! Yes, you read that correctly.

Why and How Do They Do It?

Staples, for example, is one of the dozens and dozens of stores that actually cover almost every single category you would find in any specialty store (like Bed, Bath & Beyond or even a Home Depot). Seems a bit weird, doesn’t it? It’s real evidence that every store with an online presence is competing with “everyone” who is selling anything.

Just think about this for a second. You can find TV sets and air conditioners in the supermarkets and on their websites these days. Even patio furniture or barbecue grills. So why not offer whatever you think may attract people? The biggest thing for these sellers is simply this: they never have to invest in much or any inventory of these things until you actually buy something! Then, if you do buy, they simply arrange to have it shipped by the manufacturer or distributor using their name and your info to get their piece of the money pie!

Are They All Great Deals?

On the plus side, you will often find many more choices of places to buy what you want online no matter what it is you are looking for these days. There’s lots of information and consumer reviews and you can find a few outrageous bargains. I’m not saying you will always get a bargain buying bathroom supplies at an office supply store; frankly a lot of their prices are a bit steep. But sometimes you will.

If you can find a discount code or coupon to apply to your purchase or even the entire order (and many of these stores also have reward and loyalty programs that can turn your purchases into further discounts, rebates, etc.), that can then make the buy pretty attractive. You can also qualify for free shipping in a lot of instances and of course that can save you some gas money and some time as well. Staples is good example of that.

It’s not unusual to find a dozen or even three dozen sites offering what you want at prices from “ridiculously good” to “you have got to be kidding” bad ones. So, you still have to look around and do some comparison shopping.

My Most Recent Experience

An example of an actual adventure that I had recently was when I was looking for an indoor/outdoor electric grill to replace the old one that I have had for years. Since we live in a condo, we must use electric rather that gas or charcoal, so of course I looked online to see what kind of deals were out there. First I looked at Home Depot and Lowes which seemed logical, but I found the George Foreman grill selling everywhere from Walmart to Bed Bath & Beyond and a couple dozen others as well including the George Foreman website itself.

I found the range in prices on the model I wanted ran from a high of $150.00 to as low as $67.00, all for exactly the same item! That’s a pretty big difference in price. Home Depot seemed to have me with free shipping and the lowest price offered. But…

Bed Bath & Beyond beats it?

On a whim, I checked BB&B because I always have coupons for anything I buy there and I also have a $50.00 gift card I received as a gift. The interesting part though is that I never expected to find an indoor/outdoor free standing George Foreman grill at a store like Bed Bath & Beyond, but many stores these days are offering lots of products online beyond their basic categories.

It turns out that they had the grill I wanted (online only of course) and it was “on sale” for $119.99. Since I had many coupons that I could apply to it, I chose the additional $20.00 off any $75.00 purchase (that made the price now $99.99) and when I used my $50.00 gift card, it got the price to a super bargain of $49.99! Granted I did have the gift card, but overall, the Bed Bath & Beyond price was extremely competitive and beat out almost every retailer I checked. Their price also included free shipping so it was a done deal. Honestly, would you have looked at them for this kind of item?

One More Online Bargain for You

My wife uses a pretty expensive shampoo. On sale, it usually costs about $5.00 a pop, but she does have goddess-like hair so price isn’t the main factor here, minimalist or not! And well, she’s my wife so…

We buy shampoo at the drug store or the supermarket and we have found that CVS with its sales and coupons and ExtraCare loyalty benefit card has the best deal around for this regularly priced $8.59 shampoo and conditioner. At least that is what we thought.

So last week she needed some shampoo and conditioner and at CVS it was on sale for $10.00 off the total if you bought 3. That made it 3 for $15.77 ($5.26 per bottle before sales tax) and also gave us points for our loyalty card of 2% (you get a quarterly coupon from credits on all your purchases and this one was $0.16). That made the cost per bottle about $5.10, a pretty good savings. But then I checked at Bed Bath & Beyond.

The Better Deal

To my surprise, I found that BB&B sold the same shampoo as CVS and they had an even better deal. Sold as a 2-pack of shampoo and conditioner (just one of the many options), you can buy this product at just $10.00 a set, all the time! Each purchase is also eligible for any of their coupon codes or discounts and I have a gazillion of them from $5.00 off any $15.00 or more purchase, $10.00 off any $30.00 or more purchase, or a straight 20% off whatever you buy.

I bought 3 packages (6 units) for $30.00 and used the $10.00 off coupon with free shipping on my order. The final price was all 6 bottles for just $20.00 plus sales tax. That translates to just $3.33 per bottle. That’s a savings of about 35% off the CVS sale price! (Now where do I store all this shampoo and conditioner?)

Amazing Assortments at Online Stores

You will definitely find all kinds of things where you least expect them and even some really weird stuff! I have seen things like paint, lightbulbs, snacks, and all manner of other interesting things—even an iron and ironing board—at some unexpected sites. There are just too many to mention. All you have to do is go to a site and search the category or item you are seeking and you may be shocked at what you find.

I think that the variety of products at most of these stores is especially tempting and interesting, especially when you consider you can use multiple coupons, online discounts (don’t ever forget about RetailMeNot or Groupon for cool discounts you can also apply), and very attractive loyalty program deals. Even if some items appear a little overpriced for the market, with proper planning and the right tools you can wipe out the overpricing on things like pet food, toiletries, and home décor, which puts a lot more money back in your pocket.

Have you checked out all the options and online bargains from weird or unexpected websites lately? Would you even ever think to look for and get a great deal on fancy cookware or furniture from places like a Lowes or Home Depot? Buy a car from Costco? How about a Galileo “Smart Scope” 800mm x 90mm Astronomical Telescope with Smartphone Adapter at Kohl’s? After all, the sky is really the only limit when it comes to getting a great deal.

Financially Savvy Saturdays

About Gary Weiner @ Super Saving Tips

Over the last 45 years I've worked in retail (department stores and supermarkets) and financial planning. In addition, I am a shopper, born and bred, who enjoys the challenges of finding the best items for the best prices. When I'm not busy saving money or writing here at Super Saving Tips, I enjoy baseball, music, and classic movies. I am retired and live in New Jersey with my wife.
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4 Comments

  1. Interesting concept, Gary. I have not considered shopping for non-office supplies at Staples at big discounts, and at the frequency that BB&B throws coupons and deals at me, I should be looking at their product inventory more often. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Interesting. It is amazing how many places sell so much stuff. If you are willing to work at it-compare prices, drive across town, wait for delivery,you can save a lot of money.

    My car salesman brother tells me that the reason cars are sold the way they are is to make comparision shopping difficult. If it was easy, the amount to be saved is substantial enough to make it worthwhile for many, whereas not a lot of people are going to shop around for the best price on shampoo, deodorent or hamburger, particularly if the best price for each is at a different store.

    • Thanks for your comments, RAnn. The only thing to keep in mind is that a lot of online shopping may include free delivery, so if you know the item really well that you want to purchase and you’re willing to buy it without actually “putting your hands on it”, then you don’t have to do any travelling. That’s why I like it a lot.

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