Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Secrets of How to Buy a New TV for Less

Every year, thousands of people flock to the stores on Black Friday to shop for that new big screen TV. Little do they know there really is an easier way to get a good TV for less without having to fight through the crowds of people at 6am.

Follow me now as I guide you on the pain-free way to get the TV you want...

Do your homework: First thing is to do your research. Find out which brands are getting the best reviews. These seem to change from year to year, so just scour the internet to see which manufacturer is cranking out the quality televisions. Don't go with the off brand manufacturers because you will regret it. I made the mistake of purchasing an off brand flat screen because it was much cheaper only to have it break two years later. Remember that you get what you pay for, so pony up the extra money for a reputable brand now to save yourself money in the future.

Pick your model: I'm not going to get into the whole LCD versus DLP versus LED, etc, etc. You can find all that info elsewhere on the net. Once you know what kind of TV you want, pick up the local paper and start looking through the ads for specific model #'s. Knowledge is power, and the exact model # of the television you want is going to help you get the best price.

Once you start looking through the ads you'll notice a couple things: First, stores make the model #'s hard to find. They probably don't want you to have them to use as leverage against them. Secondly, certain stores (such as Walmart) only sell model #'s exclusive to their own store. So don't fall for the line that they will honor any competitor's price (since they are the only store in Amerca that sells Sony Model X123). For this reason I would avoid trying to buy a model that is exclusive to one store only.

Time for negotiation: Now here's where it gets good. Once you pick out the TV you want from the ads, look at the pricing. Hypothetically speaking, let's say Best Buy was at $1300 and Fry's was at $1,475. Take the Best Buy ad to Fry's and speak this magical phrase, "I would like to buy this TV here but your price is higher than Best Buy. If you can beat their price I will buy it from you guys." Presto, and there you have it. Don't ask them to match the price, that is for chumps. Ask them to beat the price.

The funny thing about America is that we are not a negotiating society. It is almost shunned upon as if you are a cheapskate or tightwad. Contrary to what you might believe large ticket purchases are negotiable, especially in a downturn economy. Stores are hungry for the business, so don't be afraid to ask for a better price. $1,500 on a TV to me is a large purchase, so I will approach it as I would buying a car or a house.

"But what if they say they can't beat the price?" - In that case let's say, for example, Conn's had the same TV for $1,400. Take the Best Buy ad to them and ask them to beat the price. Eventually some store will take the bait.

"So how much will I save by doing this?" - It depends on a lot of things, but on a $1,300 TV maybe $50-$100.

Don't get screwed on the ancillaries: As my friend that use to work at Best Buy told me, "Watch out where you buy your cables. There's a lot of markup on those." You don't want to be the person who just negotiated your ass off on a TV only to get totally screwed on buying overpriced cables and a warranty plan.

I love to see the frustration on a saleperson's face when I just broke their balls on a TV and then I turn down the warranty, surge protectors, special gold plated cables, etc. Trust me - they're not going to offer you anything that they are not making a killing on. Stores assume you will scrutinize the price on the TV, but not balk at all on the prices of all the add-ons, so the profit margins on these items are extremely large. Buy your cables from a trusted store (or online) and don't fall for the extended warranty. If the TV is going to malfunction statistically it will do so right after purchase (while it is still under factory warranty).

Side Notes: Use trusted reviews to help pick a TV, NOT your own impressions in the store. These TV's are never calibrated correctly in the store so you're not going to get a true impression on what the picture looks like.


To calibrate your TV for optimum performance visit: