Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stretch your dollars series: The case of buying a washing machine

My washing machine broke down on Sunday and I was in a frantic search to buy one as I did not want my mother to use her bare hands to wash all our clothes. Immediately, I took out Saturday’s papers and scanned through for promotions.

COURTS advertisement caught my attention. A LG front loading washing machine cost only $450 and they are also giving out $50 GIANT and $50 COURTS vouchers. Together, the washing machine on offer seems a steal. However, when I went over to enquire, the staff told me the promotion was only 1 day and there is only $50 vouchers given by the brand distributor.

I felt rather cheated on a Sunday morning.

I decided to look for another brand and saw a Samsung washing machine. It is sleek looking with digital thermostat functions. It cost $550 together with a $50 GIANT voucher. However, if I were to purchase the 5 years extended warranty, it will cost an additional $150. Together with a delivery charge of $20 (for members), it will cost me $720 for a China made, Korean brand washing machine. The sales staff was also quite impatient to close the deal which actually let me rethink the “offer”.

I decided to walk over to NTUC at Ang Mo Kia HUB to search for bargains.

The exact modal was selling for $470 at NTUC (vouchers included)! However, there wasn’t anybody there to help me. No sales staff to enquire about the functions, warranty and delivery dates.

I was not impressed by their sloppy service and thus drove to Katong Mall. Over there, the same machine was selling for $600. Initially, I regretted that I did not purchase the item at NTUC.

Then, I walked over to parkway Harvey Norman. It was the smartest choice. The same modal cost only $460 (after a $100 rebate) together with the $50 shopping vouchers. The sales agent explained to me patiently the differences between front and top loading washing machines and operations of the machine. In the end, I purchased it and added a 5 year warranty, costing me $85.

Including a $30 delivery charge, I paid merely $575 for a brand new washing machine with 5 years warranty. It was delivered on Monday afternoon.

Kudos Harvey Norman! Excellent service!

On hindsight, I actually had the impulse to buy the machine when I was in COURTS. However, I feel rather silly to pay almost 30% warranty premium. I do find it rather “aunty” to do such nitty gritty comparisons, but it really pays to source for the cheapest deal around. Not only did I manage to save $145 this time round, my future purchases will revolve around “comparing comparables” before I buy bigger ticket items. I think it is a good practice to know how much others are selling.

We notice that all businesses have different pricing strategies, profits margins, cost pressures, warehouse sizes and also sales quotas from manufacturer. This will ultimately translate to different pricings on all items. Sometimes the difference can be quite big. Also, I always try t buy items I need that are on sale. Again, this is applicable to the stock market. We definitely need to invest but we will only buy businesses when they are on sale.

1 comment:

la papillion said...

Hey marist,

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