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Credit Card Perks, Extended Warranties, and Other Shopping Tips

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Last week, I discussed about getting the best deals when you shop. Today I’ll be covering extended warranties and credit card perks you may already have that can save you money.

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Should You Get the Extended Warranty?

Next time you buy an expensive item like a laptop, cellphone, or TV, you may be offered to add a protection plan or extended warranty.

You may be tempted. No one wants to be stuck with expensive repairs or a replacement on a big ticket item. However they usually aren’t as great of a deal as they are pitched.

Consumer Reports found that items tend to break after the service plan window, so you may be lining up someone else’s pockets without gaining a real benefit.

They also reported that you may already be covered and don’t need pay.

First off, the manufacturer may have a warranty covering defective items and or repairs for a limited time. When you’re looking at buying some shoppers could save a lot of money upfront by seeing which manufacturer has the best deal and the best reliability.

Second, you may want to be careful where you shop. Retailers want to have and keep your business and some have generous policies when it comes to returning and repairing purchases.

Another layer of protection is your homeowner or rental insurance.

You may be surprised to hear that your credit card may already offer an extended warranty on purchases a perk. Depending on who you use, your credit card may already double the manufacturer’s warranty. Why spend more if you already have the coverage?

Does that mean that all extended warranties are a bad deal? No. You have to ask yourself, Will you pay more to have the warranty than what you can save if your item breaks or needs to be replaced?

In fact, Damon Darlin had a thoughtful article in NY Times on how to analyze whether or not a warranty is a good deal looking at reliability and coverage costs. I’ll include it on the site so you can check it out before you head out to the store.

Finally, I want to suggest that you consider self-insuring. Have a savings account to pay for repairs and replacements.
You can either open a dedicated savings account or just have it separated on a spreadsheet. The advantage with this set up is that the money stays with you (growing interest) and if you don’t need it, you can reallocate as you see fit.

Credit Card Perks credit card perks save you a ton of money

Getting back to credit cards, I want to highlight a few additional perks that may come in handy next time you make a purchase with them.

  • Car rental insurance: If you’re driving to see friends or family this week and you’re renting a car, you can save a bit by not going for the extra insurance they offer at the car rental desk.
  • Trip-cancellation insurance: I hope you don’t have to use it, but if you get too sick to travel, your card may reimburse you on cancellation fees.
  • Price protection: Nothing can be more frustrating than finding out that you could’ve gotten a better deal if you waited a few days longer. With price protection, you may get a buffer for the difference if it happens within your card’s window.

Of course, check with your providers to get all the details on your perks.

Don’t forget, even with all the benefits, credit cards can hit your wallet hard if you’re not on top of them. Pay off the balance before you get hit with interest.

Shop Smarter and Have Fun

I hope they save you money and help you to be a savvier shopper!

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

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