We are in the throes of a major remodel at my home. We are turning a 1972 master bedroom and bath suite into something a bit more up to date, and we’re doing most of the work ourselves.
Which brings me to floor tile. We made a trip to a local discount tile store and found the perfect specimen. I gulped when I saw the price of almost $16 per square foot. We’ve saved up for a long time to do this, and we want it to be as nice as we can afford. Still, that’s a lot for a square foot of tile. We noted the manufacturer and went home to think about it.
At home, I did an Internet search. To my delight, I found the exact tile at FastFloors.com, a virtual flooring showroom where I could deal directly with the manufacturer. When I found the tile for only $6.97 a square foot, I was confused. Was it a phony knockoff made of plastic? Tim in customer service assured me it is the real deal. He calculated that shipping to my home in California would cost $189 for enough tile to cover 125 square feet. Do the math and you’ll understand why I placed the order.
I was thrilled with the service and the price until weeks later, when I was poking around the Internet checking out other ways to get great deals. I discovered I could have gotten an even better deal on the tile from the very same company.
Have you heard about Bing? Bing is Microsoft’s new search engine that has an amazing shopping feature. Had I gone to http://www.bing.com first and then searched for the tile, I would have gotten the same deal I got from FastFloors.com and received 10 percent of the purchase price into my Bing “cashback account.” That’s because FastFloors.com is one of the thousands of merchants who are part of the Bing family. Want to know others? How about Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Wal-Mart. They all give 3 to 10 percent cash back on online purchases when shoppers enter their online stores through Bing.
Here’s how it works: When you first go to http://www.bing.com, click on “Shopping.” Set up your cashback account. It’s free to register. Whenever you shop online, enter through Bing. Do your search, and in a flash you will have a list of prices to compare, with shipping charges and the cashback total from each particular retailer. It is so quick and easy, you’ll be amazed.
By the way, the tile has arrived and it is gorgeous. It’s even better than the sample I saw in the tile store. My only disappointment is that I didn’t know about Bing before I placed that order. I would have gotten more than $100 in my cashback account, money that I could have sent to a PayPal account or instructed Bing to send to me in the mail. That’s a mistake I won’t make again.
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books. You may e-mail her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723.