Sunday, January 15, 2012

Extreme Couponing For The Gear Head

In my last post I discussed all of the parts that you need and where to get them from.  I specifically pointed certain locations for those parts because it relates to this article.

Here I will tell you how to save over $100 on this particular conversion.  I will also show you how you can save on other parts purchases as well.

If there is one thing that I can definitely say about myself is that I am cheap and any way that I can save a $1, I will probably do it.  With that in mind I want to tell you about how I saved a ton of money on my car insurance.  :)  J/K  I want to tell you how I saved money on the parts I purchased.

Something I do every time I buy a part is to check around and see who has it the cheapest.  Are there any coupons available that I can use toward this product, etc.  This isn't just limited to car parts, I go as far as negotiating prices on home electronics as well. 

There are a few national chain type stores around here and a couple of them have a way of saving money on your parts.  Since we are not businesses that have corporate discounts these programs are the best way we have to save money.  You can save a lot of money if you work the system right.

The first thing to know is that Autozone has a discount program where you can make 5 purchases over $20 and then you will have a $20 credit on your account.  This is a nice little program for those of us that make semi-infrequent purchases and want them to add up over time.  Typically the purchase would need to be right at that $20 mark in order to make this program worth while.

The reason I say this is simple.  There are online options that will give you a much better price and you can have your savings up front.  The key is that it will take a little research on your end to make this well worth while.

I chose to use Advance Auto Parts to buy the majority of the parts that I needed for my car.  In fact anything that I bought everything I possibly could thru them.  I went to an external route only in the case where I couldn't find the part there.

What I did was go online and search for online coupons for the various parts stores in town.  The only one I found coupon codes for was Advance Auto Parts.  In fact they want you to search for them.  They are available all over the internet.  In fact there is at least one available on their website all the time.

In my search I found several coupon codes.  Each code had a different value and a different structure for hitting the various amounts of coupons.

Here is a list of the coupons that I had found.  Please note, some of these may have expired since I gathered these back in November of 2011.

There are 3 very specific codes to get money off of a purchase.
Big15 - This code will give $15 off a purchase of $40 or more.  This is a 37.5% savings
Big20 - This code will give $20 off a purchase of $75 or more.  This is a 28.6% savings
Big30 - This code will give $30 off a purchase of $75 or more.  This is a 40% savings

There are other codes that will give you a bigger discount the more money you spend.
CCABIN - This code will give $10 off $30 (33.33%) or $20 off $50 (40%) or $40 off  $100 (40%)
a123 - This code will give $10 off $30 (33.33%) or $20 off $50 (40%)
VISA - I don't know the levels but it has up to $50 off $150 (33.33%)

There are other codes that will give you a straight percentage off
p20 - This code will give 20% off your purchase
AAP15OFF - this code will give 15% off your purchase
NVRP - this code will give 15% off your purchase

As far as I know all the coupon codes up to this point have been able to be used more than one time.  The next coupon code is my favorite though.  The downside is that it is a one time use only coupon.

RAF7JA1102 - This is the refer a friend coupon code.  This will give $35 off $85.  That is a whopping 41%.  This is the best savings I found around on this.

So as you can see if you plan your purchases right you will be able to plan your orders so that you can take advantage of the largest savings possible.  I suggest hitting that 40% mark as much as possible. 

Here is an example from one of my orders...

Melling Oil Pump - orig. $21.99 - discount $8.63 - price after discount - $13.36
Felpro Gasket set - orig. $73.99 - discount $29.02 - price after discount - $44.97
Mellign Oil Pump shaft - orig $5.99 - discount $2.35 - price after discount - $3.64

So by doing this research on this order alone I saved $40.  (I used coupon code CCABIN)

I challenge you to find a better price on those parts anywhere.

There are other times when Advance Auto Parts will do other coupon codes like one of their most recent ones where you will save 15% off your order of $100 or more AND they will also give you a coupon for $50 off a future purchase of $100.  These coupons sound really good up front, but are not necessarily ideal for your savings.  If you think about it.  You are spending at least 200 to save 65.  That is a 32.5% savings.  You would be better off saving your higher percentage off up front. 

You should also watch for times like during the black friday weekend.  This is one coupon I wish I had taken advantage of and did not.  They were offering 25% off with no minimum and an additional $50 off in the future.  This doesn't sound as ideal of an offer until you start buying higher priced parts.

I ended up buying a Flowmaster Cat Back exhaust system thru a 25% off coupon that I found, but didn't save the additional $50.  Although 25% doesn't sound like much, but when you apply it to a part that costs $295.99, you come up with a $74 savings.  That is huge.  I could not have saved that much at any other time.

One thing to note is that I have noticed since that purchase with the $74 savings Advance Auto Parts has put a cap of $50 on each of their coupons.  This is unfortunate for us, but you should still try them in the future just in case they remove that restriction at times like black friday when they want to increase their sales.

Now that you have found out about the couponing I have done, you are probably asking, well how much did you have to pay in shipping?  Well that one is easy, nothing.  I don't like to pay shipping costs and I assume that you don't either.  Advance autoparts offers free shipping on orders of $75 or more.  This is awesome, but there is something even better.  They allow free shipping on site to store orders.  Most (if not all) of your parts are going to be available in the store.  That means you get these awesome discounts and you get your parts the same day.  Want another piece to make you want to do this?  When you use site to store, your order is ready when you get there.  All you have to do is show them your online receipt and they go get it with very little wait at all.

Some things to know when you are working with the coupons.  This is very helpful.
  1. Just because you are ordering 8 spark plugs does not mean they have to all be on the same order.  split them up so that you can maximize your savings.
  2. You cannot use this discount on engine oil.  It is cheaper to buy this at Wal-mart most of the time.
  3. You can use this on transmission fluid.  I found that transmission fluid is still cheaper at Wal-mart, but sometimes this helps get you over a threshold you need.
  4. You can buy things like permatex gasket sealer and get this discount. 
  5. It applies to tools as well.  I needed to buy a spring compressor and it helped get over a threshold.
My overall total of savings on this project reached $224.  I think that was well worth the couple hours I spend researching the discount and organizing the orders.  When doing any project like this, it pays to be prepared.  This is a good example of this.

Come back for my next article on "What tools do I need?"  This is a must know when working on the car.

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