I know, I know. I said I’d never buy a Wii. Funny how never comes around sooner than you think. A few weeks ago I stayed with some family members who have a Wii and I realized just how much fun one could be. I was used to the passive gaming experience where you sit on the sofa and punch buttons and I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed that kind of gaming less and less over the years. I just assumed the Wii wouldn’t be much different and that it would sit around gathering dust. I was wrong and I’m willing to eat crow over it. After a week with my family, I knew that a Wii would get a ton of use in my house and be worth every penny. Of course, that didn’t mean that I was willing to throw sense out the window and just plunk down money willy-nilly. I wanted the best deal I could get.
I knew, generally, what I could expect to pay for the system. It’s hard to walk through Best Buy or Target and not come away with a general idea of prices. But I took the time to do some research and determine exactly which components we needed to start with and to design my dream bundle. I looked at bundles in the store, but most had components I didn’t want and didn’t represent much of a savings. I looked at all of the components I wanted and committed the prices to memory so I’d know when I saw a deal. The research and thought process took about a month and gave me plenty of time to make sure this wasn’t an impulse buy, but a well considered choice.
In the end, I pulled the trigger the day Dell.com had the Wii console for $219 and free shipping. But I didn’t just automatically buy the other things I needed from Dell for convenience sake. I bought from several vendors and got good deals on all my components. Here’s how I did it:
- Console: $219 at Dell, free shipping
- Wii Play with extra remote: $39.99, on sale at Dell.com, free shipping
- Wii Sports with Wii Motion Plus: $39.99 on sale at Dell.com, free shipping
- Extra Nunchuk, Grand Slam Tennis, Mario and Sonic Go to the Olympics, Mario Kart and extra wheel, and Dance Dance Revolution (with 2 dance pads): Free from Amazon.com because I used gift certificates that I’d earned from various rewards programs and snagged some titles on Gold Box deals or price reductions. Used free shipping and paid no sales tax.
- Extra Wii Motion Plus controller: $14.99 at Best Buy after I used a $5 gift card.
- Toy Story Mania Game: $40 at Target after I used $10 in gift cards, plus I got an additional $5 gift card back because I pre-ordered it.
The total for all of this (console, extra controllers, and six games): $353.97. But it gets a little lower. I made the purchases from Dell and Best Buy using cash back shopping sites and earned about $17.00 in cash back. I also used my cash back credit card for all of this (and, as always, paid it off in full at the end of the month) and earned another $18-ish back in cash. And I got the $5 gift card from Target to use on a future purchase. The total when you subtract the cash back is now $313.97.
Compared to retail prices, I came away from this deal feeling like I stole the Wii. The “bundle” I created means that I have all the controllers I’ll need and a good selection of games to start out with. Yes, it was expensive but if I’d bought all of it at retail and not used any gift cards, cash back, or promotions the total would have been $609, plus tax. I cut that almost in half by taking my time, pooling rewards, and looking for the best deals. Had I bought even a year ago at the height of the Wii frenzy, very little of this would have been possible. I’d have paid retail. Ouch. There’s something to be said for being behind the curve and a late adopter.
Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve had this kind of shopping success. I treat most of my purchases in this manner and it has saved me tons of money over the years. There’s nothing better than the thrill of saving a ton of money on something, particularly when that something is a want, not a necessity. There are times when I have to pay full price for something and if it’s an emergency I’ll do it. But when it comes to my wants, I try to cut the price as much as possible. I wait for deals, shop carefully, and take advantage of any extras like cash back, rebates, and credit card rewards. In the case of the Wii, I think I was successful and it will make play time all the sweeter to know that I got it for a steal.