Online Stacking: The Devil’s in the Details

Holiday time has come and gone. That means plenty of great deals to buy myself my family and friends. While plenty of splendid savings can be had in store, it is easier to shop online and arguably even better discounts can be found especially when “stacking” can come into play.

When it comes to stacking there are three primary components:

  1. Discounts at the retailer itself.
  2. Shopping through a portal
  3. Cash back/points from a credit card.

I love “hacks” as long as the time investment is reasonable. Since I don’t get paid anything I guess my time is worthless, or I suppose since I have student loans my time is worth less than zero… With all this time I’ve got, I’ve successfully alienated friends and have fleshed out many of the methods that my fellow clever peoples use. I’m pretty streamlined at this point and my process allows me to shop with less guilt about not saving for and taking care of my future self…we could all use more shoes, right?

Let’s take a case study, shall we. I recently made a purchase at Banana Republic online.

Normal price of each item was:

  • $40
  • $160
  • $55

Basic sale price for each was:

  • $30
  • $95
  • $40

Each item was an additional 10% off, last one an additional 40%:

  • $30 * .9 = $27
  • $90 * .9 = $85.5
  • $40 * .9 = $31.5 * .6 = $19

Discount per item of:

  • (27/40) – 1 = 32.5%
  • (85.5/160) – 1 = 46.5%
  • (19/55) – 1 = 65.5%

Total discount of (131.5/255) – 1 = 48.4%

That’s nice and all, but check me out.

  • Before this I bought a Banana Republic gift card from Staples that was 20% off. BOOM
  • This GC was purchased using the Chase Sapphire Preferred. These points can be valued at approximately 2.1% cash back
  • I went through TopCashBack and got an additional 4% cash back. Annnnnd then these can be redeemed for an extra 6% making a total of 4.24%. Yeet

Ultimate effective discount:

  • $131.5 * .74 = $96.86
  • (96.86/255) – 1 = 62%

Now, instead of feeling a sense of overwhelming shame at spending money on things I don’t need, I can rest with a warm toasty feeling after playing with these numbers.

Merry Christmas you hooligans. Open your loved ones a brokerage account.

Ramble on,

Sam

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