The Bargain Hack

photo credit: Dianna Williams

UPDATE: It appears that Staples no longer honors their 110% price match guarantee. However, the information in this post can be used with Circuit City’s Unbeatable Price Guarantee which offers a 110% price match.

How do you make a cheap online deal even better? Try the bargain hack! The bargain hack is a little trick you can use to squeeze additional savings out of an online bargain. The hack involves the use of Staples’ 110% price-match guarantee plus a bit of coupon trickery — so let’s begin…

Step 1: Find an online bargain…

If you’ve kept up with this blog, then you know that finding online bargains is a breeze. If you want to take the traditional approach, check out Ellen’s 50 Deal and Coupon Sites for the Bargain Hunter or Sean’s bargain bookmarks for a great list of bargain sites, or you can take the RSS route and find bargains while you sleep.

Step 2: Locate the item on…

Here’s where a bit of luck may go a long way. carries a variety of items from medical supplies to floor mats, so there’s a good chance that the item you’re looking to buy is carried by Staples. If it is, write down the price and Staples item number — you’ll need this for later.

Step 3: Doing the math…

The way Staples’ 110% price-match guarantee works is by matching any online competitor’s price minus any instant rebate(s) plus the cost of next day delivery — this becomes the 100% price-match. Then Staples takes the difference between the 100% price-match and their regular price minus any Staples instant or mail-in rebates, and deducts 10% of this difference from their 100% price-match, resulting in a 110% price-match. Time for an example:

For a limited time, Dell had the Canon SD800 IS digital camera for $269. had the same camera for $349.98.

– The Staples price-match in this case is:
$269 + $16 (Dell next day delivery) = $285

– Then they take the difference between the price match and their regular price (no Staples rebates to deduct in this case):
$349.98 – $285 = $64.98

– … and subtract 10% of the difference:
$285 – ($64.98 * 10%) = $278.50

You’ll notice that the final price-match of $278.50 is actually more than Dell’s discount offer of $269, but we’re not done just yet.

Step 4: Use eBay for coupons…

The final step of the bargain hack involves using eBay to locate an instant coupon for Simply do a search for “Staples coupons” and look for any coupons that can be used on Be sure to pay close attention to the expiration date and fine print as some coupons may not be eligible for use on certain products. Quick Tip: eBay user hereyousave usually has “$50 off $200” coupons that are instantly delivered to your email. Using such a coupon brings the final total to:
$278.50 – $50.00 = $228.50

At this point, all you have to do is call at 1-800-3STAPLE and place your order. After all is said and done, you walk away with a $269 (pre-tax) Dell deal for only $228.50 (pre-tax).

How does this work in the real world? If you lived in Chandler, AZ where the sales tax is 7.8%, then the actual savings comes out to be:
$288.10 – $246.32 + $10 (cost of coupon from eBay) = $32.68

In Conclusion: That was easy… wasn’t it?

In the example above (which is real), a savings of $30 on a camera that was already discounted $60 by Dell is pretty significant IMO. Keep in mind that a savings may not always be realized as the final price depends on many factors including tax, shipping, rebates, coupon cost, coupon availability, Staples’ price-match policy, et cetera. Yet the benefit of checking to see if you can benefit from the bargain hack is 1) a money savings and 2) next day delivery, so why not give it a shot?

The Closet Entrepreneur

Post Scriptum: Feel free to leave a comment with any personal experience you may have had with this or a similar bargain hack, or better yet write a blog post sharing your own bargain hack.

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  1. Ahh – awesome Tomas 🙂

  2. TOMAS

    Glad you liked it Ahmed, although I can’t take credit for this hack because a friend figured it out — I simply shared it.


  3. Heh, that’s awesome. Do you think it’ll work in bulk for small business help? Also, how much do the online coupons run on ebay usually? I didn’t see that cost factored in?

  4. TOMAS

    @Business Financing Guru: I’m not sure if this will come in handy for bulk purchases since coupons only apply to single purchases and $150 off might or might not be worth it. At the least, it is a savings you can try to take advantage of.

    As for the cost of the coupons off eBay, it’s quite small – we’re talking $1 or $2 at the most.

  5. Hey thank you very much for the information. I keep that in mind next time I go and look for staples coupons or other types of online bargains.

  6. @Arnold Grundel – You’re welcome. 🙂

  7. Victoria

    this is wonderful, exactly what I needed to get my new camera for cheap!

  8. @Victoria – Hey that’s great to hear and glad the article came in handy. 🙂

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