A good way to save a little money on big retail purchases is to purchase gift cards on Ebay! Most major retailers sell gift cards, and many are put on Ebay because sellers want cash more. And almost all of these cards are purchased on Ebay at discount.
You might get lucky and save up to 30% (like winning a $300 gift card for $200), but I've found that savings average around 10-15%. If you're buying anything big like a new desktop or $1000 worth of chocolate from Target, you might as well buy gift cards to that store and save some cash.
The best auctions to take advantage of are the 1-days (people need cash yesterday, I guess). That short auction lessens the number of watchers, and you can get your top bid in before people even have a chance to bid themselves. Also, some sellers are desperate and slap on a tempting Buy It Now price.
Here are some other ways to save::
+ Look for any corporate discounts from people who work there. Many corporations offer small discounts to other corporations, and vice versa. In my case, they just had to register their work info online for verification, and presto chango! I'm shopping online at discount prices. Students also get discounts at some websites (like Apple). Nota bene: I'm not saying use your friend's work discount for purchases at their work. That might be weird between friends at some point.
+ Go old-school and use coupons, or buy coupons on Ebay. People cut them out and sell the same coupon in bundles. It's great! Last month I bought $60 worth of tea for around $20 with a grocery store promotion, an unexpected closeout sale, and coupons that I basically got for free on Ebay. I drink 5-6 cups a day so it definitely works out.
+ There are always discount and promotional codes floating about the Interwebs. Go to websites like www.retailmenot.com to see if there's a current code available. It might save you some cash! If you buy anything online, search for that store's name + discount code before checkout. I bought some bulk almond flour from some random small business out-of-state and I got 10% off from a code I found online.
+ Also, you might as well ask the cashier if they have any discounts for you. Hey, it's the recession. It's fashionable to get a deal.
+ There's another way to save even more--by purchasing Ebay gift cards on Ebay and using them to purchase other gift cards on Ebay. For some reason though, they're all bid up a little higher than they're worth. Which kinda defeats the purpose. There must be a loophole that I'm not aware of.
So there! Start saving. I don't see myself buying any expensive retail items at full price again. It's all on sale as far I'm concerned! (I should have thought of this before buying my 50D on Amazon...) So if you're a regular customer at Whole Foods or Target or Apple or wherever, you might as well shop at discount while the guy behind you pays full price.
Go get it.