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The other day, reader Dee reached out with a deal Kohl’s has a deal going on small appliances that I’ve been meaning to share with readers. Some are live now and some of the best deals (see this section) go live in less than an hour from the time of publishing at 12:01am Thursday. Depending on how highly you value Kohl’s cash (see: The strange economics of Kohl’s cash), you might find this to be a near break-even deal after rebates. This one could be scaled to help meet minimum spend. In the past, I used to use these Kohl’s small appliance deals to help meet minimum spend and then to make a few bucks reselling the items. The slim profit margin eventually turned me away from the time investment, but Dee reached out to share the idea of donating the appliances to a charity, which could be a great way to meet minimum spend and do some good in the process. Read on for the details.
First up: A Kohl’s Cash Rant
First thing’s first: I don’t value Kohl’s cash at face value, so how close to “free” these appliances are will be a somewhat personal valuation. The post I linked in the opening paragraph — The strange economics of Kohl’s cash — is a good primer for understanding how it works. Keep in mind that Greg wrote that post in 2013, so some things on the earning side may have changed — I recommend starting with the section “The value of Kohl’s cash” and reading down from there.
Adding to where he leaves off at valuing Kohl’s cash at about half of face value, I’d add that I certainly don’t recommend valuing it higher than 70% of face value. That’s because when you use Kohl’s cash, it applies to the items you are purchasing before any coupons apply. So, for example, if you have $100 in Kohl’s cash, it will buy you $100 in merchandise. However, if Kohl’s has a 30% coupon available (and they frequently do), you could alternatively pay $70 for the same merchandise in most cases. When you use Kohl’s cash, a coupon code does not stack. Essentially, Kohl’s cash buys you about $70 worth of stuff. In reality, it gets a little more complex: If you’re buying online and paying the cash price, you can also go through a shopping portal and earn some rewards (dropping your net cost below $70) and you can stack a free shipping code, whereas you’ll likely have to pay shipping if your Kohl’s cash brings your order total down to $0. You’ll therefore likely need to look at adjusting your order size to make it big enough to get free shipping after applying your Kohl’s cash (but then since you can apply the 30% off coupon to the after-Kohl’s-cash-coupon, you’ll want to figure out how to buy the free shipping minimum plus just enough that the 30% off coupon brings you back down to the free shipping minimum, etc). If your head is spinning at this point, that’s part of the reason why I got away from the Kohl’s cash deals. Add in the fact that the Kohl’s cash is only valid for about a week and a half (therefore applying pressure to accept a less than optimal use) and I’m not inclined to value it any higher than Greg: about half of face value.
On the other hand, if you have a Kohl’s store nearby and often shop in-store, you might value the Kohl’s cash more highly since you won’t be playing the free shipping calculus game, though once again you will need to consider that you can’t stack with a coupon (though the Kohl’s cash is not subject to tax, so at least you have the savings of not paying sales tax on that amount). Reader Eric also reached out to remind me that Kohl’s carries some items that can not be discounted with a coupon, though you can use Kohl’s cash to purchase them, so those types of things could be a stronger use.
Now that we’re three paragraphs into the pitfalls of Kohl’s cash, I’ll say that I actually plan to do this deal. I include the previous paragraphs because it drives me nuts when I see a Kohl’s deal outlined as being “free” when you “count the Kohl’s cash” because I think that’s a fallacy (one that the Kohl’s marketing team is glad to see accepted) — but the truth is that I’m a parent to a growing toddler and if his feet don’t stop growing I’m going to start buying stock in a shoe company. Having some Kohl’s cash to buy clothes a few sizes up sounds like a good deal to me.
What’s the deal?
So here’s the deal: You can buy cheap Kohl’s appliances. There are a few different rebates, but essentially if you stack the rebate (which comes in the form of a Visa gift card) with portal rewards and potentially 5x on your Chase freedom card and you value Kohl’s cash anywhere near face value, you can get the small appliances for what feels like nearly net free. There is one deal on Hamilton Beach appliances that’s a bit more expensive and a second cheaper deal on Toastmaster appliances that begins at 12:01am on Thursday.
But what if you don’t want a bunch of small appliances? In years past, I used to resell these on Craigslist a couple of weeks later and believe it or not I could usually get $20 an appliance pretty easily. The pain point was making arrangements to meet people who didn’t show up at least 25% of the time. Well, that and a garage full of appliances. And taking pictures. And writing descriptions. Come to think of it, I didn’t really enjoying reselling these.
However, reader Dee brought up an idea that I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never thought of: donating the appliances to charity. She tells me she’s been donating them to 412 Food Rescue for the past few years. Now, I generally avoid getting involved in telling anyone how and where to donate their money (err…small appliances). In this case, I know nothing about 412 Food Rescue apart from the fact that they appear to work to feed hungry people and that much sounds good to me. If you’re interested in donating to them, I encourage you to do your own due diligence on the organization — again, I’m not so much endorsing a specific charity as I am passing on a deal recommended by a reader who tells me that’s where she donates them.
On to the details:
Hamilton Beach Appliances
Kohl’s has 15 different Hamilton Beach appliances for $21.99 each at the time of writing. After 15% off with the current coupon GIVETHANKS, that drops the price to $18.69 per small appliance. Each appliance has a rebate of $12 by Visa Gift Card. Furthermore, shopping portal Rakuten is offering 6% cash back when you click through their portal (which could alternatively be 6x Membership Rewards points). Additionally, you could earn 5% back via the Chase Freedom’s 4th quarter bonus category (department stores). Finally, Kohl’s is offering $15 in Kohl’s cash for each $50 spent.
That math works out pretty well. If you were to buy 3 appliances, it would work out like this:
- Start at the Rakuten portal
- Click through to Kohl’s, add 3 of the included appliances to your cart (pre-coupon price of $65.97)
- Apply coupon GIVETHANKS
- Order total drops to $56.07 before tax
- Get $3.36 back from Rakuten and $2.80 back from Chase Freedom for a net cost of $49.91 before tax
- Get a rebate of $12 per appliance x 3 = $36 on a Visa Gift Card
- That brings your net cost down to $13.91 (plus tax).
- Earn $15 in Kohl’s cash
In the end, you’ll pay $13.91 net cash plus sales tax from step #4 above and end up with 3 appliances and $15 in Kohl’s cash. As I said above, I don’t quite value Kohl’s cash at face value, but I’d probably pay fifteen bucks for 3 slow cookers and $15 in Kohl’s cash.
Of course, you can scale that up as high as you’d like. One of the appliances is currently out of stock (the toaster oven), but the other fifteen available are all in stock. If you were to buy 5 of each, your cart total would be about $1400 before sales tax.
Since you can get up to 5 of each appliance and there are 15 in stock, that’s 75 total appliances. Here are the numbers:
- Cart total = $1401.86 before tax
- Rewards = $84.11 via Rakuten / $70.09 via Chase Freedom
- Net cost = $1247.66 plus tax (which, as you can see, is estimated at $84.16 in my screen shot, but this will vary based on location)
- Get 75 x 12 = $900 in Visa Gift Card rebates
- Get $420 in Kohl’s Cash
As you can see, the net cost is $1247.66 (plus tax) and you end up with $900 in Visa Gift Card rebate and $420 in Kohl’s cash and 75 small appliances. If you would pay more than a penny each for the Rakuten or Chase rewards, then you may consider your net cost to be lower.
At the very least, that’s pretty interesting. If you are alternatively working on minimum spend for a credit card bonus, you may prefer to use something other than the Freedom card and come out further ahead yet considering whatever bonus you are triggering.
Obviously, you can scale that anywhere in between levels if you actually have some use for the appliances and/or know that your charity of choice won’t have a use for all of them.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Print the rebate forms and receipts.
- When the appliances arrive, carefully remove the UPC codes, and mail them in with the rebate form(s) and receipts. I recommend taking photos of all of the UPC codes and forms in case something gets lost in the shuffle.
- The rebate will arrive sometime in January in the form of a Visa gift card(s)
- The purchaser gets $15 Kohl’s cash per $50 spent. The Kohl’s cash is good November 30 until December 9 ONLY at Kohl’s. Kohl’s Cash is calculated on the pre-tax, after discount, total. Kohl’s cash is then applied on the pre-discount price of merchandise.
I’m not going to go quite 75 appliances deep on this one, but I’ll grab a few and donate them this time around. There is also another deal for…
Starting at 12:01am Thursday (which is less than an hour from the time of publishing this post), there will be an additional 10 Toastmaster appliances offered with rebates.
These appliances will be on sale for $18.99 and drop to $16.14 after 15% off. Each comes with a $14 Visa Gift Card Rebate.
Again, there are 10 appliances and you can buy up to 5 of each. Let’s say you decide to buy 31 total appliances. Here’s how the math would work out:
- 31 x $18.99 = $588.69
- After 15% off, your cart total is $500.39 plus tax
- 31 x $14 rebates = $434 in Visa Gift Cards
- Rewards = $30 Rakuten / $25.02 Freedom
- Earn $150 in Kohl’s Cash
- Net price = $445 (plus tax) for $434 in Visa Gift Cards + $150 in Kohl’s cash + 31 small appliances
These Kohl’s small appliance deals can be a nice way to meet minimum spending requirements. Keep your eye on the various shopping portals after midnight and perhaps someone will be offering a more compelling rebate in terms of portal rewards. Personally, I plan to buy a few this time to donate and I’ll head to Kohl’s to pick up some clothes for my son to outgrow in a few months. I’ll earn some credit card rewards and feel good about the start to my holiday shopping.
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