Getting ready for Black Friday mileage maximizing shopping!

First and foremost, happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year, including all of the amazing friends I’ve made through this hobby.

Anyway, it’s not all fun and games this Thanksgiving for me, as I’m trying to develop a serious shopping strategy for tomorrow. No, I’m not taking part in all of the “Occupy Best Buy” movements that seem to be going on around the country as people tent out for cheap electronics, but rather I’ll do so from the comfort of my home.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I’m actually in the process of moving, and there couldn’t be a better time in terms of furnishing a new apartment with items you can get at a great price with some nice mileage bonuses too. Y’all have been incredibly helpful with providing suggestions, so first I owe you guys an update as to what I’ve done so far.

As I mentioned in the linked blog post, I knew I wanted a W or Westin bed, since they’re among the most comfortable ones out there. There was a 35% discount code floating around for the W Hotel Store, though I also noticed Rue La La was having a sale on W beds last week.

I was there promptly at 11AM when the “shop” opened, though after browsing for an hour I left frustrated. Yes, I could have bought a mattress there, but I have no clue what the heck else I needed, and the descriptions of the accessories (duvet, pillows, shams, etc.) were awful, so I had no clue what I would be buying.

So I did what any frustrated buyer would do, and went to the W Hotel Store and bought the complete bedding set, including mattress, pillows, duvet, etc. The only catch is that the complete set is the one item in the entire store that doesn’t qualify for the 35% bonus.

Still, when I added up the cost of all the individual items, it turned out to not be such a bad deal, and it’s really convenient. The Starlight queen pillow top set set me back $1,724.

Not cheap, but I think people tend to undervalue a good night of sleep, so I was happy to pay the price, especially since I wouldn’t have to invest any more time in it. Still, it was a complete mileage failure, since the W Hotel Store doesn’t belong to any mileage mall.

Doesn’t it look comfy?

So tomorrow I have to make up for being an utter mileage failure by taking full advantage of the 10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent that the Ultimate Rewards mall is offering for shopping at Best Buy. I’m coming to y’all for help since I want to make sure I don’t screw this up. I don’t want to blindly buy stuff just because I’m earning miles, so I’m trying to factor in things like sales tax that applies to purchases at Best Buy but not at MacMall, for example.

What am I planning on getting so far?

Apple iMac for $1,050 plus tax
Bonus: 11,550 Ultimate Rewards points 

This is an incredible deal. Last week when I posted about the iMac, Best Buy was charging $1,133, so it’s nice to see I can not only get a huge discount, but also earn 11+ points per dollar tomorrow (10 point per dollar bonus, one point per dollar for normal credit card spend, and then 7% points dividend). I value them at two cents each, so to me that’s a 20%+ discount on the iMac, over and above the already discounted price.

Apple Keyboard for $50 plus tax
Reward: 550 Ultimate Rewards points

While the iMac does come with a wireless keyboard, it doesn’t have a keypad. I need a keypad, so I might as well get the wired keyboard tomorrow.

Keurig Special Edition Brewing System for $150 plus tax
Reward:  1,650 Ultimate Rewards points

This is thanks to the suggestions you guys provided me with a couple of weeks back. I’m addicted to coffee and I want it without much effort, so you can’t beat the Keurig system where all you have to do is insert one of the K-Cups and 60 seconds later have a cup of coffee.

Question: Best Buy sells the K-Cups for $11.99 for an 18-pack — is it worth ordering some to start with, or are they available cheaper elsewhere? In other words is it worth ordering them through Best Buy for the 11+ points per dollar, or is the bonus negated by discounted prices elsewhere?

That’s all I’m totally committed to so far.

Things I’m considering include:

  • Printers — laser vs. ink. Are laser printers worth it? I print a good amount, though laser printers typically only print blank, so I’ll probably end up having two printers then. Worthwhile or no? If yes, then does anyone have any recommendations?
  • Desk. I need a real desk, preferably a big corner desk, though I’m thinking this might be an area where I’m best off just going to a furniture store vs. trying to maximize miles through an online shopping mall?
  • TV. I’ve gotta confess I don’t remember the last time I watched TV. I watch the shows I want to see on Hulu, though at the same time I’ve always had a TV. As much as I doubt I’ll actually end up watching it a whole lot, it would be weird not to have one.
  • Air purifier. For absolutely no good reason I’m thinking of getting one. Worthwhile or no?
Anyway, just throwing out a bunch of my thoughts as I start to prepare for tomorrow. If anyone has any thoughts I’d certainly welcome them, or if I’m missing anything from the above list that’s a “must” (or you think anything on the above list is total crap), please let me know!


  1. Splurge a few hundred more and get the iMac
    With 27 inch monitor. It’s absolutely spectacular and you can really use it when putting together a MR.

    The mouse it comes with is fine so I’d skip the $50 purchase

    I’d get a printer/scan/copier from Epsom – so many uses and they are wireless!

    Re:tv – avoid 3d but get 120z instead of 60z.

    Newegg has monitor 70 speakers (2), 1 center speaker, and subwoofer for 70 pct off – $694 ai in cherry which looks great

    Re:desk – Herman Miller sale right now and designwithinreach is super cool looking too

  2. I have an air purifier that I run every night, because I love the white noise it provides. I find it hard to sleep without one now! I use a rainbow –

  3. Mate, I’ve not owned a TV since…since…actually, I can’t remember. I’ve certainly not used one regularly since I was at uni in the early 2000s. Everything comes to my laptop, and when it’s something with sound I want to listen to I hook the laptop up to my Bose dock.

    For big events I want to watch (like, idk, elections? New Year’s fireworks? Eurovision?) I make a point of going over to a mate’s house to watch. Gives me an excuse to spend quality time with friends and I get to save the space and cost of a TV.

    In terms of other things you might consider on the “get them now while you get extra miles” front:

    • backup storage for the iMac (i.e., Time Machine and/or external hard drive)
    • on-the-road backups (i.e., USB-powered hard drive)
    • work chair
    • Airport Express if you want to play music in another room from iTunes

  4. Ben-

    The laser printer/inkjet difference is substantial in terms of cost savings, so, I would certainly get a laser printer.

    You can get a color laser for not that much – Looks like HP actually has copy/print/scan/fax color lasers so that’s probably your best bet if you’re not going to be doing tons of printing.

    Do you have an Airport to do wireless/Internet routing given you’ll have a laptop and desktop now?

  5. If you get a tv why not get one with wifi and apps so you can watch hulu/netflix without another device?

  6. Definitely get a laser printer. Saves big bucks over the long term.

    Keurig 60-packs are available at Sam’s/Costco for around $36-37, so 60+ cents a cup; I’d say go for it with Best Buy. Have not checked Amazon or done any other looking.

  7. Get a b&w laser that is wireless. You will never realize how you lived without it if you print often. I got a nice HP one at BB for $100 last summer.

    For a desk, check out room & Board. A little pricey, but it is so durable and will last you forever.

    A Herman Miller aeron chair would be nice too.

  8. I love my Keurig, so great idea. Personally, I find the Paul Newman coffee the best, so I would get those K-cups.

  9. Go ahead and spend the money on a color laser. If you print a lot you can save in the long run (It took a full semester for my law school roommate to print through the cartridge that came with mine

  10. -Amazon sells K-cups at a good price(about $0.60/cup)

    -Def get a laser printer

    -Don’t get a TV. Waste of money. You’ll have a nice iMac and laptop to watch shows and movies on

    -Air purifier is the biggest waste of money ever. I had one for a while and the air didn’t seem any more pure.

  11. Get an HP black and white laser printer. Do not buy a color inkjet which you will spend lots of $$$ on ink cartridges. Do NOT get a HP color laser printer as the 4 cartridges will cost mucho $$$$$$$ and more than the printer. If you shop at Costco, you get a money back guarantee.

  12. Look at Cafe Express from Green Mountain or Keurig I forget. It’s 13.99 for 24 count box and usually can find coupons or discounts to add on top of it.

  13. Congrats on the move.
    Due to the hours I work I bought some black-out blinds and they are amazing, very reasonably priced as well.
    Nice to see all the iced coffee rec’s as well, I’m thinking of getting a Keurig sooner rather than later.
    Not a bad price for your bed either, especially when you factor in the fact that you’re gonna be spending alot of time in it over the lifetime of the mattress.
    Best of luck(y) in the new home.

  14. Ben,

    If you do get a mufti-function laser, I would strongly recommend buying a Canon Image Class to go with your new iMac. For one, it is simpler in terms of replacing the cartridge and tech support is far better than HP, which has the worst tech support in the industry. Compare the Canon Image Class printers on the Canon USA site to make your choice and then buy it from Best Buy.

  15. Definitely get a laser printer. That’s what I use for the home office, even when I get inkjet printers for free. Inkjets are just not worth it. A $400 laser printer will go a long way (and will be colored as well)

    I’m partial to TVs, since its content keeps me employed 🙂

    Regarding desks – that’s a personal question. I have a great corner desk with bells and whistles, but some days I just want a BIG empty working surface. My choice would be a flat desk with no fancy things attached.

    Also, get a Fujitsu paper scanner. The one I have, S300, has saved me more times than I can count.

  16. chitownflyer is right in terms of technologies. I think you can do yourself a favor by looking at reviews on where most buyers are more tech savvy than bestbuy salespeople.

    I rarely need to print in color, so I wouldn’t have a problem with monochrome laser. Some good brands of color laser printers are much cheaper than HP in terms of toner, Samsung comes to mind.

    Definitely the 27″ iMac or skip it altogether. But you don’t need a desktop to convince yourself you’re doing real work.

    I’d look at a good router from newegg, one that supports network printing and network storage over the USB ports, so you don’t have to pay extra when you buy peripherals.

    I rarely watch regular TV, but I do enjoy to watch videos and rented movies from iTunes or Netflix on the real TV through the AppleTV. I would much rather spend $800 on a TV and $200 on a monitor for the laptop (you can get a 23-25″ for that money), but that’s not eye-candy like a big iMac.

    Regarding external storage, there is a surge in pricing now due to the flooding in Thailand, some might still be good deals, but prices are quite high and they will be for a little while. I’d hold on and use online services like for important files.

    Anyway, a LOT of conflicting advice here. To me, getting the right stuff is more important than 20-30k miles. Don’t rush it if you’re not sure.

    Happy shopping!

  17. Buying the iMac from Apple on Monday for 10x points will allow you to build a “custom system” to swap out the wireless for wired keyboard for free and get a printer discount bundle for $100 rebate

    Since you rarely watch tv, just get the 27″ iMac and watch dvds on it instead of a tv. Plenty of savings!

    Staples offers Diet Coke w/ free shipping UR 5x points on 11/27. Limes… I wonder if a fruit basket company has some?
    As for desks, Ikea offers the Galant desk in a left and right corner config I think there are a few finishes, too. My desk is this one
    Otherwise, if you don’t need as much real estate, I’d go with West Elm’s Parsons desk with drawers as an affordable desk.

    Splurge on the office chair rather than the desk. The chair is much more important for ergonomics. Besides, any tech geek could tell you, the status symbol among office furniture is the chair. Herman Miller Aeron or Steelcase Leap are popular.

  18. Re: printers – HP sucks. Cartridge replacements are obscenely expensive, and they have some stupid system that prevents you from printing (even black-only) if the color cartridges get too low – or, apparently, too old, since mine started giving me the “yellow ink too low to print” one day out of nowhere, when I hadn’t printed in color in weeks. Also, on Windows, the bloatware required for anything but the most basic printing functions is a huge pain. We got a Brother color laser printer on sale recently at Office Depot and have been really happy with it.

  19. Re: coffee, I have both Keurig and Nespresso. I’d definitely go with the Keurig for everyday use. Sam’s and Costco both have Starbucks K-cups now which are wonderful but about 60 cents each. Go with Staples 24 packs with $25 off coupons from e-junkie, and you’ll bring down the price to 30 cents each — a steal especially if you stack with UR 5x on Staples. Stock up!

  20. Do you have to use your Chase Sap card(in addition to going through Ultimate Rewards) when checking out at Best Buy to get the 10+1 points per dollar or do you just have to go through Ultimate Rewards?

  21. Staples is selling the HP LaserJet ProCP1525NW color wireless laser printer for $149.98. I think you can order it at the price online.

    I have used a Brother B&W laser printer for years and love it.

  22. I’m a huge iced coffee fan as well, and use a Keurig for it. The one thing I’d warn you is that if you like your iced coffee strong, get a B70 instead of a B60, as it adds a 4oz cup size. The smallest on a B60 is 6oz, which can be a little weak when poured over ice.

    The best deal I’ve gotten on K-cups is from Staples on slickdeals, down at around 35c a cup. Otherwise, the BJ’s/Costco/etc packs seem to be the best deal.

    For a desk, I use an Ikea Galant, as I needed a lot of raw space, which it does a great job at. I would normally ignore Ikea, but we used them at work and I have become addicted to the large amount of workspace. There are tons of options, both in design (rectangle, corner, extensions – I did a corner with 1 extension) legs (T leg or A leg, I went T leg), and colors (I did black).

    If you print a lot, don’t screw around with an inkjet, you will end up spending a ton on ink.

  23. Printer- You have to go HP LaserJet black & white, buy refilled or off brand toner. We only buy HP at work, because they are some of the most reliable and cheap to buy / own.

    TV- Get the cheapest 32″ TV you can find from a name brand, you can always hook up an Apple TV or Wii, Roku, Etc.

  24. You guys are so awesome. As a quick update:

    — I just purchased the HP Laserjet printer for $150. What a steal!

    — Per the suggestion of a blog reader, I purchased the Keurig system through Koehls. I was about to buy it for $160 including tax through Best Buy, though Kohls was selling it for $135, plus has a 20% discount code, plus offers $15 Kohls Cash for every $50 spent, plus offers ten points per dollar. So I paid $115 including tax and still get $30 Kohls Cash plus 11 points per dollar. Awesome!

    — I’ve officially been “upsold” by y’all from the 21″ iMac to the 27″ iMac. Oy.

    Keep the suggestions coming!

  25. @ Leston — You only have to use the Sapphire Preferred in order to earn the one point earned on the card. You should be able to use another card and still earn 10 points per dollar through the mall.

  26. Congrats on the new place! Definitely go with the Keurig with multiple cup sizes. It gets used quite a bit at our house. Take a look at Coffee for Less if you want to order k-cups online. Costco is great, too. Check out Apple’s website if you want an AirPrint compatible printer as it gives you the ability to print from your iMac, iPhone and iPad. I ordered an HP Photosmart d110 and it does the job. Good luck!

  27. I definitely recommend Design Within Reach (Love the Eames Herman Miller chairs on sale right now) as @Michael mentioned above. Much of my home furniture is from DWR. They might be a bit pricier than you’d like however. It’s called Design Within Reach as it offers prices “within reach” to regular people compared to the pieces in Dwell, Architectural Digest etc. For example a $2000 desk instead of a $23,000 desk. Whatever you end up doing furniture-wise definitely see it/sit in it before you buy, even if you want to eventually use an online shopping mall. There is no DWR in Tampa but I’m sure you’ll end up near one (tons in Manhattan, California, even one in Seattle).

    Laser printers are much more economical when you start printing more than a dozen or so pages a day, simply because of the high cost of ink compared to toner.

    Any air purifier that talks about “negative ions” or the like is basically a scam and actually creates smog like conditions. I’d generally pass on them all together.

    If you really don’t watch TV much then just pick up a cheap one as part of Black Friday.

  28. Ditto for the laser. They are fast and toner lasts for well over 1,000 pages. If you need color occasionally get a copy/scanner/color inkjet printer. My laser is a brothers and I got it for 99

  29. BTW, I read somewhere that the patent for the K-cup runs out next year. So the cups will decrease in price a lot eventually.

  30. bed bath and beyond is a great place to buy k-cups. best return policy out there. get their 20% off coupons and have at it.

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