Normally you hear about those extended warranties on electronics, and the common consensus is that they are a waste of money. I tend to agree, but when it came to our Xbox 360, it was the best investment we could have made. We picked up our Xbox in December of 2006, and back then Microsoft only offered a 1 year warranty. This is usually fine, but there were rumors around the internet that people were seeing problems. Once your warranty was up, it cost around $100 to send it to Microsoft to have it repaired, and you’d be without your unit for typically 4-6 weeks. That seemed a bit steep considering the unit itself was only $379.
So, we were presented with a 2-year replacement plan for about $53. It basically had two good features: you could simply take it back to Best Buy and immediately get a replacement, and it extended beyond the standard warranty. Not too bad, so we figured that even if if broke after the first year, since it would have otherwise cost around $100 to have them repair it, we’re basically cutting our repair cost in half.
The saga begins. Microsoft shortly after acknowledged the high failure rate, so they decided to extend the warranty to 3 years for all units. At first, that seems to make our extended warranty purchase look like a bit of a waste. But, there is good news. Our first unit broke in January of 2007, just over a year from the initial purchase. Thanks to the protection plan, we were able to simply get a no-hassle exchange. And just last weekend, we had the dreaded problem again. Luckily, we still have about 6 months left on our protection plan, so it was off to Best Buy for a replacement.
Well, this is where things really begin to pay off. Since the bundle we purchased back in 2006 was no longer something they sold (it had something to do with a free game that was included that we never played and returned it with our first exchange), they offered an exchange for a comparable product. Well, for some reason, the lady that was helping me said the comparable product was the Xbox 360 Elite, which sells for around $450. So, she gave me a store credit for $480 to account for sales tax. So not only did we get a new Xbox, but we essentially got a free upgrade to a better model that costs close to $100 more.
To make things even better, we now get a new 3-year warranty from Microsoft on this new unit, extending our coverage to 2011. I doubt we’ll have to use it, since this newer build has an updated motherboard and a CPU with smaller size and power consumption, but it is nice to know we have a lot of life left in this thing. So, spending $53 to get two free replacements and a free upgrade has turned out to be quite nice. I still don’t typically recommend these types of protection plans, but in this case, it really did pay for itself and then some.
But enough about that, here are some links:
Choosing a Financial Planner – Not everyone needs professional help, but if you are considering an advisor, there are some things you need to know going in so that you can find one that is right for you.
Find The Best Jobs To Ride Out A Recession – Are we in a recession or not? Experts can’t seem to agree, but nevertheless, people are feeling the crunch right now. SVB highlights some traits of jobs that are able to weather a recession and some sample jobs that might fit the bill.
What is Credit Card Arbitrage? – This practice uses credit cards to take advantage of special offers so that you can actually use them to make money. There are some risks involved, but a lot of people do it with some success. It isn’t something I have time for, but it may be something you could use.
For Sale By Owner: How to Prove Your Home is Worth Your Asking Price – In a seller’s market, you really have to prove that your home is worth what you’re asking, especially if you’re selling it on your own. Ben has put together some things to help you prove to buyers that your home is worth every penny.
Comparing The Cost Of Moving – Do It Yourself Or Hire Movers? – Having spent the better part of the last decade moving every year or two, I can say that regardless of cost, I’m now going to pay someone. But if you are facing the question of hiring someone or not, this is a good resource to help you determine which option might be better.
Introduction To Morningstar Style Box – Moolanomy has a good writeup that talks about the Morningstar style box, and how it can be used when looking at your investments. I love Morningstar, so I think this is worth reading if you’re interested in researching your investments in more depth.
International ETFs Suffer as US Stocks Plunge – If you think that this subprime mess and credit crunch is only hurting here at home, you should look overseas. While some areas have weathered the storm better than others, our problems are not only affecting the markets here.
Cats in the Cradle, Money, and Family – We often get caught up in money and can overlook the things that are really important in life. Frugal Trader had one of those moments to ponder what really matters.
Saving Money on Groceries: Picking the Right Store – Grocery bills are increasing, so that means people are trying to find ways to save money shopping. One way to do this is to pick the right store for the right kind of items. Certain types of stores can provide better deals than others. Just make sure that you’re not driving 10 extra miles to save a dollar at another store, or you’ll wipe out all of your savings.
How America Grew Rich, Fat and Unhappy – We’ve grown to believe that we are entitled to have things–many things in our lives. That is what the American dream is all about. Well, these same things can also have a negative aspect as well.
I was also featured in two carnivals this week: Carnival of Personal Finance #157: Third Anniversary Edition and was a recommended pick at Consumer Focused Carnival of Real Estate.
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Filed Under: Friday Finance Findings
About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.