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8 Strategies to Help You Get the Best Price on Everything

8 Strategies to Help You Get the Best Price on Everything

Nobody wants to be the sucker who overpays for something, but in the consumer-mad 21st century, it is often challenging to find the best price for the object of your heart’s desire. You might head to the store and buy a new TV on Saturday and see the same model on sale at a different shop a week later for half the price. It might take a little leg work to make sure you get the best deal on your new car or computer, but the money you save will be worth it in the end. Use these 8 tips to get the best price on everything.

1. The Snoop

The most basic thing you can do to make sure you get the best price on something is to do your research online before making a purchase. It might be helpful to go to the store to ask some preliminary questions, but you should never buy until you understand the comparisons involved. Plenty of websites offer online guides and product reviews. Some corners of the Internet even have forums where you can ask tech experts specific questions before you reach for your wallet.

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2. The Ask

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say. You would be surprised by what deals are available if you are just willing to ask for them. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Most stores have policies in place that allow associates or at least managers to be flexible on the price of certain items. The only trick is that you have to be the one to start the conversation.

3. The Power Ladder

When you are face-to-face with a sales associate, you might find that they are hesitant to offer you a better price for something. Maybe they are afraid they will get in trouble. Maybe they are inexperienced with the art of negotiation. Either way, if you aren’t making any progress with the first person you speak to, ask to see a manager. Don’t belittle the person you are already talking to, but politely mention that you have a specific budget and ask if they would mind getting a manager for you. Manners are key in any situation like this.

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4. The Clock-Master

There are certain times of day and certain days in the year when you are more likely to get the best price for something. Forget about Black Friday and Boxing Day—start your negotiations at the end of the day when all anyone wants to do it go home or wait until the last few days of the quarter when salespeople will be fighting to make their sales quotas.

5. The Package Price

If you are buying multiple items from the same retailer that go together (ex. TV, speakers, blu-ray player, etc.) ask for a package price. You are more likely to save a little money on each item if you can demonstrate to the salesperson that you are likely to be a loyal and returning customer who is willing to make big purchases.

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6. The Non-Committal Glance

If you are serious about buying something and you are ready to start the price conversation, do it in a way that shows you are not desperate to have whatever the item is. Be aloof. Act like you’ve seen better products at countless other stores. Make the salesperson work for the sale. The moment they are sure you will buy something regardless of the price, the negotiation is over.

7. The Flinch

When you ask for the best price on an item, always act surprised when you are told what it is. Let the salesperson know in an obvious way that you were expecting the price to be lower and that your expectations are based on evidence. Let them know you saw a better price somewhere else and that they will need to do better if they want your business.

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8. The Bidding War

Finally, don’t be afraid to use capitalism to your advantage. Go to a few stores and tell the salespeople at each the best price you were offered by their competitors. Many companies have policies to help them match or even beat the best price offered by competitors. The best organizations understand that if you make a customer happy, they are likely to come back again and again. Very often, building that relationship is as important to a salesperson as making money in the short-run.

Featured photo credit: Dan Zen via flickr.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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