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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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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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