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There’s pretty much always a way to get something for less. Here, the best expert advice to help you save money on big ticket items like electronics, furniture, jewelry, and more.
1. Try Asking
This may sound basic, but just asking for a discount can often get you a deal. Don't be intimidated by big-box retailers—you never know when the store may be having a sale and a scan of a coupon at the register can save you big. They may not always negotiate on price, but you won't know until you ask. If you're not making any headway with the sales rep, ask to speak to a manager. And always ask for a price break on a display model.
2. Do Your Research and Bring it Into the Store
If you find something for a better price than offered at a brick and mortar store, bring the ad when you go shopping. Some businesses offer a price match option, but it may not always apply to online deals. Make sure that your ad is current, and that it is for the exact brand and model number of the item at your store. If your store doesn't do price matching, show them the ad anyway and ask if they could at least do a little better. Even if you're only saving $20, it's still worth the effort.
3. Offer to Pay Cash
This definitely won't work at a larger retailer, but smaller stores will often give you a bit of a discount when paying cash. Retailers are charged every time a credit card is swiped, so by offering to pay in cash, you may be able to score a deal. The average swipe fee for a business is around 3%, so your expected discount may not be significant, but if you're making a large purchase, the savings can add up.
4. Tell Them Your Budget
If you're on a budget, tell the sales rep how much you have to spend. By letting them know you're working with a set amount of money, you may be able to score a better deal. Just be sure when you negotiate. Also, using sympathy never hurts. It could be that your daughter needs a new laptop for school but you were just laid off. Don't be dishonest though.
5. Don’t Look Desperate
When asking about something, make it seem like you could live perfectly well without it. Make sure the salesperson knows this is not an emergency and you don’t need to buy it today. Just keep in mind that this strategy generally only works if you're making a large purchase such as a new car or an expensive diamond ring.
6. Get Extras Included
If you're spending $600 on a laptop computer, there's a chance you could get some extras thrown in for free. If you need a wireless mouse or a laptop case, tell a manager you're willing to pay full price if you can get those extras thrown in. You definitely want to get a manager involved when asking for this type of discount.
7. Use Your Credit Card's Price Protection Program
Some credit cards offer price protection on your purchases. If you find it at a cheaper price within a certain time frame (usually between 60 and 90 days) the issuer refunds you the difference. Some of the credit cards offered by both Citi and Chase come with price protection. Rules and restrictions generally apply, so be sure to call customer service to find out the details.
David Bakke is a writer for the personal finance website, Money Crashers. He writes about smart shopping strategies, money management, and investing. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.