It used to be that you had a very limited number of options to purchase something. If you were buying a car, there were just a handful of dealers in town. If you wanted groceries, there were a couple of supermarkets. Today, through the power of the internet and various remote technologies, competition is higher than ever (which means prices have fallen).
5 Ways to Never Pay Full Price
Let’s be blunt about something: paying full price is for suckers. While there are some exceptions, they’re becoming fewer and farther between. The internet has increased the amount of information individual consumers have available at their fingertips, which has enhanced competition among businesses and retailers. As a result, coupons, discounts, and deals are widely available.
While lower prices might be readily available, this doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to save every time you go to purchase something. You have to be smart and strategic.
- Learn to Negotiate
Most Americans don’t have much experience with negotiating. (Our marketplace is structured in a way that most prices are set in a take-it-or-leave-it manner.) But when it comes to larger purchases – such as appliances, vehicles, homes, etc. – you must learn how to negotiate if you want a good price.
While the classic model says each party names a price and you eventually meet in the middle, this isn’t necessarily the best approach. Being more aggressive can often get you a better price.
“If you are going to make the first offer or name a price in a counteroffer, make it ridiculously low. Not only does it set the price anchor very low, but it puts the seller on the defensive,” Carl Natale writes for Money Crashers. “If they have a negotiating plan, it’s unlikely they will follow it after a ridiculous offer. They instead focus on getting a price higher than what you offer, and not what they want. The end result is a much lower price than what is considered reasonable.”
- Find Coupons
We live in a world where you can find a discount or coupon for almost anything. The key is to know where to look. Having sites like Promocodes.com bookmarked will allow you to run quick searches before you complete purchases for the products you have in your cart.
- Time Your Purchases Better
In some industries and product categories, timing is everything. By timing your purchases better, you may be able to save as much as 50 percent on certain items.
Take clothing as an example. Buying winter clothing at the start of spring (and vice versa) typically allows you to get huge discounts. Then there are seasonal sale periods or days – such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Planning ahead may give you the chance to save big.
- Comparison Shop
It’s important to comparison shop when you’re buying an item that’s available from numerous companies. In addition to manually searching your favorite sites, you can also use comparison search engines like Become.com.
“If you want to save money, don’t stop your comparison shopping at things like books and DVDs,” savvy shopper Juliana Weiss-Roessler writes. “One of the best ways to save is by comparing services like phone, Internet, and cable plans. “
- Use Cash-Back Cards and Websites
You may have to pay full price for something, but there are always opportunities to get some rewards points or promotional items by using cash-back cards and member websites. For best results, be selective with how you pay.
Spend Less and Invest the Savings
If you want to be smart with your money, it’s not enough to find deals and pay less. In order to build wealth and become financially independent, you also need to save.
As a rule of thumb, you should invest the savings you get from deals and discounts. For example, let’s say you would have spent $500 on a new dishwasher, but you found a deal that brought the price down to $400. Instead of spending that $100 savings on something you don’t really need, put it into a savings account or mutual fund. The same goes for big-ticket savings like cars and houses. When you treat your savings as investments, you’re able to build serious wealth without skimping on your current lifestyle.