Getting a good deal on something I want is a MUST for me. This is especially true since I do follow more of a no budget philosophy instead of a regimented, “only spend X amount on food” each month type of philosophy. But just because I don’t budget doesn’t mean I want to overpay on something. On the contrary, I want to walk away from a purchase knowing I got the lowest price possible. For example, you may remember my car buying negotiation story, where I went to the car dealer on four different occasions to negotiate the price of the car I wanted. Anyway, here are five ways to find and get the best deal on something you want. You may even be able to employ multiple strategies to get an even better deal.
The first tip to get the best deal is to negotiate on price. This is pretty uncommon in the United States, unless you’re buying a car, but negotiation is common almost everywhere else in the world. And furthermore, there is no rule saying you CAN’T negotiate on price. The best advice I ever received for negotiating was, “the higher the price, and the higher the margin, the more you can negotiate”. And it makes total sense – you’re not going to negotiate on a bottle of Tide laundry soap, but you’re going to negotiate on cars and houses. To improve your chances of negotiating, try the following:
- Always be polite, courteous, and a little curious into why they can’t go lower
- Do your homework and know the real cost (chances are they won’t go lower than that)
- Check for damage, like scuffs and scrapes – those are almost guaranteed discounts
2. Use Deal Sites
Another way you can try to find the best deal on something is to use those daily deal sites that are everywhere. In general, you can expect to save anywhere from 40-90% when using a daily deal coupon. Now, these sites may not always have stuff you’re looking for, but if they do, jump on it. Some of the most popular sites include:
You can also use cashback sites like Ebates or TopCashBack to earn even more money as a rebate when you shop.
3. Shop Online
Along with the deal sites, you can also make sure that you’re checking online to find the best deals. Sites like Amazon.com have huge amounts of products available, and you can not only see what they sell things for, but also what the Marketplace has to offer. This is where you can see what other sellers are offering the product “New and Used Starting From…”. Beyond just Amazon, you might consider sites like eBay and see what private sellers are offering the items for. Even if you don’t buy online, it could give you leverage if you negotiate.
4. Use Coupons
Next, consider using regular coupons – especially if you are looking for good deals on the regular groceries and household items you normally buy. I’m by no means an extreme couponer, but I think that you can save a lot of money if you spend a few minutes and check for coupons.
If you’re interested in couponing, check out a site like The Krazy Coupon Lady, and see what coupons and deals you can find.
For example, combine this step with #3 – shopping online. You can find a great deal on a site like eBay, then search for eBay coupons and save even more money!
5. Just Ask!
Finally, just ask! It never hurts to ask “Is this your best price” or “what else can you do”. It’s not negotiating or haggling, just inquiring. You might also ask if they offer any discounts you could qualify for – like military, AAA, or more.
How do you find the best deal?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.