Saving money on anything is not something that will generally happen automatically. You may get lucky at times and get an awesome deal every now and then. Although, to get the best deal possible does require work in the form of research and the ability to negotiate.
There are some basic things that you can do that can help save money on buying new products and services (online or in the real world), or how to get better deals on ones that you're already paying for.
- Before buying anything, do some research on the products or services that you want. Make sure to read the reviews to know what model, features, and options that you must absolutely have. See which businesses are offering it, and what is the best price they offer.
- Tip: Don't impulse buy, be willing to wait a day before completing the purchase.
- Tip: Some businesses offer price matching programs to compete with other business.
- Buying with the seasons. Depending on the products and services you want to buy will vary depending on the season or even the day of week. This rule mostly applies to traveling and getting the best deals for hotels, plane tickets, rental cars, etc. Although, this rule can also be applied to anything else, such as cars, clothes, computers, etc.
- Tip: If you're looking for the best deal on sports equipment (new or used) buy it towards the end of the season.
- Shopping for software and computer discounts. If you're a student
or the parent of a student, then you might be able to leverage special
software or computer discounts. Depending on the software you also
might be able to buy special OEM bundles. Some manufactures and
retailers offers students better deals on new computer equipment. Also
don't forget to leverage price comparison sites (e.g. Google Shopping, Bing, etc.), search for coupon codes, checking for local store ads and utilizing physical coupons.
- Tip: There are several web sites, newsletters and browser add-ons designed to help you save you money.
- Tip: To save additional money, try buying a previous generation or refurbished version of the product.
- Avoid accepting the extended product warranty offers on TVs, computers, mobile devices and other products. In my opinion most extended warranty offers are a waste of money, no matter what the customer representative tells you. These programs are very lucrative for the retailer, they will often make an additional 10-20% on the sale of the item.
- Tip: Some credit cards offer free extended product warranties if you buy the product with their card.
- Save money on your insurance, gym, cable, credit card or any other company that you regularly do business with. Try asking for better rates or fees or let them know you will take your business else where. Always be polite and confident when you talk to the company. Don't be afraid to ask for the customer retention department if the customer service agent can't help you. Watch this video for more information.
- Tip: Try to do this once a year. Also research other businesses that are offering the same service at a lower cost.
- Negotiate for a better deal. When you're buying something, don't be afraid to ask for a better deal on what you're trying to buy (e.g. products, services, medical, etc.). Never be afraid to walk away from the deal if you're not able to get the price you want.
- Tip: Sometimes based on where you work or go to school, you might be able to leverage special discounts with that business.
- Learn how to read price codes. Some large stores use price codes to indicate if a product is being discounted, and the type of discount it is. For example, the price code is generally the last digit or letter on the price. If the price ends in another number besides 9 or contains a letter then it could mean something. You will have to do some research to know exactly what the numbers or letters may mean, this will vary between businesses.
- Try abandoning your online shopping cart (i.e. load an item into it but don't buy it), then leave the site for a day or two and see if the company sends you any special offers or discounts to come back and buy the item.
- Some web sites may offer special savings or incentives if you try to cancel your service. Try pressing the cancel button and see what happens, the site may offer you a discount or special offer to stay. You don't need to talk to a customer service agent to get these offers.
- When going to a store that has a "rewards card" program, but you don't have a rewards card and don't want to sign up for it. Try using the famous phone number: 867-5309 with the local area code and see what happens.
- Understanding dynamic pricing. Large retailers are starting to adjust the price of items based on the time of day, day of the week, or season. It's hard to know when is the best time to buy. Join a price alerting web site (search) to help you find the best price.
- Tip: Try clearing your browser cookies or using another computer to see if you can get better pricing on a web site that you use a lot. If necessary take a screen shot of the web site page, and contact the customer service department if you find a better deal.
- Leverage discounted gift cards. Some businesses offer discounts on gift cards, this can be an automatic five, ten percent or more savings. Also check out sites that allow you to buy or sell gift card points at a reduced cost.
- Tip: Before using any new site to make an online purchase make sure to read the online reviews of the site. Using your favorite search engine, do a search of the business name plus keywords like "review", "complaint" or "scam".
- Check out eBay or Craigslist. Depending on what you want to buy, you might be able to find a better deal by buying it with one of these sites. The quality and condition of the item can vary, and the items will but you could say some money.
- Note: you will have to use some common sense and caution when using these sites. There are a lot of good people out there but there also some bad ones as well.