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Consumer advice 101

Scoring a good deal takes some effort but will pay off in the long run. Research reviews posted on product pages or through consumer review sites for feedback on quality and reliability. Compare prices among retailers - you never know who may be offering a better deal.
Do your homework

Resist temptation Buying on impulse most likely means that you haven't had time to compare prices or read reviews - and usually lead to buyer's remorse. If sales and markdowns tempt you into spending, ask yourself if you'd buy the item at full price. Probably not.

Use coupons Coupons can be quickly accessed through social media sites or downloaded to smartphones. If there's a "promo code" or "coupon code" box on the checkout screen, odds are there's a discount out there too. Set up automated notifications for when free shipping and other discounts are available from your favourite retailers.

Negotiate Shopping for electronics, appliances or jewelry sometimes offers an opportunity for price negotiation. If you find the sales associate isn't much help, ask to speak with a manager or supervisor who may have more authority to issue a discount. Don't forget to point out product damage or lower competitor prices for leverage.

Bypass extended warranties Consumer Reports found that most major appliances don't break within that extended coverage period and, if they do, the average price of repair costs the same as the warranty itself. Protect your investment by purchasing big ticket items with a major credit card that may double the manufacturer warranty for free.

Store cards: don't go there Store cards are notorious for carrying high-interest rates that lead you to buy more than you ever intended. What's more, requesting a new line of credit will also temporarily lower your credit score, making future car or mortgage loans harder to negotiate and more expensive.

Buy used From garage sales to consignment clothing to online reselling sites like eBay and Craigslist, it's easier than ever to get your hands on cheaper, second-hand goods at a huge discount.


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