5 Ways to Avoid Paying Full Price in Stores

grocery shopping
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There is rarely any reason to pay the retail price for anything you buy in a store.

With the rise of online shopping — which allows for instant price comparisons — brick-and-mortar establishments must go the extra mile to earn your business.

To score bargains, you simply need the tools to pay less for what you want. Read on to fill your tool kit.

1. Negotiate

Negotiating over the cost of eye glasses.
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Most people are uncomfortable haggling. Instead, we’re used to opening our wallets and saying, “Here.” But it is often worth trying to bargain.

A few tips for haggling:

  • Do your homework to know what the price should be.
  • Make sure you are asking the right person for the discount.
  • Pay with cash instead of plastic.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away.

Just remember, the first price isn’t always the final price, and there is no harm in asking for a better deal.

2. Use online tools

Hands holding a cellphone with a digital coupon showing.
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Never walk into a store without your smartphone.

You can use it to check sites like Coupons.com for coupons than can be redeemed in stores. For deals on eating out and entertainment, check out Restaurant.com, Groupon or LivingSocial.

You can also install a free app like Ibotta or Receipt Hog, which will pay you cash rebates for purchases you make from many retail chains and elsewhere.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson suggests following companies you like on Twitter and liking them on Facebook. Many offer special discounts and advance notice on upcoming deals at their stores through social media.

Another way to get coupons and other discounts is by signing up to be on company email lists.

Stacy also recommends tapping the power of the internet when negotiating:

“I’ll pull out my smartphone and show a store manager how much something costs online. Now, they don’t always match that price, but they will often give me a discount.”

3. Pay with a discounted gift card

Woman at store, holding a card.
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Discounted gift card marketplaces are websites that enable people to sell their unwanted gift cards for less than their face value to savvy shoppers.

So, for example, you may be able to buy someone’s unwanted $50 Eddie Bauer gift card for $40 — 20 percent off the face value. That means you effectively save 20 percent on everything you buy with that gift card.

Just beware of scams. Only buy from reputable websites. Popular legitimate discounted gift card marketplaces — which also offer one-year guarantees — include:

You can also use a comparison site called Gift Card Granny to find out which marketplace is selling a given retailer’s gift cards for the best price at a given time.

4. Shop for groceries on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

Woman and child in grocery store.
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On Wednesdays, many grocery stores begin sales that last for a week, according to Mashable. On Sundays, big supermarkets often release coupon pamphlets.

So, a grocery shopper’s “sweet spot” is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, when you can take advantage of both kinds of discounts.

5. Buy in bulk when an item is on sale

Person walking past stacks of toilet paper.
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Whether it’s toothbrushes or nonperishable food, consider buying a lot of it when the price is low. Track prices for items your household buys regularly to help you decide when something is a great deal.

You also need to make sure that you have enough space to store your extra purchases and that they are not perishable.

One reminder: Be sure you want and will use what you are buying. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money that is just taking up space.

Have more ideas for saving at stores? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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