There was a time when businesses first began to feel the effects of the recession via a marked drop in sales, that undercutting became the norm. Companies looking to sell their wares, bring in customers, and oust competitors offered coupons, sales, and bargain-basement prices to stay afloat and ride out the weak economy.
The result was that many businesses went under. And while those that managed to hang around may not have flourished in the resulting vacuum, they at least kept their doors open. Of course, price cuts are not a good long-term strategy for success, so many had to bring prices back up and stop issuing deals to the consumer public.
So these days, it has become a lot harder for frugal shoppers to find the low prices they’ve come to expect. However, there are a few ways to get the bargains you’re seeking. Here are just a few tips and tricks to ensure that your hunt is a lot more fruitful.
Use club discounts.
Many people are aware that they can join grocery clubs as a way to save on every purchase (not only are store-branded items often cheaper than brand-name, but they can come with additional discounts when you swipe your club card, and possibly even rack up points that net your coupons).
But you may not realize what you’re missing if you don’t make the most of other clubs in which you are a member. For example, those that travel frequently shouldn’t hesitate to join airline, hotel, and car rental groups to rack up points for free stays and get free upgrades when available.
And for AAA members there are all kinds of discounts to be had, not only during travel but at a wide variety of retail stores. So take the time to see which vendors have partnered with the clubs you’re part of so that you can always get the best rates.
Don’t be afraid to haggle.
Consumer culture may frown upon haggling in certain situations, but you’ll never know what you can get if you don’t try. Tell sales associates that you saw something they carry for less elsewhere, that there is a minor flaw in the product, or that you saw the item on their website for sale, and you want the same price in-store. You might have to talk to the manager to get the price you want, but a general willingness to haggle could net you a discount.
Opt for second-hand.
Whether you peruse items on Craigslist or eBay or you go old-school by picking up a paper and looking for area garage and estate sales, you can find some truly fantastic bargains on practically new items. And just so you know, haggling here is expected.
Look for auctions.
You might not be interested in purchasing antiques, especially if you know little about their relative value. But what about a used car? What about a house? There are times when attending an auction can save you a ton of dough if you know what you’re looking for, you have a firm budget, and you have the cash on hand to pay for your purchase. You never have to pay full price for a big-ticket item again if you know how to work an auction.
Read our article on Extreme Couponing here.