Get the Best Price

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By Lisa Scarbrough

I take a lot of pride in saving money for my family. That’s why, when it comes to buying, I look not only for the best price, but opportunities to get an even lower price. Some places are easier than others, and you need to maintain some etiquette when negotiating (I hate the word “haggling”). I’ve been putting my skills to hard use over the last month as I transition my son’s bedroom from the infant nursery into a toddler Seussville. Here are a few of my tips for you to try the next time you’re shopping:

Yard Sales
Deals are harder to beat than what you’ll find at yard sales. If you show up at 7 am, don’t expect the seller to be incredibly willing to take your first offer. I find the best deals are garnered after 10 am, or when the heat index is nearing 100. Also, instead of asking for a lower price on just one item, pick several items and offer a price for the lot. I love going to yard sales closer to noon as sellers are more motivated to get rid of their stuff so they don’t have to pack it back into the garage.

Thrift Stores
Some thrift stores will let you negotiate prices like at a yard sale, but you should assume that most will not. Instead, ask if they have any specials. If you are a fan of Goodwill stores, each week you can get 50% off a particular color tag (the sign is usually posted when you walk in as to what color is on sale that week). If your local thrift store has a Facebook page or email list, sign up as you may get deals through their posts and email blasts.

eBay
I love eBay. I’ve been on the site since 1999. One of my favorite features on there is the “Make Offer” button. I’ve garnered some incredible deals over the last month through it, most at 50% off the original price. Before I make the offer, I search eBay and Amazon.com to see what other sellers are asking for the same item. For items that don’t have a “make offer,” I put the item on my watch list and wait to see if it sells. If it doesn’t, I send an offer to the seller using the “contact seller” link. Over the last month, about 75% of my offers have been accepted. I’ve also contacted sellers to get shipping fees reduced, though often times, the priority shipping is only $1 or so more than economy shipping. **Note: Be sure that if a seller accepts your offer that they create a new auction with a “Buy It Now” button. Otherwise, any purchase you make will not be covered by eBay’s Buyer Protection.** You may also look to purchase items from the same seller as they will often combine shipping on your winnings (just be sure to check their shipping description to see if they will).

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My big scores off eBay: $6 for 4-in-1 game, $4 for new-in-box Matching game, and $6 for flashlight, all using the “Make Offer” button.

Half.com and Amazon.com Marketplace
It seems I will never have enough books, and Half.com and Amazon Marketplace were created just for people like me (well, probably not, but they are making a pretty penny from my purchases). The issue with these two sites is the shipping. Amazon.com Marketplace charges a flat shipping fee per item, regardless if you are purchasing more than one item from the same seller. On the contrary, Half.com charges a fee for the first item and then about 1/2 that for each additional item. For that reason, I tend to buy most of my books on Half.com instead of Amazon, but I maintain a wishlist on Amazon to keep tabs on newer listings at lower prices.

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Yardsellr/Danny & Kate
I just recently got introduced to Yardsellr (or Danny & Kate - same inventory on both sites). It seems like a Craigslist/eBay hash up. You buy the items outright. You may pay shipping on some items, others the sellers may ship for free. But when you make a purchase, the site charges you a fee (they call it a “slice”) for the purchase. Where you get the savings here are on Photons (called “parent points” on Danny & Kate). I still have not quite figured out how to get more, but they award you a few when you log in and do other actions on the site. Additionally, if you mark an item as a “Love,” you may find that the seller gifts you photons to help toward your purchase. My best score off of there so far has been a Dr. Seuss T-shirt for my son for $1.75, that was using photons I had and with the site getting their slice. There are not quite as many items available as eBay as I belive the site is still getting traction. They also run “block” specials where they will multiply your photons toward a purchase in that particular block. It does require that you wait for their emails to get a good deal. My main gripe about this site is that the photons run out. You either use them or lose them.

Woot.com
There is no telling what you will find on Woot.com from one day to the next, and if nothing else, you’ll enjoy reading the narratives with their items. I’ve scored two different sets of Dr. Seuss floor puzzles for my son at the cost of just one. You can sign up for their emails specifically for kids items, shirt of the day, and five more categories. There is a flat shipping charge with each order.

Essentially, if you’re willing to make the effort, you can almost always get a lower price on items. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

Lisa Scarbrough offers mom-on-a-dime advice for parents like her who still hold out hope that they’ll be able to afford the rising costs of college tuition (yeah, right). Course, Lisa has some time to prepare; her son, Ian, is three years old. Lisa lives in Guyton, GA, and when she’s not chasing after her little man, she serves as the Digital Properties Manager for Paula Deen.
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Reader Comments:

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Great tips! As the owner of antique store and a avid bargain shopper I can tell you that I have folks who ask all the time if we can do better on a price in our store. It never hurts to ask and I encourage it. Even though I have a store with multiple antique dealers, my antique dealers like us to call with offers. There will be some antique dealers that will not budge, but most are open to knocking a few dollars off. Here is a page to multiple sites for buyers and sellers: http://peerascope.com/p/Antiques It's worth a look and has a 40 sites per page at your fingertips including Paula's. Shop 'til you drop! Linda

By Linda Bright on October 02, 2012

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Lisa, Thanks for the great advice and shopping tips!! It is so much fun to find a bargain.

By Cindy Edwards on August 01, 2012

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thank you, for your diabetic recipes. I myself a diabetic enjoy the recipes. It makes life much easy for me and my family. And thank you for the tips about ebay i have never used ebay before. I buy the Dr. Seuss books and puzzles for my 3 grand kids. My son is army and now they live in OK. So the grand kids love me to read to them over the phone every night before bed time. Thank you again.

By Debby Russell on July 27, 2012

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Some people have yard sales because thay need the money and you have some people who try to get something for nothing...

By Anonymous on July 27, 2012

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I use all of those but yardsellr, hadn't heard of that. Another good site is the Goodwill auction site: http://www.shopgoodwill.com/ Rock on, Bargain Mom!!!

By Lt. Sanders on July 26, 2012

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Thanks for the tips about eBay. I've had eBay for a while but just started really using it for shopping. I will definitely try to see if I can get some of these great deals like you.

By Tanya on July 26, 2012

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What a GREAT idea on the Yard Sales! I never thought of it that way, especially after my grandmother always told me that 'early bird gets the worm' at yard sales. Great great advice Lisa!!

By Jenn on July 26, 2012

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This post is full of great ideas...some I'd never thought of. I will definitely use them to try to stretch my dollars even farther. Thanks for the tips!

By Pamela Meagher on July 26, 2012

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Paula Deen
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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm