Don’t you hate leaving the store feeling like you paid too much? For the cost conscious it seems no matter what you buy, it’s hard to be happy about it unless you got a decent deal. Well, I contend that with just a few changes to your buying habits, getting ripped off will be a thing of the past. Here are seven ways to ensure you don’t pay full price next time you go shopping.

Buy When You Know Things Are on Sale

If you know when certain items are going to be less expensive, then you can plan to make your purchases during that part of the year. It’s no surprise that air conditioners go on sale in the fall, and coats are cheaper in the spring. But did you also know that home appliances are discounted in the fall, as are computers (i.e. back to school specials). So the takeaway here is to do some preparation and know when it’s best to buy the things you want.

Continually Browse Newspapers for Sales

Similar to timing your purchase, monitoring the sales over a two or three week period via the local newspaper can produce good savings. You’ll get to know the standard price and can tell when an item dips to it’s most discounted level. The bottom line here is that if you can wait it out long enough, you can usually get it for less.

Buy Used (and New) from Craigslist or eBay

These day, it’s possible to buy just about anything using the websites Craigslist or eBay. I like eBay for easy to ship, unique items. And I check Craigslist for larger, more generic products. If you haven’t shopped there before, I think you’ll be surprised at the quality you can find at both places now. And you’re not necessarily relegated to used. Both have plenty of unopened or barely used items.

Utilize Comparison Shopping Websites

Shopping around from individual store to store is a thing of the past. There are all sorts of comparison websites that will help you quickly find the best deal on products from several different merchants. Pricegrabber and Nextag are two big websites that come to mind. Be sure that you consider shipping information in your comparisons.

Become a Skilled Negotiator

When it comes to bigger items, like a car, house, or boat, discounts don’t really apply. You’re going to need to break out your negotiating skills. While dealers of these products do advertise “deals” occasionally, it’s still up to you to haggle with the dealer to get the final best price. Consider a site like, which will give you the leverage when negotiating a car purchase.

Search for Coupon or Promo Codes Before Buying Online

Most online retailers offer coupon codes or promo codes to produce more sales. Most of the time these go unused. But you’re a savvy shopper and I know you’ll take advantage of a coupon code next time you get the chance. Next time you’re ready to buy something online, spend a few extra moments doing a google search for “x coupon code”, with x being the name of the store. You will most likely see several search results for your item. Pick a code you’d like to use, plug it into the shopping cart, and enjoy your savings.

Buy as Part of a Group

Finally, for some purchases, you might be able to take advantage of group discounts. If you are a member of a trade organization, church, university, or other large group (i.e. corporate employee), then you might have large group discounts at your disposal. Last month I purchased a considerabley more affordable auto insurance policy through my trade organization.

As you can see, there are several ways to avoid paying full price. Some take a little more time and effort than others. And some may not work for you at the time. But as a whole, you should be able to make use of one or two of these ideas at each purchase and avoid paying full price. Here’s to never having that “paid too much” feeling again.