It Pays To Negotiate-Especially Now

Consumer Reports says get ready to negotiate. In fact, there's never been a better time to haggle over everything from electronics and clothes-to furniture-even medical bills.

Consumer Reports money expert Mandy Walker says your approach is critical.

"Demanding a discount will get you nowhere. And trying to work a deal in front of other customers," said Walker. "You want to find the person in charge, be polite, and be discreet."

Consumer Reports' latest special money issue says in order to negotiate the best deal, you've got to do your homework.

"If you have proof an item is being sold for less elsewhere, ask the store to match it. But if you can't get a break on price, ask for free shipping, delivery, or installation," said Walker.

Another opportunity to haggle-floor models at furniture and appliance stores. Electronics stores, too. Consumer Reports finds more than 90 percent of those who've asked for a discount in the last few years got it on at least one purchase.

Keep an eye out for minor flaws. If a product is damaged, you can often get a discount.

And pay with cash, when you can.

Consumer Reports says if these tips don't work, always be prepared to walk away. Many times businesses will give you a better offer.

Consumer Reports says timing can make a big difference in snagging a good deal.

Try the end of the month when salespeople are trying to meet their quotas.

And don't forget to ask about upcoming sales.

Even ask if a salesperson can set something aside for you until the sale.

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