5 tricks to get discounts on everything you buy in stores

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How to Get a Discount on Everything You Buy In Stores

There is no reason to ever pay full retail price for anything you buy in a store. With the rise of online shopping — which allows for instant price comparison — 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. Learn to negotiate

Most people are uncomfortable haggling. Instead, we're used to opening our wallets and saying "here."

But it is probably worth trying to bargain. A Consumer Reports survey shows 89 percent of hagglers were successful at least once.

And the savings can be substantial. People who questioned health care charges or furniture prices saved an average of $300, and those who challenged their cellphone plans saved about $80, according to Consumer Reports.

In "The Simplest Way to Save on Everything," Money Talks News offers 10 tips for haggling, including:

  • 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.

Also see the best money-saving tips when dining out:

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Tips for saving money when dining out
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5 tricks to get discounts on everything you buy in stores

Find deals online

If you're unsure of where you want to go, browse sites for online deals. You'll find new places to dine at for a discounted price: win-win! If you do have a particular place in mind, always check their website before you make a reservation. You never know what coupons or special online deals you'll find!

Opt for lunch instead of dinner

Most restaurants have a different menu for lunch hours, which usually include smaller portions and cheaper prices. Also, you're less likely to be tempted to go for that cocktail or glass of wine in the middle of the day, which will save you bucks on your bill. If you don't have a preference of which meal you want to dine out for, lunch is usually your better bet. 

Make an appetizer your entrée

Most restaurants list entrées at steeper prices than appetizers, and often times the portion sizes aren't that much bigger. In fact, appetizers can be just as satisfying. You can also order one or two side dishes and enjoy those as your main meal.

Snack beforehand

Nosh on something light from your kitchen that won't completely spoil your appetite. This way, you'll be less tempted to order larger portions or appetizers which can make your bill much more expensive. 

Take home leftovers

If you don't finish your meal, take home what you didn't eat and eat it the next day for lunch or dinner. You can also order an entrée with the intention to eat half and bring the rest back home--it will cost you more initially, but dividing the cost in half between two meals will save you money in the end.

Split an entrée

If there's something on the menu you really want but the price is way too high, ask if portion sizes are big enough to be shared. You'll end up cutting the price in half.

Find a BYOB restaurant 

If you're planning on drinking alcohol while dining out, places that allow you to bring your own are an easy way to save. You won't get overcharged for drinks that the restaurant serves, and you can spend as much money as you want beforehand when purchasing it. 

Skip alcohol altogether 

A glass (or two) will cost you, especially since restaurants can charge however much they want per drink. Opting to not order alcohol in addition to your food is a big money saver.

Check social media

Many restaurants will offer deals for interacting with them on social media. Something as simple as "liking" their page, "mentioning" them on Instagram or Twitter, or even sharing a post of theirs can result in big discounts.

Ask for separate checks

If you're out to eat with a big group of people, you can end up overpaying when you split the check evenly. Ordering separate checks ensures that everyone pays for exactly what they ordered, instead of having to pick up the bill for someone else's expensive entrée. 

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2. Use online tools to get brick-and-mortar discounts

Look for sites that offer coupons or coupon codes. Popular sites include RetailMeNot and Coupon Craze. For deals on eating out and entertainment, check out Groupon or (in most parts of the country) LivingSocial.

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 discount codes is by signing up to be on company email lists.

You can also install an extension like Coupons at Checkout on your browser and get automatic coupon codes for a wide range of retailers. Although these coupon codes provide extra discounts mainly to online purchases, some are also applicable in stores.

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," he says. "Now, they don't always match that price, but they will often give me a discount."

You can also let an online price-tracker do your legwork. These tools allow you to enter products that you may want to purchase, and they alert you — by email or other means — when the price drops at any of the stores they track. Stacy used price-tracking software to get his Wi-Fi speaker, and saved $50 in the process.

There are many such sites. Appcrawlr.com helps you search for the price-tracker that most meets your shopping needs, whether at a store or online.

3. Use a discounted gift card you bought online

Discounted gift cards come from people who have a gift card for a specific retailer, but will sell it for less than face value in order to get cash. So, for example, you may be able to buy their $50 Eddie Bauer gift card for $40.

If you go this route, beware of scams. Only buy from reputable sites. Two of the more popular and well-respected sites for buying gift cards are:

4. To save on groceries, shop on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

On Wednesdays, many grocers begin store sales that last for a week, according to the digital news website Mashable. On Sundays, big supermarkets often release coupon pamphlets.

So the grocery shopper's "sweet spot" is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, when shoppers can take advantage of both discounts.

5. Buy in bulk when an item is on sale

Whether it's toothbrushes or nonperishable food items, you should consider buying in bulk. Keep a price list of groceries and sundries that your family buys on a regular basis to help you decide when something is a great deal.

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

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

Have more ideas for saving at stores? Please share them in our Forums. It's a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

RELATED: Check out the best 11 items to buy from Whole Foods:

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11 best things to buy at Whole Foods
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5 tricks to get discounts on everything you buy in stores

Freshly baked bread 

Photo: Getty

365 Everyday Value Greek Yogurt

Photo: Getty

Speciality cheeses

Photo: Getty

Oats, grains and beans in the DIY bulk section

Photo: Getty

Frozen foods, i.e. pizza and turkey burgers 

Photo: Getty

Alternative milk products

Photo credit: Getty

Frozen berries

Photo: Shutterstock

Raisins and dry fruit in the DIY bulk section

Photo: Getty

Spices in the DIY bulk section 

Photo: Getty

365 Everyday Value Olive Oil

Photo: Getty

Freshly baked goods from the bakery section 

Photo: Shutterstock

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