Seven steps to becoming a bargain shopping pro

From time to time we all find ourselves purchasing big ticket items, and whether it's a new TV or furniture, you don't have to spend above your means to get a top-of-the-line item. There is a subset of the U.S. population -- known as bargain hunters to most -- that pride themselves on being able to find and purchase A-list merchandise for well below cost.

How can you join their ranks? It's easy. Here are seven basic steps to follow on your way to becoming a hard-core bargain shopper:

Do you need it? Before you start looking for the best deal out there you need to determine whether or not you really "need" this item. This isn't a question of whether you need an item to survive but one of if you will make use of the item you want for more than a few weeks. This is important because once you start looking at the various bargain shipping websites you'll be inundated with some of the best deals you've ever seen on items that you don't need. This first step helps you clarify what exactly it is you need.