Haggling for the best bargain

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In this tough economy, there has never been a better time to haggle. I’m Rose Raymond with Bankrate.com’s Personal Finance Minute.

You can negotiate anything these days, but do your research beforehand by reading Consumer Reports, searching online shopping sites, checking newspaper ads or browsing at stores beforehand.

Once you’re ready, bring physical evidence with you, like the printout of an online ad. If the salesperson can only drop an item to a certain price, he may be willing to throw in free or discounted accessories.

And remember, timing is everything. Shop at the end of the month or quarter when salespeople have to meet quotas. If you meet resistance, ask for the manager. In places where haggling isn’t the norm like department stores, find the person who can tinker with the price.

Stop off at the ATM before shopping and ask if there’s discount if you pay with cash. If you don’t mind flawed items, ask to buy them at a discount. Many department stores give an automatic 10 percent off on damaged products.

If all else fails, walk away. That may bring you the price you want. For more money saving tips, go to Bankrate.com. I’m Rose Raymond.