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Let’s face it: We all want to find the best prices on the products we buy. And while you’re probably already looking for the best deals and discounts on your favorite things, there are some basic tips and tricks that can help you to do even better.

Step 1: Search It. The first thing to do is “Google” it. Search for the specific item that you are looking for and consider adding the terms “best price” or “best value”. You will see a list of options and a set of links with prices displayed. Take a look at the options in the first search. Do any of the prices seem much lower than others? Click through to see what the deal is (and if it really is a deal!)

Step 2: Compare. For products, start with Amazon.com, check aggregators like Ebates.com and Fat Wallet, and look on daily deal sites for the products you want. Keep in mind, sometimes getting cash back, credit card points or free shipping can make a higher price on one site a better deal after all. You can open several browser tabs to run comparisons. Sound complicated? Simplify it by bookmarking sites and future searches will take just a few minutes.

Step 3: Look for Additional Savings. Many websites have frequent coupon codes that you can get from aggregators like Retail Me Not or Chippmunk if they are not on Ebates. You can also check the retailer’s or product maker’s Facebook page or Twitter feed. Something that is easy to overlook, check your credit card company sites for deals. Most of the major credit card companies have relationships with retailers. American Express has 30% off for Membership Rewards members at several major retailers through September 30th.

Step 3: Look for Your Item on Curated Sale Sites. There are many great curated sale websites depending on which type of product that could have the same or similar products. Some of these sites are:

Step 4: Wait! If a product need is not urgent, wait a few days before buying anything. There are some new websites that let you track prices across a number of websites to see when prices are reduced or meet your set price. Check out TrackIf and set up a few items to see what discounts you find and whether it is worth waiting for you.

Step 5: Go! Now you are ready to buy. Check the return policies of the sites you are considering and also check to see if the retailer you buy from has a guaranteed low price policy.  I recommend keeping an eye out for sales. If you see an item at a lower price, you can contact the retailer you bought from to see if they will match the price or if you have not used it, you can return the product and buy at a lower price.

This may seem like a lot of work in the beginning, but smart online shopping habits become second nature. It’s worth it. You can save a bunch of cash and get bragging rights for being the best shopper, too!

Want to shop for products locally? Check out a new site called Find and Save. They aggregate local store “circulars” and sales. They also have local shoppers who report back on the best deals they find worth sharing. I also check prices at my local stores and wait for sales. You can even ask at local shops if and when items are likely to be marked down. They will often tell you and may even hold the item for you if you ask nicely!

I’ll be back soon to give advice on finding the best prices for services, travel and more!

Erica Agran is a health IT professional by day and blogger and deal finder by night. Erica started Erica Finds after years of connecting friends to deals, new websites, new people and new ideas. Her blog helps readers to find things that they don’t have time to find on their own. This includes deals, health and fitness tips, travel information, running tips and much more. Erica is an avid runner, bargain shopper, fitness and health buff and traveler. She loves to share her passions with her readers. Visit her online at ericafinds.com, or on Twitter or Facebook.

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