Annoyed when someone gets a better rate for the same car, flight, hotel room, or product you purchased? Try these tips to guarantee you get the best deal, too.
Start a bidding war for your next car.
Simply call dealers and tell them that you’re accepting bids for the car you want-and the lowest bid gets the sale. According to the nonprofit consumer organization Consumers’ Checkbook, this saves car buyers on average $1,300 because when dealers compete with other dealers-instead of with you-they know how low they can really go and still make a profit. Renting a car? Reserve it at AutoSlash.com. The free site looks for discounts and coupons when you book, then alerts you if the price drops after so you can rebook at the lower rate.
Get a heads-up on low-price airfare.
A smart way to fly for less? Visit Google.com/flights, then enter your starting point, destination and travel dates. Based on past sales, the site lets you know if the ticket’s price is low (snap it up now) or high (turn on tracking to monitor prices and get an email when they drop)! Also great: If the price drops within 24 hours of purchasing the ticket (and it’s more than a week from your departure date), in most cases you’re legally allowed to cancel for free, then rebook at the lower price. Research shows this can save you up to 20 percent! We know you’re not necessarily traveling right now, but when the time comes again, this will be good to keep in mind! As will the next tip…
Book direct for the cheapest hotel room.
Hotels like Hilton, Holiday Inn, and Ramada prefer when you book through them rather than travel sites like Orbitz or Expedia. So they’ll offer “best price guarantees” that promise their rate will be the lowest you can find anywhere online, and if you do find a lower rate, they’ll match it or give you bonus reward points. If the hotel you choose has a free cancellation policy, email your reservation information to Pruvo.net, a free hotel price tracking site. If the rate of the same room type drops, you’ll get an alert so you can nab the cheaper price.
Download this tool for surprise online discounts.
Online retailers tend to lower their prices unexpectedly. So how do you know when an item you want has gone on sale, without checking over and over? Visit JoinHoney.com and download their free browser to your desktop or smartphone. When you find an item you want, put it in your “Droplist” and you’ll be notified when the item gets discounted! And have no fear if the price drops after you buy it. Many online retailers and credit card companies will adjust the price if it’s within seven to 14 days of purchase.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.