By Beth Kobliner, REDBOOK
You can't even begin to negotiate on an item until you know its lowest possible going rate. Why pay $200 for a microwave when a quick online search can tell you it's available elsewhere for $89? These comparison-shopping sites can help you get the best deal possible.
Related: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Anything
1. PriceGrabber.com is the granddaddy of the comparison-shopping sites: It searches millions of products-groceries, computer software, you name it-from hundreds of vendors to get you the best price.
2. StreetPrices.com charts price changes for popular items over time to help you determine if now is a good time to buy that new flat-screen TV. With one click you can check eBay or Craigslist as well as online retailers.
3. Bing.com/shopping offers up the best prices from tons of retailers-plus, it offers a rewards program that gives a percentage of cash back when you link through their site to online stores, such as Macy's and Office Depot, to make a purchase.
4. Shopper.cnet.com specializes in all things electronic, with authoritative reviews from the editors at tech bible cnet.com.
5. Kayak.com rounds up the best travel deals from many sites, including Travelocity and Expedia, and shows you where to find the cheapest flights, hotels, and rental cars without having to hit each site separately.
6. Billshrink.com lets you compare credit card rates, gas prices, even savings-account or CD interest rates.
Google Shopper, ShopSavvy, and Save Benjis are great smartphone apps for comparison shopping on the go. Check out apple.com/iphone for downloads for the iPhone or handango.com for other smartphones.
Related: Stay Out of Credit Card Debt
Beth Kobliner is the author of the New York Times best seller Get a Financial Life. She can be heard each week on the nationally syndicated public-radio show "The Takeaway." Visit her at bethkobliner.com.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.