Photo: ThinkstockBy Paige Greenfield and Meredith Bryan
Major Appliances: Get Paid for an Upgrade
Go to ApplianceRebate.com and choose the kind of appliance you want, then type in your zip code. The site, which aggregates cash-back offers from manufacturers, retailers, utility companies, and others in your area, will provide all the forms you need to obtain each rebate. You can get hundreds of dollars back for recycling an old fridge and buying a new, energy-efficient one.
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You can also search for the exact refrigerator model you want on PriceGrabber.com, which will list online retailers by price, from lowest to highest (including shipping). When we searched for one particular refrigerator, prices ranged from $1,738 to $2,499!''
Cell Phone Service: PrePayAn unlimited prepaid monthly plan can cost about half of a traditional unlimited plan.
Another option: Upload an electronic version of your cell phone bill to BillShrink.com (free) or MyValidas.com ($5). They'll analyze your usage and recommend more budget-friendly plans. The sites also point out where you're overpaying. For instance, you may not use your phone enough to need an unlimited plan and could save by selecting one with fewer minutes.
Gadgets: High Tech for Lower Prices
OPTION 1: Print out the best deals at Amazon.com, Crutchfield.com, and Pricewatch.com. If you find the same item at a store, say to the salesperson, "I'd rather buy it here, so can you match or beat this price?" If the answer is no, you already know where you can get a better bargain.
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OPTION 2: Have your eye on a digital camera or MP3 player? Ask the store manager when a newer model will be released (often October and November). Beforehand, companies tend to slash prices on the older models, or bundle the item with extras, like a free printer.
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