ABC7 On Your Side: Shopping savings

When Nicole Martinez is not texting her friends, she is hitting the mall.

"I love to shop," Martinez said. "I live for it, essentially."

Martinez always looks for deals, but she was surprised recently when a salesgirl in a clothing store offered to "work with her" on prices.

"She was like giving me 20 percent off on one thing, and I was like, 'I like this other thing. Can I have 30 percent off of that?' She was ready to do it," Martinez said.

Most people would never dream of haggling in a clothing store, but money-saving expert Tawra Kellam said shoppers can ask for extra savings in all kinds of places they would not think of.

"I have never had the experience of going into some store where they wouldn't haggle in some form," Kellam said.

Kellam said you can wheel and deal on everything from dishwashers and dryers to milk and eggs. However, timing is everything. For clothes, wait for items that are about to go out of season or are slightly damaged. When it comes to dairy, find out when new shipments come in. The day before, ask for a discount for what is on the shelf. Finally, target the end of the month for big-ticket items like electronics or appliances.

"A lot of times [stores] haven't met their goals for the month, and so they're more than willing to wheel and deal with you to give you a good deal," Kellam said.

Barter Bucks' Debbie DeSousa also shared advice on how to save.

"Bartering is the oldest form of commerce," said Barter Bucks' Debbie DeSousa.

Barter Bucks is one of the many barter services available on the Internet. DeSousa's Web site is a network of more than 50,000 members. Users list what they want to barter or trade and establish a value. A trader accrues credits in his account to use on anything else the site offers each time someone uses his services.

"When we send you business, we charge you 5 percent in cash and when you spend your credits, we charge 5 percent in cash," said DeSousa.

Some sites charge a flat membership fee while others are free. In addition, there are Web sites that simply match people for direct trade of services.

Remember, taxes are added on the value of transactions whether the bartering occurs with or without cash. As for large retailers, most will officially deny their salespeople haggle as policy, but it never hurts to try.

Click here for information about National Barter Bucks

Click here for information about trading made easy


It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar. Click here for more money-saving tips from ABC7 On Your Side


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