ShopSmart Magazine

How to Talk Down Any Price: Nowadays people are looking for ways to stretch their hard earned dollars, but most hesitate to haggle for fear of looking foolish. So how can you get the confidence to ask for a deal? Start by checking out the July 2008 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports. Editor-in-Chief Lisa Lee Freeman is available to share the best haggling strategies to help you get a great deal every time.
  • NEVER buy anything major without first researching prices. Shoppers should check out price comparison sites such as , , , and . Take competitors' ads to the store, which may match or beat the prices. But don't fake it. Salespeople can see right through a phony price quote.
  • ALWAYS decide what you're willing to give up to get a better deal. Once you know what you can't live without, you'll be able to focus on what's important and use the other stuff as negotiating points. For example, you may not need heated seats in a new car, but you must have rear speakers.
  • NEVER start with the price you're willing to pay. Starting at a lower price point allows room for maneuvering and gives you a better chance of negotiating a price closer to what you want to pay.
  • ALWAYS try to get a break on something else if the salesperson won't lower the price. If the product you are purchasing requires delivery or installation, ask for a deal on these services.
  • NEVER give up. Sellers need to make sales and you need to stay within your budget. The worst that can happen is that someone says no. At least you'll know you're not missing out on any discounts you could have nabbed.
  • How to Stay Safe at Summer Outings: The warmer weather brings backyard BBQs and perfect picnics, but it can also mean higher risks of foodborne illness. How can you stay safe and make the most of your time in the sun this summer? Start by checking out the July 2008 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports. Editor-in-Chief Lisa Lee Freeman is available to share tips to minimize health risks when packing that picnic basket.

  • Pack it right. A full cooler will keep its cold temperature longer than one that's partially filled. Wrap raw meat, fish, and poultry to prevent juices from contaminating other foods. And don't let coolers cook in the sun.
  • Prep it right. If you marinate meat, fish, or poultry before grilling, never reuse the marinade unless it's been boiled to destroy any bacteria. (And keep marinating food in the cooler until you're ready to grill.) Cook meats completely at the picnic site, not partially beforehand. And don't use the same platter before and after you grill. Bacteria from raw food could contaminate cooked food.
  • Cook it right. Keep hot foods hot (over 140° F) and cold foods cold (below 40° F). Use a meat thermometer when you grill to keep track of the temperature. Color is not an indication of doneness.
  • Serve it right. Don't let food sit out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90° F). If food stays out longer, toss it. The acidity in some foods like mayonnaise and salad dressings may have a slight preservative effect, but don't take a chance.
  • About Editor-in-Chief, Lisa Lee Freeman:

    Lisa Lee Freeman is the Editor-in-Chief of ShopSmart, a new shopping magazine from Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. With ShopSmart, Freeman has created a resource to help buyers make smart decisions about important household purchases. Together with Creative Director Tim LaPalme, Freeman conceived and developed a visually compelling magazine that cuts through hype and gives consumers the bottom line on what to buy, whether they're shopping for food, cars, or cosmetics.

    Previously, Freeman was a deputy editor on the personal finance, travel, and shopping beats at Consumer Reports. She has covered cutting-edge subjects such as when it pays to buy organic and how to keep your credit score from ruining your life. Freeman also helped launch a highly successful newsletter, Consumer Reports Money Adviser, on smart saving and spending strategies which included stories on topics ranging from finding great travel deals to avoiding credit-card rip-offs.

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