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Bartering, Haggling, and Cutting Deals

By Christopher Schonberger

In the United States, there's often an assumption that everything costs how much it says it does and there's no room for deal-making. But with the economic downturn issuing a firm shake-up to the capitalist system we've come to know, bartering is back en vogue.

Needless to say, the "free market" has not become the black market overnight, but the fact is that in a recession you should not take every price your quoted at face value. Negotiate with your landlord for lower rent (some have even been offering tenants a free month to keep them in the building), haggle with the cable company for a discount, and see if you can cut a better deal wherever you know sellers are hurting. With big-box stores like Circuit City going under, there's even room for some sly maneuvering in places you wouldn't usually expect.

In addition to seeking lower prices, Consumerist notes that more and more people are bartering goods and services amongst one another, taking it back to the middle-school ways of "trading" things. However, instead of a Polly-O for a snack pack, it's more like a tutoring session in exchange for a trip to your friend's dad's ski house, or a bike for hooking up someone's Internet.

Check out the "barter" section of Craigslist and start saving!

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