Get the lowest price on anything

Before you plunk down hard-earned cash, you can quickly see which stores are offering the best deals.

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By Joe Light, Ismat Sarah Mangla and Pat Regnier

The 28 Best Money Web Sites
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NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -- In the world of brick-and-mortar retailing, finding the best price is often a simple matter of driving to Costco or Wal-Mart.

But in Web world, hundreds of retailers and mom-and-pops are fighting one another, and your fellow shoppers have battleground intelligence to share.

When you're on a bargain hunt

Hit the "Hot Deals" forums at FatWallet.com and SlickDeals.net. Though both sites have a particular emphasis on pricey electronics, users regularly uncover and post discounts that run past 50% of the retail price on all sorts of items.

A recent post on SlickDeals pointed shoppers to a 50%-off sale at Kohls.com.

Another alert user followed up with a coupon code - think of it as the clip-out coupon of the digital world - to give another 20% off when entered in the checkout window. If you got in on the deal, you could have walked away with a $60 pair of casual shoes for $24 plus tax and shipping. The catch: The better the deal, the quicker the forum's users will wipe out a Web site's inventory.

When you're researching a product

Check out the reviews on Amazon.com. Pay particular attention to posts written by users who have a badge under their names designating them a "top reviewer." You can be more confident that their reviews are legitimate and not written by a seller.

You want a critical mass of reviews - at least 25 or so.

Another good source of customer reviews: Epinions.com.

Once you know what you want

Start at comparison shopper PriceGrabber.com. Search for your item and you'll get back quotes from major retailers and small outfits. Make sure you disclose your zip code, so the site can factor in tax and shipping.

Note the two or three lowest listed prices, then go to SlickDeals' coupons section and check to see whether any discounts are available that would cut your price further.

If you're truly industrious, you can earn a small rebate on your purchase by buying through the Cash Back section of Ebates.com or FatWallet.com. Merchants pay those sites a commission, which they share with you. Expect to save another 1% to 5%, depending on the store. To top of page

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Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.