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Making money: When to book your holiday travels, and more
Three top pieces of financial advice — from a guide to haggling to ditching the real estate broker
 
Flying on a holiday could save you a lot of money.
Flying on a holiday could save you a lot of money. (Courtesy Shutterstock)

A how-to for haggling
Whether you're shopping for a new house or a new suit, don't be afraid to ask for a discount, said Demetria Gallegos at The Wall Street Journal. Haggling for a good deal can be difficult for some people, but "it's important to be capable of doing it, because there are times when it's just stupid not to." If you're angling for a lower price, keep one mantra in mind: "The person who cares least always wins." In other words, if a seller doesn't really need to make a sale, the price won't come down. As a buyer, being willing to walk away rather than pay "the full asking price" puts you in the driver's seat. Of course, negotiating isn't always appropriate. For example, you wouldn't haggle over your entrée in a restaurant. And while hagglers should never take things personally — it's only money, after all — it doesn't hurt to be polite and avoid negotiating too aggressively.

Move now on holiday travel
The end-of-year travel season is almost here, and you'd be smart to book your itinerary now rather than "count on last-minute deals," said Sabah Karimi at USNews. Such offers can end up being surprisingly attractive during certain times of the year, but almost never during the holiday season. For that reason, try "to book your holiday excursions at least six to seven weeks in advance." Skip the third-party travel sites and shop the airlines directly; you might find a better deal and reap more rewards and frequent-flier miles. And if you're not too picky about dates, consider flying "when most people would rather not" — the actual holiday. You can score significant savings on inbound flights if you arrive on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day.

Ditching the real estate broker
Kiss that real estate broker goodbye, said Les Christie at CNN. A growing number of homeowners are taking a do-it-yourself approach to selling their homes, skipping brokers and agents altogether. Homeowners who enjoy a little salesmanship can save big bucks by doing without a broker, whose commissions are typically five or six percent of the sale price. If you're planning to sell your home and "want more control of the deal," check out websites like Zillow.com and ForSaleByOwner.com, which help sellers price and market their homes by posting photos and descriptions and analyzing comparable sales and neighborhood data.

 
Sergio Hernandez is business editor of The Week's print edition. He has previously worked for The DailyProPublica, the Village Voice, and Gawker.

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