Before you make a major purchase -- a home appliance, or maybe a digital camera -- you probably do lots of research to find the best product as well as the best price. Here are some tips to avoid missing a sale or discount.

If you don't want to pay a penny more than a certain amount for an item, enter that limit at Deal Alerter ( www.dealalerter.com). The site will notify you when an online retailer's price falls below that target. You can even restrict the search to highly rated sellers to avoid doing business with a shady Web site you don't recognize.

But don't stop hunting after you've swiped your credit card in a store or hit the "confirm your order" button online.

Many retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, have price adjustment policies - issuing refunds if the price drops within a specific time period, usually 14 to 30 days.

It would be too time-consuming to read all the circulars or revisit stores to ensure you get your rebate, but you could use the power of the Internet to do that heavy lifting for you.

Just enter the Web address for the product from the online seller's site into PriceProtectr ( www.priceprotectr.com) to get e-mailed alerts whenever the price falls. The site tracks sales, discounts and other markdowns at about 150 retailers, including Best Buy, Costco and Sears.

Then take your receipts back to the store to collect your refund, or for online purchases, follow the instructions at PriceProtectr to get a credit.


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