Don’t hand over hard-earned money for that costly expense before ensuring the price is fair.

Checking fair prices is essential for making informed purchasing decisions and getting the best value for your money. However, when dealing with debt, it becomes even more crucial to navigate the financial landscape carefully.

When facing a large expense such as an expensive medical procedure or pricey car repair, it may seem like you have to simply accept the price you’re quoted. However, when it comes to big expenses that can cost thousands of dollars, it pays to do a bit of research before making a large purchase or setting an appointment for a surgery or procedure with a doctor or hospital.

Fortunately, there are some good resources out there for looking up typical prices, fees and costs of many expensive purchases or medical expenses.

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Checking fair prices allows you to make informed decisions and ensure that you are not overpaying for goods and services. This becomes even more crucial when dealing with debt, as every dollar saved can contribute towards debt repayment or improving your financial situation.

Checking Fair Prices for Big Expenses

When it comes to big expenses, such as purchasing a car, a house, or planning a major renovation project, checking fair prices becomes even more critical. These significant financial commitments require careful consideration to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

Car repairs

If you have a mechanic that you trust, that’s great. But if you’re quoted for an expensive car repair by a new mechanic – or even the trusty guy who’s been working on your vehicle for years – it’s a good idea to make sure the price for repairs is in line with the average cost for your city or region.

To find the typical cost in your area for a specific repair, look up parts and labor costs on sites such as RepairPal or Kelley Blue Book. Ask your mechanic for prices on individual parts and look the parts up on auto parts store websites to ensure you’re not being overcharged.

Find out: 9 Ways to Save Money on Car Repairs

New or Used cars

Before buying a new or used car, SUV or truck, make sure the seller is asking a fair price before hitting the gas on the pricey purchase. For new vehicles, search online for both the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and the invoice price, which is the amount the dealer pays for the vehicle.

“The dealer would like you to negotiate using the MSRP as the starting point. But the pro move is to use the dealer’s asking price as the starting point,” says auto resource Edmunds. “In most cases, you’ll find that the dealership has already discounted the vehicle from MSRP. Use the market value as your price target in the negotiations.”

For used vehicles, fill in the make, model, mileage and features of the vehicle on sites such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to find out the fair market value. While you’re there, read reviews for the vehicle for more information on reliability, repairs and other factors.

Find out: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Car on Impulse

Medical procedures

Before you book an appointment for that colonoscopy or other expensive medical procedure, find out the price first. Then perform an online search on the typical cost for the procedure in your area at sites such as Fair Health, New Choice Health and However, keep in mind that the cost shown may not include charges for anesthesiology, pathology or other related costs.

Find out: 5 Tips to Start Paying Off Your Medical Debt

New appliances

Wondering if the price a company quoted for a new air conditioner, furnace or entire HVAC system is fair? You can look up the typical cost for these and other appliances, including labor costs, on Angie’s List, a resource for homeowners in search of service providers, reviews and home repair information.

Find out: Dust Off These 6 Home Items Now to Save  on Repairs Later

Home repairs

Whether you need a new garage door, foundation repair or plumbing services, Angie’s List is also a great resource for finding out if the company you want to hire is charging a fair price. While you’re at it, make sure you also check out reviews on Yelp and the Better Business Bureau about that company’s pricing, service and other practices.

Connect with a certified credit counselor to review your options if you are struggling.

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Researching Fair Prices

Researching fair prices becomes even more critical when managing debt. Take the time to compare prices across different retailers and platforms for the items you need. Look for sales, promotions, and discounts to maximize your savings. Utilize online resources and customer reviews to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Utilizing Price Comparison Tools

Price comparison tools are invaluable when checking fair prices. Utilize websites and apps that aggregate prices from various sellers, allowing you to compare and find the best deals. Take advantage of platforms like PriceGrabber, Google Shopping, and CamelCamelCamel to ensure you’re making cost-effective purchasing decisions.

Considering Alternatives and Second-hand Options

In your quest for fair prices, consider alternatives and second-hand options. Instead of purchasing brand-new items, explore pre-owned markets, thrift stores, or online classifieds. You can often find quality products at significantly lower prices, helping you save money and reduce the strain on your budget.

Avoiding Impulse Purchases

Impulse purchases can derail your efforts to manage debt and check fair prices. Practice restraint and avoid impulsive buying decisions. Before making a purchase, give yourself time to evaluate whether it aligns with your needs, budget, and overall financial goals.

Negotiating and Bargaining

When appropriate, negotiate and bargain to secure fair prices. This can be applicable when dealing with individual sellers or in situations where prices are not fixed. Polite and respectful negotiation may result in discounts or better deals, helping you stay within your budget.

Is debt keeping you from making purchases? No matter what kind of debt you have, can help you solve it.

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Checking fair prices and managing debt are two essential aspects of maintaining a healthy financial life. By understanding the importance of fair prices, assessing your debt situation, creating a budget, and practicing financial discipline, you can strike a balance between getting the best value for your money and managing your debt effectively. Utilize price comparison tools, consider alternatives, avoid impulse purchases, and seek professional assistance if needed. By implementing these strategies, you can navigate your financial journey with confidence and improve your overall financial well-being.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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