Learn How to Haggle and Save Big
Whether referred to as haggling, bargaining or negotiating, there was a time when a buyer and a seller working out what both agreed was a fair price was commonplace in American commerce. But over time, the process died out and was replaced by a fixed-price model where consumers pay the listed price for just about everything. Buying a vehicle or a home are the only two areas where most consumers still routinely feel empowered to bargain for their preferred price.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Starting during the Great Recession, consumers began to realize they had the power to name their price on everyday items and services too, including appliances, furniture and clothing. It sparked in many a renewed interest in haggling that continues to grow.
Seasoned hagglers say the biggest issue in learning to bargain is overcoming the fear of asking for a lower price. Once you conquer it, they say, the world is yours for a discount. Here are five more tips on how to haggle successfully:
Do Your Homework – Research the item(s) you’re looking to purchase to find the lowest price available online, then ask your local retailer to match it. While many retailers are starting to advertise their price matching policies, many more have such policies in place, but keep them under wraps unless asked. Price matching is a great way to ease into haggling, since you’ll have a fixed price in mind.
Start Big – Big ticket items such as appliances, electronics and furniture are a perfect way to practice your haggling skills. There’s always some wiggle room built into the pricing of these items. A good rule of thumb for beginners is to ask for 10% off the top. If the seller absolutely won’t budge on price, ask for extras such as free delivery, installation or accessories.
Find the Flaw – Nicks, dents, scratches, dings, stains and tears are bargainers’ best friends. Whether it’s a small scratch on that new fridge or a makeup smudge on that pretty white sweater, anything that takes away from an item’s perfect condition is fair game for haggling. Often it can be easy as pointing out the flaw to the salesperson; there’s a good chance they’ll knock down the price without you having to ask for it.
Respect the Chain of Command – Start by talking with the salesperson on the floor or the cashier at the register; they may be empowered to offer the discount you’re looking for. If not, politely request to speak with a manager. Be courteous to your fellow shoppers and offer to go up to the customer service desk or step out of the checkout line if it’s during a busy time.
Don’t Forget Services – From dry cleaning to house painting, car repairs to carpet cleaning, the prices for all services are up for negotiation. Many of these service providers tend to be smaller, local businesses that are more than willing to give a bit on price if it means keeping a loyal customer.