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Learn How to Haggle in 6 Easy Steps

When you’re buying big ticket items in-store or negotiating prices for various services, it never hurts to try and haggle. But there are some general guidelines which you should follow to increase your chances of bagging a super bargain. Here’s a quick breakdown of the tips you should keep in mind for successful haggling:

1. Do your Research

You could probably say “do your research” for just about any topic, but it’s particularly relevant when it comes to haggling. Find out as much as you can about the brand, the product or service you plan on buying, as knowledge is power! Put yourself in a strong buying position by coming forearmed with as many details as you can find.

For example, if you’re planning on buying a new laptop from Future Shop, find out which model that takes your fancy. Read up about it, the pros and the cons, and also make sure to watch the prices over a couple of weeks or even months. Make sure you price compare at other outlets, even to the online retailers such as Dell, Lenovo, NCIX, Newegg.ca. Then, when you’re in-store with the sales rep, you should know your stuff and be able to work out a good deal.

2. Always be Polite

Again, you could say “always be polite” about many situations, but it definitely applies to haggling! Being polite and courteous to a salesperson or tradesman will increase your chances of working out a good deal for the product or service you wish to purchase. They’ll appreciate your demeanor, and will hopefully go the extra mile in getting you a good deal.

Related: Saving Strategy: Ask for a Discount

3. Watch your Words

There are some phrases which work an awful lot better in the world of haggling. Instead of being blunt by saying something like “How low can you go on this,” consider phrasing it like this, “What’s the best price you can do on this?” Or, the old favourite, “How much for cash?”

4. Know when to go Higher

Sometimes, the salespeople are only allowed to do certain deals, or might not even have the authority to offer a discount whatsoever. Managers often have more power when it comes to making decisions on sales prices, so it can be worth asking the sales rep to take it to their manager for approval, or just ask for a chat with them instead. The same applies if you’re buying a service like plumbing or roofing for your home – ask to speak to the company owner.

5. It Doesn’t have to be Cold, Hard Cash

Consider alternatives rather than dollar discounts. Many salespeople may possibly be allowed to throw in freebies rather than offer a dollar discount, to sweeten the deal. In the above example about buying a laptop from FutureShop, you might end up with a free mouse, mouse mat, printer, or other accessories – it’s better than nothing!

6. Ask about Coupons or Rebates

Coupons and rebates are becoming more and more popular with both stores and big brand manufacturers. As a haggler, you should always ask if there’s a coupon or rebate available, before you finalize your purchase. There may be a stack of coupons for a particular brand by the register, and you just have to ask to find out about what coupons are available.

My Experience

Haggling has saved me a fortune over the years. I recently saved 11% on the asking price of a new house (big bucks!), about 15% on the cost of lawyer’s bills, and a chunk of cash when I bought a second hand car from the lot.

Conclusion

The savvy shopper always knows when to haggle, when to push for that extra few dollars discount, and when they’ve probably pushed their luck enough with any particular salesperson. Haggling doesn’t just apply to big ticket items in-store, the same principles even apply when you are buying a house!

Remember: Just ask politely – you have nothing to lose!

About the Author:  This has been a guest post from Anna, owner of Bargainmoose.ca, the Canadian deals community. Anna recently launched a new coupon section on Bargainmoose, which is a resource for online coupon codes printable coupons.

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About the author: This is a guest post. You can read more about the author in the biography above.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Timmyson August 22, 2012, 11:11 am

    Make it five steps, and I’ll read it.

  • Goldberg August 22, 2012, 12:09 pm

    Only six steps? You can’t do better than that? What else can you throw in there for us today? If you don’t mind, I’d like to speak with the site manager.

  • Emilio August 22, 2012, 1:27 pm

    LOL @ Timmyson.

    Make it four steps and I will throw in a pair of size 12 men’s work boots, slightly used, steel toes…

    This is my final offer!

  • Elbyron August 22, 2012, 4:58 pm

    I think you forgot the #1 trick to price negotiation: threaten to walk away and take your business elsewhere. If you haven’t threatened at least once, you probably haven’t gotten the seller down to the lowest price they can let it go for. Though it applies more in other countries (especially souvenir shopping at local markets), this tactic can be applied locally in some cases. I should point out that you want to “threaten” in a very polite manner, and don’t make them angry.

    Also, doing your research is one thing, but how you apply it is just as important. Once you know the best price offered by their competitors, you have a “goal” to try and beat. But don’t start with that price – you’ve got to start lower and haggle back and forth a few times, with at least 1 threat to walk away.

  • Michael Kohn August 23, 2012, 7:47 pm

    I really enjoyed your article!
    Because I always try to get the best deals, especially when I buy computer parts or some expensive item.
    Nowadays with some easy clicks you could save 10-20% off normal retail price.

    I like the idea about asking for a coupon, I never think about it!

  • LifeInsuranceCanada.Com Inc. August 23, 2012, 10:46 pm

    I’m not a fan of threatening to walk away. I am comfortable having a well defined top price that I won’t go over so that I know when we’re done – and then I’m comfortable walking away knowing that I won”t match the price the salesperson needs. It’s a good deal if we’re both happy when it’s done, I don’t have a problem with the other party making some money on the deal.

    What I don’t get is the car salesperson haggling. We bought a new car a year ago and most of the dealerships I went to wouldn’t even give me a price. If you can’t even give me a price and let me sleep on it, then I’ll keep walking thanks.

  • Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey August 24, 2012, 4:13 am

    @Elybron, that is the best price negotiation technique I heard! My auntie taught me the technique, tried it, and it worked! I can’t believe my eyes when the saleslady agreed to sell the item I am eyeing for almost half the price.

  • Thomas January 26, 2016, 10:50 pm

    Good advice!! All haggling is within reason…. Can’t squeeze the locals too much but also got to remember its part of the buying-selling game.

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