If you like saving money, haggling for a better price should become a habit for you, a habit that can easily save you thousands of dollars over the next 10 years. I personally became a haggler 10 years ago when my first child was born. With the added expenses involved with raising a child, I was forced to find ways to make my paycheck go as far as possible every month. So haggling for a better price was born out of necessity. I think I have become pretty darn good at it, and I will even haggle successfully at big chain stores like Macy’s, Home Depot, and Best Buy. Hopefully this advice can help you save some money as well and turn the art of haggling into a habit.
Assume It’s Negotiable
To assume otherwise is going to cost you a lot of money over the course of your lifetime. I always use the example of big ticket items like furniture and electronics. Whenever I go into a furniture store I will immediately ask the sales associate what is the best price he/she could give me on whatever item I’m interested in. If they tell me it is not currently on sale, I will politely ask to speak with a manager and ask them the same questions. But I will say something to the effect of “I really love this piece of furniture and would like to take it home today, but I was wondering if you could help me out a little bit on the price.” In my experience this type of haggling will work 70% off the time. Managers want happy customers and they often will do anything to make that happen. You can’t be timid to make this work; you have to stand strong, speak up, and tell the manager exactly what you want.
Look For Imperfect Items
This works really well in clothing stores, as well as home improvement warehouses like The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Why? Because these type of stores have many items with imperfections which places you in an excellent negotiating position. I usually ask for 25% off and will negotiate downward. I speak from experience on this one as I use to work at The Home Depot and we were encouraged by our managers to lower the price for customers to move imperfect items off the shelf and out of the store. Again, you want to always be polite when asking for a discount. I was more apt to cut the price for someone who was respectful and courteous.
This is the notion that the more you buy, the bigger the discount you should ask for. I did this at a Best Buy store a couple years ago when I was purchasing a TV and a DVD player at the same time. I asked the manager if he would give me $50 off the DVD player if I bought both today. He said “sure” faster than I could finish my sentence. This tip is always worth a shot, especially at big box electronics stores. The worst thing they can say is “no”.
Do Your Research and Compare Prices
You have a great negotiating tool at your disposal if you know what other stores are selling a particular item for. This is because many stores have a price match policy or a 110% price match guarantee where they will actually undersell their competition. Knowledge is power, so always do your homework and know what the competition is selling a particular item for. This is where free smartphone apps like RedLaser and Google Shopper are so valuable. They allow you to scan the bar code of the item in question with your phone and have immediate access to competitor pricing.
There definitely is a science to haggling and choosing the right words to use. The more you do it, the better you will get at it. Practice, practice, practice.
Have you ever used any of these haggling techniques? If so, were you successful in scoring a discount? I look forward to your comments.