Some people know how to haggle. They're able to bargain with shopkeepers in order to save a few bucks on pair of shoes, a book, or a piece of furniture. I've never haggled before except at garage sales and in World of Warcraft. Computer games are one thing, real-life is another. Real-life haggling scares me.
Recently, I've stumbled upon several stories about haggling. An AskMetafilter user writes:
I've heard that it's okay to negotiate the listed prices on furniture at independent, mom-and-pop stores. My friend says no, it's not like buying a car from a dealership, where there's the expected offer-counteroffer dance. I know this isn't possible at Ikea or Target, but at my local, one-location only furniture store, is that a possibility? And, if so, how do I start the conversation? “$400 for this dresser? How about $300?”
This thread has lots of great advice:
- It is always appropriate to haggle.
- It never hurts to ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
- From the start, be clear that you are seriously interested, not just curious. Be prepared to buy if the seller meets your price.
- Be polite. Don't try to apply high-pressure tactics.
- You'll have more leverage if you're a frequent customer. Stores want to please regular customers.
- Engage the seller in a conversation first. Establish a rapport.
- Be willing to walk away.
- Pay cash. Cash money is better for the seller than hassling with credit.
- Shop late in the month. Salespeople are trying to make quota. Weekdays are slow, so that's a good time, too.
I particularly like this comment from madamjujujive, who learned how to haggle from a friend.
The June 2005 Reader's Digest featured a short guide to haggling, touting 5 lines that work. The 23 Jan 2006 issue of New York Magazine was all about saving money, and included a piece on how to haggle. In addition to the advice listed above, it suggests:
- Don't be ashamed. “You can haggle anywhere, anytime — even at the doctor's office.”
- Stay cool. “Haggling is about bluffing; if you show weakness or nerves, the salesperson will know you're going to fold.”
- Ask when it goes on sale. “If you ask to be called come sale time, it could be marked down then and there, just for you.”
Haggling sounds like a fun way to save money. I'll have to keep this in mind the next time I go shopping.
Author: J.D. Roth
In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he's managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.