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Bargain Shopping, or Haggling? You Choose!

bargaining and hagglingCall it bargain shopping, or call it haggling…everyone loves a great deal.

As you might imagine, the Cheapskate Guy LOVES a great bargain and will haggle for best price as often as he can. Some people are nervous about haggling for fear that they will put the seller at a disadvantage. This is NOT the case! Many sellers EXPECT haggling, and will respect you more because you do. The golden rule of haggling is simple…BOTH parties should be pleased with the transaction. You should always create a win-win purchase; you should get a great price, and the seller should earn his expected profits. Make sure you produce a “Good Trade”.


Here are some tips about bargain hunting and the beauty of good haggling!

At the flea market.

Why it makes sense: Negotiating is expected.

Spending strategy: First walk the flea market to get a sense of prices. Unless there’s something you must have, wait until the end of the day to make purchases. That’s when you get the best deals. Sellers might be planning on clearing out their inventory, and besides…they don’t want to load it back on the truck and lug it home. Always carry cash in coins, dollars, fives, and tens. You don’t want to pay more because you don’t have the correct change. Most importantly, keep in mind that flea markets are almost always final sale. Test items before you by them. Inspect clothing and furniture for holes, stains, or rips. Check dishes for cracks and ask to plug in the electronics to see if they work. If a product is questionable , walk away.

At garage sales.

Why it makes sense: Sellers are as anxious to get rid of items as they are to make a buck.

Spending strategy: Start by connecting with homeowners to see why they’re having the sale. For instance, is their house on the market or has it just been sold? You’ll have more leeway for negotiation. Point out that it’s better for the seller to get $5 for an item, than for it to end up on the curb as junk. If you can’t get the deal you want, leave your phone number and tell the sellers to call you if t no one else shows interest. They just might reconsider your offer right then and there!

At department stores.

Why it makes sense: They have some flexibility and offer perks and extra sales for cardholders.

Spending strategy: Ask the salesperson if there are any in-store coupons he could swipe for you, or if he would honor an expired coupon. Follow your favorite stores on Facebook and Twitter so you’ll be notified about sales in advance. When you’re searching for something specific, do some online research to get an idea of the average price. Examine the merchandise and point out any minor imperfections or flaws in a non-critical way to see if you can get a discount. Many minor flaws can easily be repaired at home. This strategy can usually get you 20% off!

At neighborhood Mom-and Pop stores.

Why it makes sense: The owner has the final say on pricing and may be open to negotiation.

Spending strategy: Try to deal with independent shops when the proprietor is there. If she has stepped out, don’t be afraid to ask the clerk to get in touch with her. Salespeople will often defer to the boss, claiming that they don’t have the authority to modify prices. Many are required to do so. Buying quantity puts you in a better position to bargain. For example offer to buy one pair of shoes at full price if you can get the second pair for half off. Another way to gain bargaining position is to keep tabs on competitors prices. Be mindful of how you bring this up, remember that most small shops often can’t compete with the big-box stores. To be polite (and get your deal), say something like; “I’d love to do business with you since you’re in my neighborhood, but so-and-so has a better price. Can you match their offer, or at least come closer?” You can be polite and still show assertiveness. Inquire about discounts if you should purchase a floor model or showcase item that might be missing its box. Just be sure to get in writing that the item is still covered under warranty.

At furniture and appliance stores.

Why it makes sense: You’re making big purchases.

Spending strategy: Always ask to speak to the manager, since a higher-ranking employee may be more willing and able to work with you. If there’s no wiggle room, there are other ways to save. See if the price includes the tax, or inquire about free delivery, assembly, or treatments like spot guard.

No matter the venue, the key is to never feel embarrassed by bargaining.

Remember to always be polite, be fair, and maintain your dignity.

(Many thanks to Family Circle magazine for some of the ideas presented in this blog.)

Bargain Shopping and Haggling

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