10 tips on learning how to haggle


Whether one haggles for a great deal on a new pair of jeans, a dishwasher, the bid on having the house painted or the cost of a child’s new braces, entering into price negotiations when buying anything is smart and will often result in getting a lower price.

1. Think Savvy – Not Cheap

There is nothing embarrassing about haggling over the price of anything. Good hagglers know few boundaries when it comes to asking for a better deal. Keeping focused on the end result of all of the money that can be saved, just by asking a few questions, can help anyone break into the art of good haggling.

2. Be Nice

Not many people are willing to compromise when dealing with a grump. Good hagglers are always upbeat, polite and patient. Success will come with less effort if the person controlling the price likes you.

3. Avoid an Audience

Anyone in the position to decide the price of something is usually aware of the golden rule when dealing with the public – What is good for one is good for all. If other people are around there is always the risk that they too will want to get an extra discount. Haggling quietly and out of earshot of other patrons will allow the person in charge to be more flexible when agreeing to bargain.

4. Do the Research

Good hagglers take the time to research products, services and pricing before they buy. Arming yourself with advertisements, printed Internet pages or notes on pricing and policies offers a visible comparison to show a salesperson. Before entering the store, a car lot, or the dentist office, knowing how much you would have to pay elsewhere gives you the knowledge you need to ask for a better price.

5. Ask About Future Markdowns

Store employees are often given a heads up about what and when things are being marked down. A bold haggler will always ask if something they want is going to be further reduced in the near future. Many times a sales associate will offer to hold the item until the markdown day arrives or just honor the markdown price if it is going to be changed within a day or two.

6. Ask About Coupons

Coupons and bounce-backs (a coupon given for use on a later date) have gained in popularity at almost all major retail stores and outlet centers. Hagglers always ask if there is a coupon available before they buy. Many times cashiers have a few up by the register.

7. Look for Fixable Flaws for Extra Discounts

Shopping the ‘imperfect’ rack is a great place to find merchandise to haggle for dollars. A dent in an inconspicuous place on an appliance, a small blemish on the wood of a table or buttons missing on a designer blouse shoud equate to big savings to those who haggle price.

The retailer is often so happy someone is interested in buying the damaged goods, that they become flexible in lowering the price to get rid of it. Good hagglers always do a thorough inspection of anything they are interested in buying and if they find a flaw they will always ask for the price to be lowered.

8. Learn to Read the Ticket

Many times the price ticket contains the date or season the item arrived at the store. It is usually coded and may be part of a longer code, but by studying the ticket, it can generally be spotted. If you become friendly with a store employee, you can always ask them to decipher the code for you.

Color codes are also a good indicator to how long something has been around. For example, a winter red may be coded as 53, a spring red as 55, a summer red as 58. A salesperson will be more motivated to knock off extra dollars on an item that has been on the sales floor for two seasons compared to something that has just arrived.

9. Be Prepared to Leave Empty-Handed

A good haggler knows when to walk away empty-handed. Hagglers shop often and rarely out of need. This puts them in the highest level for top negotiating because if the price isn’t low enough, they simply walk away.

10. Know the Markdown Policies

Knowing the markdown policies of the store help hagglers save money. Most stores will adjust the price of a previous purchase if the item was marked down within a certain time from when it was bought. This can range from two weeks to a month in most stores. By knowing the store policy, the haggler knows when to return to check the price of something they already bought. If it is lower, they then ask for an adjustment. This brings up one last important point – hagglers never throw away a receipt.