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I love a good deal. Seriously. There’s a rush that comes with getting someone to lower their price and saving money on an item that my family needs. Haggling for a bargain is one of those skills that every frugal person should have, but surprisingly, most don’t know how to and their lack of knowledge makes them afraid to try. If you’re afraid to haggle, you need to realize that you could very easily be costing yourself hundreds (or thousands!) more each year than you actually need to be paying. Learning how to haggle will make sure that you’re always getting the best bargains possible and by default, will help you cut your expenses too.
Bartering is one of my favorite things to do, but if I was too afraid to haggle, I wouldn’t be any good at trading. It is one of those skills that once you learn it, you’ll polish it every time that you use it and you’ll never forget how to do it. Once you learn how to haggle, you will use it in everything from getting the best deals on Craigslist and Facebook groups, to yard sale shopping and if you’re like me, bartering.
How to Haggle to Get the Absolute Best Deal
Before you rush in and ask someone to lower their price, you’ll need to understand that there are times when it’s appropriate to haggle and times when it’s not. If the person is already offering a killer deal, it may actually hurt you to haggle. If the seller has already offered a really great deal, they may be offended if you offer even lower. If that happens, they will be less likely to work with you and you may end up having to pay the higher price for your item if you truly need it. Over time you will learn to feel sellers out and when it’s appropriate to haggle for the price, but keep in mind when you first begin that you may accidentally find yourself paying the higher price until you’ve got the learning curve down.
When you first decide that you want to haggle, you’ll have to speak up to let the seller know and you’ll need to be confident when you do. If you speak softly or shy away from the negotiating, the person you are haggling with isn’t going to take you seriously. Instead, speak up and let them know you are serious about wanting to negotiate.
Don’t offer a low ball price
Haggling is one thing, but being rude is an entirely different ballgame. If someone has set a price and you come in with one that is significantly lower, you’ll very likely be doing yourself more harm that good. A seller who feels that you’re trying to low ball or scam them out of the item will back off and not negotiate with you at all. Typically when I’m trying to haggle with a seller, I don’t offer more than 15% under their price and even then, 15% is rare for me.
If a seller has a price marked as firm, walk on. They have made it perfectly clear that they will not negotiate and it is incredibly rude (as well as a waste of time) to ask them to.
Be firm with your price but willing to negotiate
When you first decide how much you want to pay for something, you’ll need to be firm with what your highest price point is. Again, there’s no reason to be rude when asking and usually a simple, “Would you take $x.xx for it?” will work. With that being said, most sellers will counter your offer. They are in it to make their money back, but the majority of them want to work with buyers so that they can actually sell the item. Because of this, they absolutely will counter your item if they are interested in haggling at all.
For some, its only about winning the deal and you will be able to tell these sellers by how many times they try and counter your offer. If their counter is acceptable to you, make the deal. If not, don’t be afraid to counter your price again. In either case though, be absolutely firm with the highest price you are willing to pay.
Don’t let the seller know what your highest price point is
This should probably be common sense, but I wanted to mention it anyhow. Don’t let the seller know what the highest price you’re willing to pay is. If you do, they will come right back with that price as their offer and you won’t have any room for negotiation. Instead, start with a reasonable, but lower offer and let them counter you until you get to your high price point.
Don’t get too attached to an item
This one can be especially hard when you’re first learning how to haggle. I know that it can be hard, but even if you especially love an item, don’t get too attached until it is in your hands. When you get emotionally attached to an item, it’s harder to see it go. Emotions make people do crazy things and the last thing you need is your emotions tied to your spending.
Be on Your Game
If you’re trying to haggle for an item, but don’t know anything about the item, you may get yourself in trouble since you won’t be able to demonstrate that you know what it is valued at. On the other hand, if you are knowledgeable, the other person might take you a lot more serious. Obviously this doesn’t apply to every item because really? A couch is a couch, but the odds are more likely to be in your favor when you know what you are talking about.
Make sure your timing is right
Finally, make sure that your timing on when you start to haggle is right. If you jump right into the wheel n deal part, you’ll likely offend the seller and cause them to back away. Make conversation first, talk about the item and anything that is wrong with it and so on. Then, jump into the haggle. This can be hard to time right when you’re first learning how to haggle, but don’t worry. With practice, you’ll figure it out.
Don’t be afraid to walk away
Finally, and I think this may be the hardest lesson to learn when you’re first learning how to haggle is that sometimes the deal just doesn’t work out. If you and the seller can’t agree on a price or if they refuse to come down below your highest price, don’t be afraid to walk away. It is better to walk away than pay more than you’re comfortable with. There will always be another deal.
Like I said, I love to haggle and it’s a fantastic way to save on everything from furniture to clothing and more. Don’t let yourself become too scared to negotiate that you don’t. If you’re already a haggler, do you have any tips that I missed that might help someone else who is learning how to haggle?