Haggling is not just for holidays!

Image by Hans Dinkelberg, NL

Many of us have tried our hand at haggling at markets or shops as a method of saving money while on holiday. Not only could you save, but it makes shopping more fun, and you feel even better about getting a great deal.

There are also plenty of opportunities to haggle for better prices here in the UK, the only difficulty is knowing when and how this is done. The following money saving tips should help clear that up:

  1. Only haggle if it is appropriate. Second hand and independently owned shops are a good place to start. At a car boot or jumble sale haggling is expected. Insurance companies, print services, car showrooms, and phone and utility providers are also often open to negotiating prices. Franchises and chain stores are more likely to stick to set prices. If in doubt, ask if the price is final.
  2. Do your research ahead of time, look up prices of similar items online. Some companies promise to beat the price of any of their competitors, so take advantage of this.
  3. Be polite, friendly and patient – don't let your haggle turn into an argument.
  4. Remember that the seller needs to make a profit so don't expect them to drop the price more than they can afford to.
  5. Have a good idea of how much you want to pay before you start haggling – and offer a lower price so you can negotiate up to your desired price. A good rule of thumb is to offer half of what the seller asks for, and expect to pay two thirds.
  6. If the item you want to buy has any damage or imperfections, point this out before you start haggling and you might get a lower starting offer.
  7. If you are haggling face-to-face, don't wear expensive clothes. The seller may raise their prices if you look like you can afford it.
  8. If you're haggling over a service like insurance or satellite television, use online price comparison engines to make sure you know what competitors are charging.
  9. Pick your moments – haggling is more common when sales are slow. Try it in an empty shop or if there is an off-season for your product try to take advantage of this.
  10. If you are re-negotiating a contract, such as your mobile phone, threaten to go to their competitors. Sometimes salespeople will be authorised to give special deals to retain unsatisfied customers.
  11. Wait until the shop is quiet or empty, the seller may not want to broadcast that their prices are not fixed, and won't want to miss out on other sales while they are negotiating with you.
  12. Walk away and save face. If you don't get the price you want, you don't have to go through with it, but express your regret and thank the seller for their time. They might change their mind so as not to lose a sale, but even if they don't, the courage to walk away is as important if you could get a better deal elsewhere.

Happy haggling!

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