Getting More for Less: The Art of Haggling

These days, more than ever, you get more for less money. That is, if you ask for it. Even with discounted prices, retailers are more desperate for sales and may be more susceptible to an effective haggler, especially one with the right game plan.

To help you develop the most effective haggling strategy is Mandy Walker, Senior Project Editor with Consumer Reports, which has just come out with a new survey on haggling and how effective it can be.

”Lots of people are doing it, and they’re getting better prices,” says Walker, pointing out that 83% of people surveyed said that they were able to get a better deal after a bit of price negotiation.

Even some expenses you wouldn’t at first expect are susceptible to an effective haggler, such as cell phone bills, which found an 81% success rate for individuals who attempted to negotiate a lower price. A similar success rate of 81% got better deals on clothing, while 71% were able to get better prices on electronics and 78% were able to get a better deal on a car.

But is this just because of the economy? “Merchants are hurting,” says walker, “they’re more likely to deal, but this has really always been true… it’s just really important right now because people need to save.”

Walker also has some tips on how to haggle most effectively:

First – Be Nice. “You have to be nice, and you have to go at the right time of day,” says Walker. “If you’re polite to the salespeople, they’re much more likely to want to deal with you And you’re going to want to go when the stores are slow and spend more time with salespeople… The more time you spend with them, the more likely they’ll be to give you a break.”

Second - Arm Yourself With Research. Walker says that this is an extremely important part of the haggling process. Knowing other discounts that are out there, whether through daily flyers and specials to searching online, comparing prices of competitors can give you some valuable leverage over a salesperson.

Third – Learn To Read The Tags. A little known fact about certain clothes is that you can check their tags to see how long they have been on sale for. If an item has been in the store for a particularly long time, suggesting an additional percentage discount might go a long way.

Finally – Pay in Cash. When you use a credit card, it costs retailers up to an additional 8%, says Walker. If you’re paying with cash, they might be saving money, and putting you in position to haggle a lower price.