How to get a discount everywhere: how to haggle
The art of asking for a discount - known as haggling - is something every money saver needs to know how to do. Haggling can be used when you find an item marginally outside of your price range, find an item which is noticeably marked-up in price, or when you’re in-store and know the exact product you wish to purchase is much cheaper somewhere else.
If it’s your first time haggling, or negotiating on price with a salesperson, asking for a discount can be a big step outside of your comfort zone. In fact, it can be an incredible challenge; you might worry the salesperson would shut you down, think less of you, or even angrily ask you to leave the store.
The reality, of course, is much different:
- Stores often set their prices with the idea of compromise in mind to ensure they can close a deal if required
- Many stores now often price-match deals to retain customers and make sales
- Salespeople are competitive, and would rather make a sale to you than lose your business to a competitor over a few dollars
However, this doesn’t make the art of haggling any easier to adopt, especially if you’ve only just started using a budget planner spreadsheet or savings guide to help curb your spending habits. As haggling is such a crucial part of saving money - especially discounts on electronics or big-ticket items - this guide will help you learn how to negotiate and save money.
Get a discount by mentioning competitors
Businesses spend millions on advertising every year; they want you in their shop and will very rarely turn down a good offer that is marginally under the retail price - they are aware you will just go to the competition. Think about how many times you’ve gone into a store just to browse, and a salesperson has attached themselves to you asking for help - you’re doing their job for them just by approaching them with an offer to negotiate on price.
Don’t be afraid to tell them you will go elsewhere to seek a better price. The fear of losing an easy sale will often convince a salesperson into providing a better discount, as they know they will not have a customer this receptive and ready to buy again if they let you leave the store.
Tell them you are ready to buy, wanting the best price and need to get this sorted quickly.
Price-matching can help your haggling strategy
Many stores will price match. This means that - at the bare minimum - they will try and give you the same price as a competitor.
The trick with price matching is to use it to bring the price down, and then ask for a further discount to win your business.
Do a little research prior to visiting retail stores. Search online, amongst the big retailers and smaller shops for the best price on an item to benchmark. If the item is part of a bigger retail store network, you should easily be able to get it price matched. If it is an online-only store; it can be a little harder (most stores refuse to price match online prices)
Find a price you want and have it ready to show the sales person if they are appearing to not meet your request for a discount.
How much can you save by asking for a discount?
Asking for a discount can potentially save you thousands, depending on the item you are after. The greater the margin on a product, the more room the sales person has to move on price. The more you know about the true price of an item, the better position you will be in to negotiate for a discount.
You can get big discounts at JB Hi-Fi and stores like Harvey Norman - they are notorious for offering discounts as they sell goods that have high margins built in. The same goes for cars; buying a car is another great way to haggle a better price as the dealers are often hungry to win your business.
Stores like ‘The Good Guys’ also offer heavy incentives for cash purchases. This is essentially inviting you to haggle with them; it is what separates them from smaller Australian chains that cannot be as flexible on prices. These bigger stores advertise cash prices because they want you to come in and haggle; it’s the ‘angle’ that sets them apart.
Here are just some of the products you can easily haggle a better price for:
- Cars and motorbikes
- Consumer electronics (like TVs and entertainment items)
- Whiteware (like fridges, freezers, dryers, washing machines)
- Furniture and household appliances
- Cameras (especially camera accessories)
Items from market stalls (they expect some haggling)
- Warranties and delivery charges (you should never pay for these, they should be free)
You are also not limited to a single store; multiple stores and outlets will be willing to haggle with you.
Top 4 tips for negotiating a discount in-store
- Get the discounted price in writing. Get the first store you visit to write down the negotiated price on their business card – this way you can show the next shop they have put the offer in writing should you have to leave the first store.
- Floor stock makes haggling easier. If the item you are after is the last one left - or previously used floor stock - this is your chance to really negotiate a better price. Tell them you don’t like floor stock and that it has been used, touched and potentially damaged so you would be willing to purchase as long as a good discount is applied.
- Tell the sales person you are ready to buy - now. Apply immediate sales pressure to the staff. Tell them you want to buy, but you need the best possible price to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to tell them the price you would be happy with. Work to meet them halfway between your request and their offering if there is a vast difference.
- Ask for a deal-sweetener. You can also attempt to get them to throw in a sweetener, which means you are after multiple products and hoping to get something extra thrown in for free. This could be a warranty, extended service, batteries, free delivery, free on-road costs, upgraded accessories for electronics - you’ll very rarely have to pay for these if you are good at negotiating!
The best ways to ask for a discount
Now that you know more about haggling, try negotiating with a salesperson next time you go shopping. Don't feel guilty like some people might do, an easy way to overcome this initial awkward feeling of guilt is by making a light-hearted comment instead of approaching the situation seriously: “I only have $45 dollars on me - would you accept this amount?”
Sales staff are used to this kind of haggling and are more than willing to help you with the negotiation. They may need to ask permission from their manager, but will always come back with a response that will potentially save you money - if you start to feel awkward while waiting for a price match check, just continue to browse nearby items and look as though you’d be interested in purchasing something else as well.
A few minutes of haggling or simply asking for a discount can save you a lot of money over the course of your life.
The final word on how to haggle huge discounts
Your biggest mantra when saving money and haggling is: ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’.
What is the worst that can happen? They can say no. What is the best that can happen? 30 seconds of haggling leads to a tonne of money saved - feel free to let us know how you go on and share any helpful tips of your own!