The Art of The Haggle.

5/31/2012

When, where, and how to haggle your way to a better price

Bargaining with a product or service provider for a better-than-advertised rate sometimes seems long gone. Too often, people fork over the asked-for price when there are opportunities to negotiate their way to a better deal.

Haggling may seem needlessly argumentative but -- when done right -- it can benefit both you and the seller, plus it can make a real difference in your monthly budget.

When to Haggle

The best time to haggle for a product is when you are prepared to walk away from it without buying it. In order to be a successful haggler, the seller of the product you are negotiating for must know -- or at least think -- that he or she is not going to make the sale unless they try to come close to your terms. If the seller feels confident that you are going to buy the product anyway and are simply feeling around for a better deal, they're unlikely to offer you much of a discount.

Where to Haggle

Not every retail environment is appropriate for haggling. Department stores and franchises are generally bad places to negotiate a lower price. Open-air markets, flea markets, pawn shops, antique shops, yard sales, and small shops that allow you direct access to talk to an owner work much better. Certain big-ticket purchases, like cars or real estate, also offer you a chance to bargain your way into a better price.

How to Haggle

The first key to proper haggling is to remember that this isn't an argument or hostage situation. There should be no anger or other negative emotion involved in the haggling, and no resentment if you are unsuccessful.

About.com suggests that you haggle privately, without an audience of other consumers, because you're more likely to be successful if the seller isn't worried about 10 other people seeing your success and trying to repeat the experience.

FoxBusiness.com notes that consumers need to do research on the item they plan to haggle over. That way, you can have a rough idea of its value and what price a vendor is going to be more likely to agree to. If possible, they suggest you bring hard evidence of lower prices. But remember, the seller is there to make money, so don't try to haggle so aggressively that you ruin any chance of them turning a profit. When dealing with small businesses, keep in mind that some have very little wiggle room on prices while still keeping their business afloat.

The Consumerist advises that you wait until the end of the day to haggle. Especially in a flea market situation, when the vendor is faced with the prospect of packing up his stock and taking it back to storage, it might be even more appealing to sell at a discount and lighten the load. If it's been a disappointing day in terms of sales for the vendor, this may also work in your favor since he or she will often be willing to take a hit in profit in order to create better returns for the day.

Haggling is a great way to get the items you need at a price you can afford. Always remember to try and satisfy both your need to get a good deal and the seller's need to make a profit. Stay polite and learn when and where to haggle and you may even find that you create long-standing relationships with vendors who are happy to give you terrific deals over and over through the years..

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