How to haggle

Written by James Jennings for Australian Seniors

Some people relish the opportunity to haggle over the price of an item as though it were a ritual that must be run, no matter if you’re buying a toaster or a new car. It’s all about that sweet sense of ‘winning’.

Others, however, would prefer to avoid it, but they needn’t be so fearful – the truth is that haggling can be a simple and, yes, enjoyable process, even for the inexperienced. “The first thing you need to do is research the market so you know what sort of prices are available out there, and be ready with that information about competitors before you initiate any kind of discussion,” says Margaret Rafferty, Managing Editor at Choice.

Attitude is also key, with politeness going a long way. “Start with a really simple opening line, something like, ‘Is that your best price?’, just to kind of get the ball rolling, and always approach it with a smile – you need to be polite, and really take a positive approach when you are speaking to a retailer about any options,” says Margaret. “You want to be interested in order for the seller to feel like they’ve got a chance of making a sale, but you also don’t want to be so eager that they feel confident that you’ll buy it regardless of whether they give you a deal or not. You have to be prepared to walk away.”

Timing is key and plays a big factor in whether you can get a discount. “A lot of times, sales people will have targets based on end of month or end of week, or even end of the day,” says Margaret. “So think about the timing of when you might approach.”

Also keep in mind you might get something other than money off. “You can ask about a discount if you buy more than one of the items. If they’re not willing to, find out if they’re willing to throw in anything extra for free, like delivery or an optional upgrade.” 

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