I absolutely love to haggle. In fact, one of my favorite memories of my European backpacking trip with my hubs (then boyfriend) was not seeing the Eiffel tower or taking in all the ruins in Rome but having a blast haggling in the markets of Florence. In Florence, they have rows and rows of little vendors selling gorgeous Italian leather bags and gloves and tons of other things. It was so much fun to go there and enjoy talking to everyone.
I know lots of people don’t like haggling, and I don’t know why I think it’s so fun but I do. There’s just something about finding something beautiful that you want and getting it for a great price. It’s not that I’m cheap; quite the contrary. It’s just that I have fun going back and forth with vendors and agreeing on a price. Because I’m not overly materialistic, I can easily walk away at any time without the item which is a great bargaining tool.
If you hate haggling or you want to learn how to get a better price for anything, here are some ways to do it politely so you don’t feel awkward going for it.
1. “Is That Your Absolute Best Price?”
When you want to get something for a lower price, asking “Is that the best you can do?” sounds a little condescending. So instead I like to ask “Is that your absolute best price?” complete with a smile. This works in the markets of Florence or when you’re trying to get a deal on your wood floors at Home Depot. You would be surprised at just how negotiable things are.
2. Take a Walk
You’ve probably heard that a great negotiating tactic is to walk away. Of course, the catch with this is that you have to actually do it. So, if you spotted that one of a kind pair of Italian leather boots and you can’t live without them, don’t walk. However, if you’re buying a car and there are several car dealerships in your area, then by all means take a hike out the door. They’ll usually come calling after you.
3. Be Reasonable
You’re not going to get a brand new car for $2,000. You’re not going to get free cable service for a year (unless the company did something really, really wrong.) So, be reasonable. Have a price in mind that you want to get but also spend some time thinking about if its really possible. Vendors aren’t just going to give away their products. They have to make some profit too. So, come up with a number that should make both of you happy.
Overall, haggling can be fun. My husband hates it and doesn’t understand why I like it so much but over the years, I’ve taught him to ask just a few simple, polite questions to get the price down on just about anything. There doesn’t have to be yelling involved or anything crazy when you try to negotiate a price. Actually, I find that the nicer you are, the more likely you’ll get what you want.
Have you ever haggled before? Do you love it or hate it?
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I think being reasonable is very important. You don’t ever want to insult the person, because they might think you are not serious, or you might just make them so mad that they will start ignoring you.
I agree, the nicer you are, the more likely you will have a successful negotiation. I used to work in retail and the requests I would receive were sometimes just downright ridiculous. It always came from someone yelling at me too, which never made me want to give someone a discount if they were being mean!
That makes sense. I think it’s always best to be nice!
I haven’t done it often but I tend to get away with it more when I am in Trinidad and other islands because that is more of a norm there. I want to ensure that I respect the person who I am bargaining with and not throw them a ridiculous low ball offer. I want it to feel like a win-win situation for them and myself.
Yes I noticed that about living in Grenada!
I despise haggling, but have done some of that in my day. I went to a college that had two different campuses. One gave me a scholarship twice as large as the campus I wanted to attend. I called the financial aid office of the campus of choice and essentially asked if that was their best offer (explaining why). I found out that they’d match the scholarship – basically just by asking.
That sounds like a brilliant haggle!
I don’t like to haggle, but my husband is great at it! It came in handy when we bought our last car!
Oh I bet!
Shannon @ Financially Blonde says
My best haggling tip is having a budget. If they really want to sell you something, then they will move to your budget, if not, you know you shouldn’t spend the money anyway, so it’s easier to walk away. I have done this three times while negotiating a car purchase and it worked every time.
Melanie @ My Alternate Life says
I really like your line! I’m going to use that one. I haven’t haggled often but when I did I used pity, lol. It was when my boyfriend and I were doing long-distance. We took a day trip to the coast and I didn’t want to return to his roommates, so I thought we’d just check out hotel prices for a night. They were $160, but I told them it was my last night in town before I flew 3,000 miles away and we wanted a special night (true). I was able to get it down to a $100 for the room!
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says
I’m not a very good haggler. I like to know the price up front. But, it’s something I’m working on. I’m learning that you can’t get something if you don’t ask for it.
Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says
My tactic for haggling is to just make the vendor laugh and be a little silly. My charm normally always gets them. If that doesn’t work I will walk away and come back later….then it’s on!
I am definitely not the best haggler, but i love these tips! Now i just need the haggling confidence to execute them!
Get it! You can do it!
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
I’m a haggler from way back too! My primary haggling takes place with stuff we buy from Craigslist. I don’t pursue anything that’s wildly overpriced to begin with to ensure that even if the sellers won’t budge, I’m still comfortable paying the price. My most successful tactic is the bundle method–usually when folks are selling one thing on Craigslist, they have some other stuff lying around the house they’d also like to sell. I’m the queen of asking if they have anything else to sell and then making a bundle offer. It worked really well when we were furnishing our entire house via Craigslist and we ended up with some unique pieces that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Oh yes. I just bought two high chairs off of craigslist. Pretty fun to haggle or just to get fancy things for cheap!
I love haggling! I’m pretty good at it too but I’m always polite. No reason to be a jerk and I like killing people with kindness anyway.
I think that’s a great point. I can see you as a good haggler!
Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine says
Haggling is just a part of every day life here in Malaysia. Usually, you don’t even have to ask. You just hesitate for a moment, and they are saying, “discount for you, my best price.” The ticket price is never really the price here.
Kayla @ Femme Frugality says
I’m not really a haggler, but I should be! After reading this post (and several others), I think I should start trying. Every penny saved helps after all. 🙂