Thursday, August 19, 2010

Haggling 101

Have you ever haggled for something?  I don't mean for that little knick knack you bought from a street vendor in Acapulco.  I mean walking up to the customer service desk at your local Marhsall's and asked for another 15% off.  Yeah, baby, you can be THAT Frugalista.

Haggling is not for the faint of heart, but here are a few tips to embolden you for the task ahead.

1.  You can haggle ANYWHERE.  It NEVER hurts to ask.  The WORST someone can say is "no."  I've haggled at an upscale boutique, at Target, Marshall's and you can even haggle at the grocery store.  I've had items discounted at each of those places and all it took was asking the right person.

2.  Be kind.  As they saying goes, "You get more flies with honey than vinegar."  Plus, you should just always be kind!   

3.  Find the right item.  I check clearance racks for items that have a fixable defect.  "Fixable" can be an easily replaced button, a spot that looks like it can be removed in a regular wash cycle, or a toy that needs a bath in soapy water.  Look for things that are obviously out of season, but haven't been marked down yet, like a grill or patio furniture in November or Christmas decorations in May.  Sometimes items were returned and weren't priced correctly when they made it back to the shelves.  Also look for items with no price tags and no identical items.  This works great at Target and Wal-Mart.  They usually just ask me how much I want to pay for the item and the cashier will offer that price or $.25 more.

4.  Know your store.  If you walk into a boutique and start haggling with the clerk at the register, you might not get very far.  Ask, "Who could I talk to about having an item discounted?"  If you're in Target, the cashier can adjust prices themselves.  For a grocery store, you can talk to the produce manager about reducing overripe bananas or a someone at customer service about something with damaged packaging.

5.  Use cash.  Stores are more willing to haggle if you are paying with cash since they have a 3-5% charge every time someone uses a credit card.  I recommend using cash for any in-store purchases and I'll post a link at the bottom so you can find out why.

6.  Be reasonable with your offer.  That leather Nicole Miller clutch is not going to walk out of that store for $25.  That cute bedding set is worth more to you than $1.99.  If you think your offer is reasonable, but it is refused, politely ask what they think would be a more reasonable offer.  Part of haggling is compromise.  Sometimes you might not be willing to compromise which leads me to...

7.  Be ready to walk away.  If you can't agree on a price, be ready to leave that item behind!  It's okay, there will be a "next time."  I've actually had someone chase me down after I walked away from their "final price" so that they could offer me the item at my requested price- not in America!

 Enjoy all the Frugalista Finds you get on your haggling adventures.

Why we use cash: The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

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