Have You Got Haggling Skills?


Getting things for less money than they are worth sounds like a great way of spending less, doesn’t it?

We might pick up the odd bargain from time to time but if you want to spend less on a regular basis then perhaps it is time to work out whether you have haggling skills you could put to good use.

Know When to Do It

The first point about haggling is that you need to know when to do it. You aren’t going to walk into your local supermarket, pick a pack of vegetables with a price sticker on it and try to offer less to the checkout operator. You probably know instinctively when you might have a chance of haggling. This could be at a flea market, in a yard sale or at a car dealership, for example. When you travel abroad you will also find that haggling is more common in some countries than it is in others. If you aren’t sure where this approach would be acceptable then you could politely ask if the price noted on an object is the final price or if there is any leeway on it. Of course, if you do this in a country where a foreign language is spoken then you could find it difficult to get this just right.

Get the Right Look

Haggling experts will tell you that it is best not to look too rich when you are trying to get the price lowered on something you want. If you are going to a flea market you should dress down a little without looking as though you have just slept the night in a garbage can. If you are planning on doing it abroad then try to avoid looking like a wealthy tourist with plenty of money to splash around.

Be Friendly but Assertive

One important point to remember is that this isn’t a war between you and the seller. You are both simply trying to find some common ground and reach a price that suits both of you. This means that you can afford to be friendly with the vendor and chat to them as you haggle. In Arab countries, where haggling is commonplace, you might find that you get invited to a cup of tea while you try to reach some sort of agreement. Remember that these people are often experts in haggling, so don’t feel too upset if they manage to outsmart you. Bearing this in mind, it is important to try and find the balance between being friendly and being assertive enough to get a decent deal.

Know the Value of What You Are Haggling Over

It is easy to get confused when you are haggling .This is especially true if you are doing it in a foreign country or with a silver tongued car salesman who knows every trick in the book. This means that it is vital that you are clear from the start on how much you would be willing to pay for the item. Clearly you won’t want to reveal this price right at the start but if the vendor starts confusing you and altering the terms then you will want to have a figure you can cling onto.

Do It for Fun First

Haggling is great fun but you won’t want to dive in and do this with an expert salesman over an expensive purchase on your first attempt. Instead, you could start off by choosing a relatively inexpensive item and have a good laugh while you do it. If the item isn’t worth all that much then the chances are that the vendor will be relaxed and might enjoy the haggling as well.

Do you have any more haggling tips?

8 Responses to Have You Got Haggling Skills?

  1. Great tips! I always haggle over Craigslist and garage sale purchases. I don’t haggle with a Craigslist seller in advance, but once I arrive to purchase the item, I always offer less than they’re asking. As you note, it’s not a war–you and the seller both want the same thing, it’s just a matter of figuring out a price you’re both comfortable with. I don’t think I’ve ever paid the “asking price” in a used market situation, it’s always worth a haggle!

  2. I have haggled at different stores when I have found something that I have wanted and found a flaw in the making of it. For example, when shopping, if I find a shirt with a small stain on it, I will point it out to the cashier and see if he/she could contact the manager. I have had a lot of success doing this, and have gotten these items for cheaper than sticker price. When I go to garage sales, I always haggle. I think it is more socially acceptable to do so at garage sales and yard sales compared to doing this at retail stores.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s a very good idea Michelle. I’ll need to pay closer attention to the things I buy from now on.

  3. My wife and I both haggle although she’s the haggling pro in our marriage. She knows when the haggle, what to say and how to get what she wants. She got me didn’t she ha!! No she didn’t haggle for me.. that sounded bad! I think if you know you can score a deal or work with someone on price because there is competition out there than go for it. We haggle our communications bill every year and each time we get a great deal.

  4. In general when I travel I try not to look too rich. It can help you in market situations as well as avoiding being targeted for theft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *