Whether I'm buying something used or paying for a service, I'm never sure when it's acceptable -- or even worthwhile to haggle. Are there certain things I should always haggle for?
Hesitant to Haggle
For some, the correct time to haggle is: always. That is, if any money is being exchanged for any goods or services, they like a good battle. For the rest of us, it's a little more complicated and depends on how you view the concept of haggling.
The short answer to the question is: if you believe you're overpaying for something, then it's worth negotiating the price. You likely fall into one of two camps: you don't mind haggling but only bother when it's worth it, or you hate haggling and rarely try it. Either way, the key to haggling is being educated on prices. The least dramatic way to haggle in any situation is to show a competitor's price and ask for a match. This works more often than not and regardless of your disposition towards the act, it's a helpful way to save money.
But not every little price hike is worth the haggle. What situations are? Let's take a look at some of the ways for people who don't mind haggling to cut down on smaller bills and then move on to the big ticket items that everyone -- especially those who hate haggling -- should learn how to negotiate.
I Don't Mind Haggling But Don't Want To Waste My Time
Just because you don't mind haggling doesn't mean you want to waste your time on efforts where it's not worth it. On of the easiest ways to fatten up your wallet is to trim back your monthly payments. Here's a few that are almost always worth haggling over.
- Credit card rates: Credit card companies want to keep your business so they'll try to work with you on payments. This includes adjusting your interest rate. One simple trick is to use an offer from another bank as leverage to get what you want from your current bank. If you get a better interest rate offer, higher limit, or better rewards, point them out to your bank to see if they can match it.
- Cable TV and Internet: We've talked before about reducing monthly bills just by asking before, but it really is that easy. Call up your provider and tell them you're looking to cut down or cancel your services. More often than not, they'll do everything in their power to retain you business and will cut your bill in the process.
- Rent: It's probably not something you've ever considered, but many landlords are willing to work with you on the price, especially if the rental market has changed since you initially signed your lease. Forbes recommends polling your neighbors to get a good sense of what the common rent is in your area and then approach your landlord with an offer. If they don't respond with lower rent, ask for perks like a free parking space or new paint.
It's not just about reducing monthly payments. Purchases from private sellers and boutique shops are almost always negotiable. Here's one where it's almost always a good idea to haggle the price.
- Furniture, Appliances And Mattresses: Negotiating the price of big ticket items like furniture, appliances, and mattresses is surprisingly easy. For one, furniture and appliances often come in sets, and Good Housekeeping recommends mentioning you're considering the bundle to get savings. This might be a washer-dryer set, or even just a couch and coffee table. For mattresses, we've talked before about not being afraid to negotiate on the price to a get a little knocked of the top. If nothing else, you can usually negotiate free delivery if they're not willing to take the price down.
I Don't Like Haggling But Don't Want To Overpay For Everything
If haggling makes you uncomfortable and you avoid it at all costs, it can still be a worthwhile pursuit if you know you're going to see big savings. It's probably not worth it for you to haggle $US5 off the price of a DVD from a kid on eBay, but haggling should be done on a few big expenses. Here's a few worth overcoming your fears and learning how to haggle for.
Image: Images Money.
- House: Offers and counteroffers are a complicated process when you're buying a home. The Guardian recommends finding the seller's remaining balance on their mortgage and negotiating from there. According to Credit.com it's also a good idea to set deadlines on your offer to show that you're serious. This is great for people who don't like to haggle because it doesn't require you to get in the face of the seller.
- Cars: Whether you're buying a used car or a new car, you can haggle on the price. The New York Times suggests bringing along your smartphone to help negotiate the deal. If a price seems out of place, look up the real value and get the dealer or private seller to drop the price. ABC also recommends you get the salesman to name the price first before making your offer. This helps you gauge where they're coming from and makes it easier to counter-offer. It's important to stick to the price you're willing to spend on a car no matter what. More often than not, a dealership or a private seller will drop the price provided it's not way below the asking price.
A good rule of thumb is to consider the cost-benefit ratio. Haggling is more worth it for high-priced items and it's also more acceptable to haggle. This rings true whether you're at a department store or a private seller. Big ticket items always have a little leeway in the price and you can often save a lot of money by simply asking for a discount.
PS: Have some awesome haggling tips? Share them in the comments.
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