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In many cultures, haggling is a time honored tradition, and expected interaction. In modern day America, however, it's less commonplace - with the exception of yard sales or big ticket items like autos or real estate. But more often, whether due to a weakening economy or an ever increasing blending of cultures, people are starting to view any business transaction as an opportunity to negotiate.
Most people confine their haggling to goods rather than services, although in recent years, the cost of services has gone up more than the cost of goods. This means you're better off cutting a deal on the cost of a brake job, rather than trying to bargain down the price of a new lawn mower. But regardless of the type of purchase you are considering, your best chance at getting a great deal is in adopting the attitude that "it never hurts to ask."
Hockey great, Wayne Gretsky said "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." When it comes to haggling this is definitely true. Unless you ask for a discount you're going to pay the ticketed price. If haggling makes you uncomfortable, try dropping some hard to miss hints, such as asking when an item will be going on sale. Once you're ready to haggle in earnest, try these tips to increase your chances for success:
It's been said that at the right time and the right place everything is negotiable. So conceivably you could haggle anywhere, but some places you're more apt to be successful. Places and situations where you might consider haggling could be:
With medical bills being the cause for many people's financial woes, it's interesting to note that, according to a Wall Street Journal poll conducted by Harris Interactive, while only 9% of people reported trying to negotiate a lower hospital bill, 70% of those that did reported being successful. Even if you are not in a position to pay the bill outright, being forthcoming with the billing office, instead of making them chase you down, can go a long way with their willingness to negotiate a bill down and agree to a reasonable payment plan. If you aren't comfortable handling the negotiations yourself, consider electing the help of a patient's advocate.
If you are reluctant to haggle, keep in mind that more merchants and service providers expect it these days. And think about it - to be better off financially, you either need to make more money, or spend less money. So every time you strike a bargain it's like giving yourself a well deserved raise!
1. Be Prepared to Haggle – In today’s economy, a certain amount of haggling is expected, so don’t be reluctant to ask for a better price. For better results, try asking if there is any flexibility in the price, instead of demanding a discount. Getting a better price can often be as simple as asking if the product is going on sale anytime soon, and if so, can they match that price. 2. Wait on Purchases – To avoid wasting money on impulse purchases and experiencing buyer’s remorse, wait a couple of days before buying any non-essential item. If you still think it’s a good idea after sleeping on it for a couple of nights, chances are it is! 3. Beware Pressure Sales Tactics – Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. When a sales representative tells you that the deal is only available if you buy it right now, you probably should probably walk away or ask to speak to a manger to hold the price. If they believe in their product – they should want you to feel good about your purchase and not buy it out of fear of losing a special price. 4. Know Store Policies – You should make sure you understand the policies of stores where you shop to avoid over-spending. Some stores only allow returns for store credit or exchange. Other stores have generous price matching policies if you find an identical product for less within a certain amount of time. Knowing these types of policies can prevent you from spending more than you need. 5. Research – You don’t have to spend hours visiting different stores trying to find the best deal, but it’s important to know what a fair price is. Spend a few minutes searching on the internet or visit a price comparison search engine such as Price Grabber or Next Tag before making a purchase.
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