Haggling can be a great money-saver – whether you’re looking for a discount on holiday souvenirs or a house extension. But when is it acceptable to haggle? Read on to find out…
You might think haggling is something people do at foreign markets when they're trying to buy carpets – but you can ask for a price reduction at home too. Remember that if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
On the high street
With the majority of high street shops there’s no room for haggling. Convincing Sainsbury’s to sell you a bottle of wine £2 cheaper than the marked price isn’t worth your time!
However if an item is damaged, check with the store if they will sell it at a discount. Ask for 20% off, but settle for 10%. At independent gift and clothes shops – particularly if you are a regular customer – it’s always worth asking for a discount.
Renewing your utilities
When your renewal quote arrives in the post, don’t accept it before you’ve checked for cheaper quotes.
Call up your preferred provider and ask if they are willing to match a competitor quote. If they won’t match it, be firm that you want a cancellation and see if they suddenly change their minds!
Haggling for services
Whether you are having your kitchen refitted or thinking about getting an extension on your property, it’s worth seeing if a deal can be struck.
Call around for quotes and then as soon as you have your cheapest quote call back all of the other businesses and ask them if they can better it. If they can, then you can take the new quote back to other businesses and so on.
It will take some nerve (and some time on the phone) but think of the cash you can save.
Buying from individuals
When you’re buying an item direct from an individual on Gumtree, through classified adverts, or at car boot sales and jumble sales, there is often room for negotiation.
Be polite but firm, have an upper limit in mind but don’t tell the seller what it is. Be confident with your bid and stand firm on the item’s value.
Even if they reject your offer, they may look around and then decide you are their best option after all – so check back with them to find out if it has sold at a later date.
It’s not just countries such as Morocco and India with their inviting markets which are a dream come true for hagglers. You can also give it a go at European holiday resorts.
There’s no shame in asking a shop assistant if they are able to offer a discount – for example if the cost of one beach towel is five euros but you want three, then you could ask if you can have some money off for buying more than one.
You’ll be more likely to succeed if there are plenty of businesses offering the same items nearby. So head for tourist hotspots where gift shops line the beach.
Tips for haggling
- Stick to your budget – even if it involves walking away empty-handed.
- Be confident – make the seller aware that you know the actual value of the item rather than the marked-up price. They will be more likely to give you a discount.
- Be realistic – don’t expect to buy an item for half the marked price. Instead, think about a 20% discount.
- Ask the seller if they are willing to sell at any less than the advertised cost – if they say ‘no’ firmly and without hesitation, just walk away and find someone who is open to discussion.