Currently browsing Posts Tagged “haggling”

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Welcome WFAA Viewers!

Posted by Daniel in haggling, Uncategorized, Updates

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Hello WFAA viewers, and Welcome to Young and Frugal, a site dedicated to business and personal finance for Generation Y! If this is your first visit to the site please take a look around, and if you like what you see, be sure to join the 275+ other subscribers by signing up via E-mail or RSS to be sure you get all the Young and Frugal updates!

In order to aid your navigation of the website I created a one stop shop for my best posts on Haggling!

The Rules of Haggling

Haggling Builds Self Confidence

Ten Pointers to Successful Haggling

Also be sure to check out some of my other Personal Finance Favorites!

The 7 Effective Habits of Highly Frugal People

Ten Tips for Saving Money on Gas

What Makes a Millionaire

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy!

-Daniel P. Bowen

The Rules of Haggling

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Bargains, Frugality, haggling, Life, Stuff, Uncategorized

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It’s no secret that I enjoy haggling. I have written a great deal on it, and even been interviewed by Forbes about it; but this last week I was interviewed by a local Television station about haggling, and this new experience prompted me to develop some good faith rules to haggling.

Why develop rules for something that is essentially every man for himself? Because with the economy where it is, the consumer has great power, and as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. So if you want to be a responsible haggler, try out the rules below.

  • No Lying.  Remember that salespeople CAN get in trouble by lowering a price for you, so your lie could potentially get a person fired. Plus it’s just bad karma.
  • Don’t haggle unless you are prepared to buy. If you spend time haggling with a salesperson, you had better be prepared to buy when you get your price. If he agrees to your price and you don’t buy, you are flat out wasting his time when he could be selling to other people at higher margins. Plus your chances of being able to work with him again drops and he is less likely to budge on price with other people because it didn’t get him a sale.
  • Walk if you don’t get your price. If you are trying to haggle and it doesn’t work you should thank the person for the time, accept it and leave. Haggling doesn’t always work, but if it doesn’t work and you purchase anyway, you are accepting defeat.
  • Be courteous. Remember, no one owes you anything other than to let you buy the product at it’s marked price. Buying in a retail store is not like buying a car, where you constantly feel like they are trying to gouge you. Being civil and fair is the key, so don’t be pushy and always be grateful, even if it is thanking the person for their time when you leave.
  • Be a good customer. If someone gives you a good deal, let them know that their faith in you was not misplaced. Go back to that person the next time you shop, but still expect another deal. Also, don’t haggle with the person every time, you don’t want the guy that really hooked you up to dread seeing your face again because you are going to try and milk another deal. Relationships are always key in haggling.
  • Remember that you don’t always need to haggle to get a good deal. There are many ways, aside from haggling to get a great deal. Check out Secrets of a Bargain Hunter to find out how!

These rules may not only be key in helping you get your price, but they also ensure that the salesperson doesn’t have a bad experience with someone trying to haggle.

Why Is Money Taboo?

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Finance, Frugality, haggling, House, Jobs, Life, Uncategorized

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Today my wife told me that she gets embarrassed when she is around and I try to haggle. I guess I can understand, I used to be like that too, and only over time have I grown bolder. With this in mind, I have to ask why is it that in America, money seems to be taboo?

In other cultures around the world, you are considered stupid or odd if you don’t talk money. In most parts of the world if you buy something without haggling the salesman will probably make fun of you for being a sucker as soon as you walk away. In America haggling is only considered acceptable in 3 scenarios. The first scenario is if you are buying something from a street vendor (like in New York), the second when you are buying something off of craigslist, and finally, haggling is OK when you are buying a big ticket item like a car or a house.

For some reason society has deemed it alright to negotiate and talk money in these scenarios, but if haggling is acceptable in these scenarios, why isn’t it acceptable in your daily spending? If just by asking for a discount you could get one would you go against this social norm?

I frequently go against this norm, it doesn’t always work, but when it does it feels great. Think about it from the salesman’s perspective, if 5% or 10% off will close the deal and allow them get on to helping the next customer why not? And if 10% off saves you $5 will it be worth the awkward moment? The worst thing that could happen is that they will say no.

Talking money does not only mean haggling, it means sharing your salary, something strictly forbidden in America.

In other cultures sharing your salary is not about bragging, it’s just normal everyday conversation. Xin Lu over at Wise Bread wrote a great post about how her Chinese culture influences her money habits. In the post she talks about how her father once helped a friend get a 20% raise, something that would not have been possible had they not been talking about salaries.

If by sharing your salary a friend could tell you that you are undervalued and try to help you get a higher salary is it OK? If you got a 20% raise I’m pretty sure you’d think so.

Recently I started a new job, and by talking about the offered salary and benefits of the job with someone else, that person helped me to effectively negotiate the offer . Does it feel odd for me to know that someone else knows my salary? Yes a little, but the person who helped was glad to do it and I am extremely grateful to him for it. Sure, at the end of the day I was the one doing the negotiations, and yes, it was a bit awkward, but it was well worth it.

The point here is that Money shouldn’t be taboo. Not everyone is rich, and there is nothing wrong with that, but our culture has ingrained in us that money separates us and defines us. Nothing could be more wrong. Money is something that needs to be talked about by more people, finances cause people more stress than anything, and they are the number one cause for divorce; but if we would all be more open about money we might be able to help each other and it could all change.

Do you talk openly about money? Why or why not?

Ten Pointers to Successful Haggling

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Bargains, Frugality, haggling, Uncategorized

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To build off my last post on how haggling builds confidence, I’ve decided to get you started on the right track by including 10 pointers for haggling.

  • The more you buy, the more of a discount you can get.  Mary and I went shopping for a new TV for her parents at Best Buy, and I allowed them to sell us more stuff because they could discount other items more.  All in all, her parents bought a 46″ LCD, a 26″ LCD, a PS3 (Blue Ray player), a sound bar (If you can’t have wired surround sound, this is the next best thing), and an HDMI cable (DO NOT BUY MONSTER CABLES.  They are a rip off, I don’t care what the salesman tells you.  If you need cables, go to or look up blue jean cables).  All in all we saved about $1000 because I was able to haggle and bundle with extras.
  • Talk to the manager. Some stores are giving employees the power to knock off 10% or so, especially in the current economy, but it’s still better to haggle with a manager.
  • Ask what you might think are stupid questions.  Even if there are no sale signs posted, ask if there is a sale going on, when a sale will be going on, or if there is a sale price they can give you.  It allows a good entry into haggling.  They may tell you that the item will go on sale next week so it might be best to wait, but that gives you leverage to ask them to discount it now.  It also breaches the subject of a discount nonchalantly.  If they discount it or give you a “sale” price, ask them if they can do better!  I asked the manager at Best Buy 3 different times if he could do better, and on the 3rd time he finally said no, he couldn’t, the computer wouldn’t let him discount it any more.
  • Look for floor models or imperfections.  Mary and I were at Crate and Barrel looking for things for our new house and we found a lamp we liked that was a floor model and had a scuff.  I asked the questions in the previous step, and she said she could give us 20% off for a ‘damaged’ item.  The item is by no means damaged, and we knew we could get the scuff out, so we said great!
  • Ask if there are any discounts or coupons that you could use.  Many stores have mailers that contain coupons, and most have them behind the counter to scan to help entice you into buying.  If you don’t ask you won’t know.
  • Let them know that you usually shop there. Customer loyalty is a huge plus!  The woman I haggled with for my running shoes was obviously more willing to talk discounts after I mentioned that my current shoes were purchased from one of their other stores.  She then pulled out a mailer coupon to give me a discount!
  • Be likable.  Last summer when Mary and I were working on our current place of residence I needed paint and paint supplies so I went to Sherwin Williams.  The salesman was younger and I was cracking jokes.  When I got up to the counter, I half-jokingly said “are there any: I just graduated from college, moved cross country, don’t have a job, and am about to get married discounts?”  He laughed, and said absolutely.  He gave me 30% off!  Also, don’t be pushy.
  • Walk Away.  If you aren’t getting the deal you want, don’t be afraid to walk away.  This advice is particularly good to use on hungry car salesman, but car buying is a whole other beast.
  • Offer Cash.  Cash is a huge bargaining tool.  It shows that you are serious and ready to buy, it also means a great deal to smaller shops.  Small shops will be more inclined to discount your product(s) more if they know you will pay cash.  There is nothing worse than discounting a product and then seeing another 2-3% of the purchase price go to credit card processing fees.  Don’t worry about your precious credit card points when you haggle, just worry about price.
  • Research.  If you aren’t sure about a product get the salesman’s card go do your research and come back.  Also, see a related post: Secrets of a Bargain Hunter.

These tools will most likely allow you to get some good discounts.  Use these pointers wisely, and always be prepared to buy when you get a discount, if you get your price and decide not to buy, it could discourage the salesperson from coming down in price for the rest of us!

Haggling Builds Self Confidence

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Frugality, haggling, Life

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Note: At the suggestion of a reader I am splitting the post into two separate pieces.  Stay tuned for 10 Steps to Haggling!

When I was younger I had very low self esteem, there was no reason for me to be shy and scared to talk to girls, but I was.  I was scared of them saying no, or even worse, laughing at me.  I’m not a bad looking guy, but this fear was very real.  My older brothers would try to help me with this by bribing me to go up to girls and ask them out, but I only successfully did this once…and by successfully I mean I actually asked the girl out; she said no.

The only reason I met my wife is because she had a mutual friend set us up on a blind date after seeing me in a picture.  I would have never “sacked up” and asked her out on my own, but considering I was put in a situation where it would have been very awkward, and quite frankly rude, for me not to, I asked for her number and waited the obligatory 3 days to call her.  Ladies- for an insight into a guys mind during this “waiting period” watch the movie Swingers.

When I first started to haggle I would get the same knots in my stomach as I would when I would be scared to ask a girl out or tell her that I liked her.  I was scared, scared that the salesman or manager might think less of me, scared they would say know, scared they would be offended.  Why was I scared?  I really don’t know, I never had a situation that scarred me, but I think it all stems from my historically low self esteem (now practically gone thanks to my wife!).

Today when I was haggling for a new pair of over-priced running shoes, I happen to be haggling with a cute woman, and it all clicked!  The nervous feeling I would get when wanting to ask a girl out is the same nervous feeling I get when haggling…except haggling is way easier.  Haggling is a confidence builder!

I rarely get turned down when I haggle, and when I do it’s never a big deal, I leave with my pride, and confidence still in tact that I tried, so I have no regrets.  This has built my confidence up greatly.  That is confidence that I could easily turn around into “technique” and confidence for picking up women (not that I ever would, I am very happily married).  I will have to find someone to try this technique on, but I’m positive it will work.  Haggling is the best confidence builder I’ve had…besides getting married.

I implore you all to at least try haggling, whether you get a discount or not it ends up being a rush so it feels good afterwards, but when it does work and you save some money, it builds your confidence, and you get that rush.  Also, as an added bonus, if the salesperson is a member of the opposite sex you can subtly flirt and complement the person to help you haggle!  Pretty soon, haggling will be no big deal, and you can turn that confidence and flirting into picking up members of the opposite sex!

As a disclaimer, use discretion, it may hurt your chances if you haggle on a first date, you don’t want to come across as cheap, even though there is a distinct difference, not everyone understands it.  Later on you can show your frugalness.