It’s that time of year again when the mince pies sneak on the shelves, the jingling music filters into the shopping aisles and us mums desperately try and distract our kids as the latest, expensive toy adverts appear on the telly.
My kids are experts at picking up on what the must haves are for Christmas thanks to the time they spend, after school, relaxing in front of Jake and the Netherland Pirates, or whatever the latest TV fad is. As a result, I am always on the lookout for ways I can reduce the cost of Christmas, whether online or in the high street.
With this in mind, I have scoured the land for some tips on haggling to see whether this might be the answer to my, and your, Christmas budgeting headaches.
So….how to haggle to get that bargain, whether its online, offline, or even with a friend you don’t feel embarrassed to haggle with…
This is easier online, as they can’t see your face of course ;-). If you are haggling in person, then confident hand-shaking and smiles can mean that the retailer is sure you know what you are talking about. That means they are less likely to take you for a ride, and perhaps back down sooner. Becky, from Family Budgeting suggests enthusiasm alongside that confidence is important:
“Show a real enthusiasm to see it work out well for you both and a real professionalism so they respect who they are dealing with.”
Use the power of the internet
Haggling can be a lonely business, it’s you against the world! ;-). However, there are sites that combine haggling and group buying power, which can make your life easier, and more importantly, a wee bit cheaper. Haggle4.com allows you to put a bid in for an item, including computers, mobile phones, etc. If the average price of your bid, and others for the same item, meets the average the retailer is willing to sell for, then that item is yours. You can keep an eye on progress and re-assess your bids during the course of the sale. You could find you are paying a lower price because someone else was willing to pay a slightly higher one. Haggling isn’t so lonely now is it?
Do your research
If you are going online, or into a shop, make sure you know what the price of the item you are after is on the web, and also with the company’s rivals. Stun them with your knowledge. This, according to Cass from The Diary of a Frugal Family, is a really key part of haggling. If you don’t know the product well, you can’t haggle effectively. Liz, from Me and my Shadow, makes sure that she does a Google Shopping search before hitting the high street to haggle. This way she always knows the lowest price of goods, and is confident out of her haggling starting blocks.
Have an idea of what is a bad, good and excellent deal
Do have prices in mind before you begin that you would consider to be bad, good and excellent deals for the items you are after. If you are only willing to take the goods at a specific price, perhaps your “good” price, then make sure you make a mental note of that price before you go in, all guns blazing!
Don’t back down
If you have a price that you won’t go above, don’t back down. You may not get the goods, but then again…. If you are confident in your convictions, have the cash in your account and are ready to part with it; the retailer might just take you up on the lower price if he thinks you are about to walk away. I have been called back into shops before…
Consider abandoning online baskets
Larger online retailers track the movements on their website very closely, and so do some little ones *ahem.* These guys know when a transaction has been abandoned, and sometimes they send you a little sweetener to get you buying those items. I have abandoned the purchase of a computer online (no brand mentioned here ;-) ) and got a 10% discount voucher the next day to complete the sale.
Go in low
Little Lilypad blog and boutique owner, Donna, suggests going in low because you can always go up in the haggle; but its nigh on impossible to make the retailer go down in price. Why would they do that? Give yourself the wiggle room, and you have space to work with. Often times you meet in the middle somewhere – you can even estimate where that might be based on the standard retail price and your first haggle…stick with small increments when you are increasing as well if you can.
Don’t rush it
This links back to going in low, and going up in small increments – if you have time you can work together. However, don’t drag it on too long, you don’t want to annoy the retailer so that next time they see you coming, they hide behind the desk….
Be prepared to walk away
Sometime, particularly online, I keep going when I know I should stop…I can’t see the money, it’s all virtual cash isn’t it…so I just keep going… *Bad plan.* If it isn’t working, and you can’t get the deal you wanted: stop. Simple. Honestly. ;-)
Last, but not least – have fun – it’s not scary haggling really *speaks a wallflower.* If you go in with a positive attitude then you could come away with a bargain. And if you don’t, hey, you had fun trying; I hope.
Do you have and other tips for haggling to pass on, we would LOVE to hear from you. Let us know below.