Haggle Your Way To a Bargain

by Katy on September 28, 2008 · 5 comments


With prices at all time highs, I’m needing to reach deep into my bag of tricks.

Working hard to not waste food?


Entertaining ourselves at home instead of going out?


Buying only second hand consumer goods?


But am I spending as little money as possible when I’m making purchases?

This is where the art of bargaining comes in. And anyone who has ever visited a foreign land can tell you, it is an art. An important thread in the tapestry of any sale. 

But here in the United States, people dread having to bargain. Car dealerships advertise one-price-only policies, and most people don’t realize that the marked price can be just the starting point.

So how is bargaining done? 

Lines which I find work well without being offensive to the seller are:

“Is this a firm price?” or “Are your prices firm?” or “Are you able to lower the price on this?”

This puts the seller in the position of either offering a lower price, asking you what you’d like to pay, or saying that yes, the prices are firm. My experience has been that most vendors are perfectly willing to haggle.

I’ve been able to get prices lowered everywhere from the expected, (garage sales) to the unexpected, (Target.)

A common reason why a vendor would lower a price is damaged packaging. To a store, this means a product that is less likely to sell. But to a buyer, it really makes no difference, as you are going to remove the packaging anyway. (Carefully recycling each and every bit — of course.)

The one thing that is most important when trying to bring down a price is to be polite and friendly. There’s nothing to be gained from insulting the merchandise or being rude.

Nobody wants to do a favor for a jerk.

The best bargaining ends with both parties feeling good.

So next time you’re shopping, go ahead and try the art of bargaining. It’ll be like going on a mini vacation abroad.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen September 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I am sooo bad at this! I just am low on the nerve it takes to bargain.


Mrs Green September 29, 2008 at 12:53 am

I don’t have the guts for this either, but I so admire people who do.
In fact, yesterday, I didn’t haggle once on a car we really want which will drop our fuel consumption wildly; I just didn’t have the balls to do it, but I walked away without the car and feeling really bad about myself.

Maybe a week in Egypt is in order to get in the spirit of haggling!


Linda September 29, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Wow, I never thought of trying to haggle at Target…that’s awesome! I would imagine you’d have to see the manager to do that?


Kristen September 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm

Mrs. Green, I don’t think that would be very cost-effective! lol Stay in England!


Hakan Guzelgoz March 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Nice post. I’ve posted recently about how to bargain, haggle or buy a handmade rug. Would be interested to know what you think about it.


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