10 Tips for Negotiating a Better Price on Anything

Negotiating a better price
Photo by Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

These days, many people rely on technology to save money. They go online for Groupon offers, print coupons and scan deals pages.

Those are all worthy ways to cut costs. But there’s an even simpler way to save. It’s the technique human beings have used for millennia: haggling.

Many of us expect to haggle over prices when shopping for big-ticket items like cars or houses. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t ask for a better deal with less-expensive items. It can work when you buy furniture or even stay at a hotel.

Or consider electronics: Last year, Consumer Reports said that 69% of online shoppers and 59% of in-store shoppers got a discount on an electronic product simply by haggling for it.

How do you know if you can haggle for something? There’s only one way to find out, and the worst that can happen is to receive a “no.” Try these tips to increase your odds of haggling successfully:

1. Do your homework

It’s easier to bargain for a deal — and recognize if you’re really getting one — when you understand the numbers. Before you go shopping, research prices and competitors. Check store policies to see if a business matches prices, and under what conditions.

And while this obviously applies to big purchases like appliances, don’t stop there. If the dry cleaner down the street is charging $1 for shirts, why should you pay $1.25 at your current dry cleaner?

2. Don’t be afraid to walk away

Your biggest bargaining chip is the fact that your business isn’t guaranteed. If sellers are convinced you’re going to buy from them, you’re at their mercy.

Not getting the price you want? Tell the seller you’re going to see if the competitor down the street can do better. The party with the power is the one who doesn’t care if the deal gets done.

3. Ask the right person

Not everybody has the authority to negotiate, so seek out the decision-maker.

Whether it is an issue of sales, customer service, billing or cancellation, the person you speak to first might not have the authority to negotiate. Whenever someone can’t or won’t help you with any purchase or problem, say, “OK, I understand you can’t help me. So, may I please speak with someone who can?”

4. Time it right

One trick to negotiating is understanding the other person’s business. For instance, at certain times of the year, clothing stores are eager to get rid of seasonal merchandise. Or, car dealers might push to meet an end-of-month quota.

Also remember that every salesperson is more attentive when business is slow, such as after the holidays or during summer doldrums. So, try to buy when other shoppers are staying home or keeping their wallets shut.

5. Pay with paper instead of plastic

Businesses can pay up to 3% in transaction costs when they accept a credit card for payment. If you’re paying cash, you deserve to take up to that much — or even more — off the purchase price.

6. Don’t fear awkwardness

If you have little experience haggling, don’t sell yourself short just because it feels weird. You’re not being a cheapskate, and the other party isn’t going to hate you.

Don’t get flustered by a momentary silence, and don’t be afraid to pause and think. In fact, silence can be a bargaining tool. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson worked in securities sales for 10 years. He says:

“In any negotiation, make an offer, then shut up. Wait 10 minutes in silence if you have to. Because more often than not, the next person to speak loses.”

7. Be friendly

Being aggressive only works when you’re in the superior position. If you lack power — which you do when trying to negotiate something like a discounted hotel room — play nice. Rude customers are the rule for most people in customer service.

So, be the exception. Smile, be patient, make a joke. Nobody wants to help a jerk, but everyone wants to do a favor for a friend.

8. Be firm

Being nice doesn’t mean rolling over. If you’re a steady customer, don’t be shy about pointing that out. Your loyalty should be worth something. And if not, your future business definitely is.

9. Be persistent

Stacy’s rule is to ask three times:

“When I go into a hotel, I ask for a discount. If they say no, I say, ‘Are you sure there’s not some special rate you can give me?'” If they still say no, then I use my fallback. I smile big and say, ‘Well, you can at least give me the Elvis suite for the same price, right?’ They invariably laugh, and almost invariably give me the best deal they possibly can.”

10. Go for extras

If the price is non-negotiable, don’t give up. There are other ways to sweeten a deal, such as:

  • A free upgrade
  • A future discount
  • Free shipping
  • Free delivery
  • Free installation

Sometimes, businesses are already prepared to offer these concessions, because they’re cheaper than dropping the price but still make customers happy.

For more on saving, check out the “15 Golden Rules for Saving on Every Purchase.”

Do you have more tips for becoming a better haggler? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes
5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes

Here’s how to keep Uncle Sam’s mitts away from your nest egg.

Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts
Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts

Protecting a nest egg is tough — but you can make the situation far worse with some boneheaded mistakes.

9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind
10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind

Here’s how to change those bad behaviors.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

Do This With Your Mask Before Thanksgiving Dinner
Do This With Your Mask Before Thanksgiving Dinner

Before you sit down at the year’s biggest feast, make sure to properly care for your mask.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash
8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash

Sometimes, the humblest household items are worth the most money.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.