How to Bargain in a Slow Economy

You should never pay full price unless you absolutely have to.  With the economy in a slow period there are more deals to be had.  I present some tips on how to bargain.

Be Nice

Don’t set out to offend anyone.  I have a hard time doing this with car salesmen.  🙂  Seriously, show your appreciation for the product, whatever it is.  Merchants will reward you if they think you might be back and if the selling process is pleasant.

Buy Three, Get One Free?

If you are buying several items, ask whether you can get one more thing for free or at least at a discounted price.  Even if you intend to get more items, start bargaining with less and see if you can get a deal on the remaining items.

Cash is King

I don’t do much shopping at these, but apparently small, independent stores and boutiques will often agree to waive the sales tax if you pay cash.

Look at the Sale Rack

Go straight to the sales rack.  If you find something you like, ask for an even better price.  They’re trying to move these items fast and will be more prone to lower the price versus something on the regular racks.  Look for items with duplicates available.

Timing is Everything

Late in the season and late in the day are your rules of thumb here.  Apparently, sales people and managers would be more prone to give you a deal later in the day, when they’re looking to boost their commission.  And, it’s a good idea to buy your winter coat in the spring.

Always Ask

Simply ask (remember, nicely!).  There are sometimes deals or coupons you might not be aware of, or that might not be advertised in the store.  Some deals you may not even need the coupon for.  Find the nearest sales person or manager and find out what the deals are.

Loyalty Counts

As a regular customer, you’ve earned the right to ask for a deal every now an then.  Most retailers will offer these up first.  If they haven’t, be sure and ask.

What are your best tips for bargaining?

Source: latimes.com
Photo: by wili hybrid

Last Edited: May 12, 2010 @ 2:18 pmThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Do your research. Know what items cost in several places before you try to bargain. Then you’ll know how far you can push. Plus, the “I saw this for X dollars at Y store” is a GREAT line to use.

    Another of my FAVORITES is actually a combination of two of Dave Ramsey’s suggestions: the phrase “that’s not good enough” and then SHUT UP. Close my mouth. It seems that sales people can’t STAND silence, so they’ll run at the mouth until you give them some indication to stop… usually lowering their prices by quite a bit in the process just to get the sale!

  2. Great ideas, Damsel. I like it.

  3. Kelly from My Small Cents says:

    The best is ‘it never hurts to ask’- I use this with everything!

  4. Tip: Haggle for half the price

    We have a place in our country called Divisoria wherein you could buy cheap goods. You could even haggle half the price.

    haggling is just a matter of psychology. My friend is very good at it. The vendor will state the price then my friend will ask for a 50% off. Surprisingly, sometimes the vendor indeed sell their goods for half the price.

    When the vendor thinks that you are a tourist, they will stake the price too high 🙁 so haggle haggle haggle

  5. Great tips. It’s true that you must always ask. Even when stores aren’t having sales, if you ask, they might give you a small discount.

  6. @Paris…yes, away from the US the haggling is to be expected. It’s a little harder to get away with here unless the item is already on sale or defective.

    @bunny…thanks for your comment. Like you say…it doesn’t hurt to ask.