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How to haggle: get the best price, best deals and bag a bargain

Updated on March 31, 2011

Haggle and save money

Not everybody can haggle like a Marrakesh Carpet Salesman, but with a handful of basic skills and pinch of self belief, you could start to save money everyday by haggling.

Lets take a look at some real world examples of how much money you can save by getting the best price, seeking the best deals and bagging yourself some bargains.

Haggling Savings

(click column header to sort results)
Haggling Technique   
Sticker Price   
Best Price   
TV and Games Console
Best Price and Multiple Purchase 
Pay now in Cash 
Leg of Lamb
Adding extra for free 
Laminate Flooring
Best Price on old stock
Paint, brushes and roller
Offer a price

Earnings vs Savings

How long would you have to work to earn $1000 or more like $1500 including taxes?

If Bill Gates is reading this that would be 5 seconds... way to go Bill.

You owe it to yourself to get the best price from your shopping and If haggling can save an average of 10% every time you buy something then that's like having a 15% pay rise.

Who in a recession is getting a 15% pay rise? Okay put your hand down Bill, (did someone say Bankers???)


Best haggling techniques

Ask for the best price

  • Sounds simple but how many times do we do this? In the TV example above, you can see the ticket price so just ask the salesman outright what's his best or lowest price.

Multiple Purchase

  • You can get a better price if you buy more. In the TV example the question was - I want a games console too, what's the best price for them both? If they stall then ask for them to throw in the cables and connectors for free. Bingo, deal done!

Pay in Cash - now!

  • High ticket items are very often sold on credit or loans which are a lot of trouble administratively. So after you have asked for the best price and then what they can throw in free (because you are not sure really, have to ask the boss/wife etc), the killer punch is to push them that bit further by asking how much for cash? That bulge in your pocket doesn't actually mean you are pleased to see them - it means they get their cash flow today - irresistible.

Old stock

  • If you see something has been reduced because they are getting rid, making space for new stock, then you can always ask them to knock off a bit more. It helps them get it out of the door. Like in our flooring example if you ask them to knock off a little per square yard then that multiplies up.

Offer a price

  • This is proper hard core, traditional haggling. Be polite but confident and know your bottom line. Always be prepared to walk away. The conversation will follow the line of -

          "How much for that?"


          "I'll give you $60"


          and so on.....

Spot the Fault

  • This is manna from heaven for even the most timid of hagglers. A loose button, an awkward stain, a small chip. Any imperfection or defect must be seized upon and waved like a giant discount banner in the face of the salesperson.

The Monty Python Guide to Expert Haggling


Advanced bargain bagging

Expert hagglers also employ lots of diversionary tactics designed to make the seller almost give it away.

Pursed lips

  • Plumbers are experts at this. For maximum effect suck air in through pursed lips and have an expression like you have chronic gas. You don't have to say anything, body language is your most eloquent friend in this situation.

Poker face - ask for more than you expect to get

  • Even if a salesperson's best deal is much more generous than you expected, keep a straight face and calmly and politely say "you will have to do better than that".

Don't act too interested - the walk away trick.

  • An old friend of mine was an expert at walking away, even after protracted negotiations she would just walk away. I've seen her do this five times with the one salesman. This is extreme haggling and only for the most accomplished, but it works. She's a millionaire now with her own very successful business. She was also from Yorkshire, but of course that doesn't mean anything!

Timing is everything

  • It's the week before Christmas, you are at the supermarket checkout, there are 50 people in the queue behind you - don't say "I'll give you sixty bucks for that lorry load of shopping."
  • Pick your moment, a busy shop, a hassled salesperson, not good really. Haggling is best done when the shop is quiet and the salesperson is gagging to get their quota in.

Be nice

  • Smile, engage in small talk - "Hi how are you? Good to get in here out of the rain/sun/snow?" Be charming but not smarmy or pushy. You want this person to help you out and no one wants to help a wise/hard/smart/lazy/kiss/dumb ass.

Be smart

  • Salespeople will use their full arsenal of tricks to make you pay the higest price, but remember you want the best price. You may get the old lip pursing used against you, folded arms, I'll have to ask my boss etc. Whatever they do or say you can subtly do it back. It's called mirroring.


Online Haggling

Even when shopping from the comfort of your armchair there are still opportunities to haggle.


I've had plenty of people 'making me an offer' to accept a pre-emptive bid and end the auction early. I've been tempted many times, especially if you are new or don't know your market and are desperate for cash! The gambler in me usually resists these approaches, but I'm sure they work.

Useful Haggling Phrases

Useful Haggling Phrases
What's your best price? 
Who do I speak to about a discount? 
My wife/husband/partner would kill me if I paid that much? 
My budget is...
Can you help me out here?
This is damaged, how much will you knock off?
I can get this cheaper at (store/internet)
If you throw in 'x' its a deal.
How much for cash?
Price Comparison Sites 

Know your enemy

Forewarned is forearmed.

You will have a much better chance of getting a good deal if you know the worth of what you want. Check out prices before you shop. This has never been easier. So much information is online these days. You can even get an App for a mobile phone which will take a picture of a barcode and come up with the best price online.

What chance does a salesperson have against that kind of technology, it's almost like cheating.


Haggling with the Money Saving Expert for the Best Deals

Remember - Haggling costs nothing!

Are you ready to give haggling a go?

Get ready for the best prices, the best deals and the most fun.

Are you a haggler?

Given the right opportunity would you try to haggle with a salesperson or seller?

See results


This hub was a prizewinner in the Personal Finance Hubpages competition.

Thanks for reading and remember to rate and/or recommend to your network.



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    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 4 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Good tactic, will have to try that. I agree! being prepared to walk away is the best mindset in haggling.

    • Hugh Morrison profile image

      Hugh Morrison 4 years ago from London, England

      We British are rather embarassed and reticent when it comes to haggling (as we are with most things). I find a low key approach works well. Act nonchalent and don't mention price until the salesperson is ready to 'close'. Always be ready to walk away. This works well at boot sales. When you do walk away, just do it slowly like you're wandering to the next stall. Then the stallholder has time to call you back with a better offer.

    • BennyTheWriter profile image

      BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      Funny how things work out, right? And a great few choice words you had. As they say, "you win some, you lose some"!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Cheers Benny - shameless is a good word. We are all a little too proud to haggle I think. If nothing else it can stimulate a bit of chat. I tried it yesterday in a shop, I'd bought 2 items and asked if I got a discount for buying 2 - "If you buy 200 maybe" was the reply. "Well if you don't ask you don't get" was my reply, which got a laugh and I've found is always universally accepted as a reasonable ploy.

    • BennyTheWriter profile image

      BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      Excellent hub on haggling! You sometimes have to be shameless to get the best deal...but then again, once you get into the spirit, it's great fun. And you can't beat the notion of having a few more dollars in your pocket!

      Very well-done hub, my friend. Rated up and shared!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      thanks denise

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Johnny, great hub. Congrats on your win. :)

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      raelstore - false beard for the wife, cracks me up every time! Thanks for reading.

      Kurt - Any scheme that gets a beter deal for the custumer is good by me. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Kurt Gross 6 years ago

      Wow, these tips are great! Who do I pay for them?

      Only kidding, but really, there are some nice ideas here. Really gets the mind going.

      My business is about helping local merchants give 50% - 90% discount offers to our coupon customers, yet there are things here that I've not seen or heard of before.

      Thanks for the ideas.

      If I can do anything to help, let me know. We are looking for people to help us in many locations right now, USA only for now, but we'll be adding other localities in other countries real soon, so let me know if my system can help.

      And, if you'll brag, er ah, mention this site and the tip you gave, I'll toss in something a little extra for you.


      Kurt in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

    • rafaelstore profile image

      rafaelstore 6 years ago from Kyle, TX

      Enjoyed reading this hub. The Monty Python clip was classic!


    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Geek - It's like a kid asking for ice cream, you just have to keep asking!!

    • classicalgeek profile image

      classicalgeek 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your win! One of my friends has gotten amazing deals because she has only one sentence in her arsenal: "Is that your best price?" I have seen her use it six times in succession with the same salesperson, and until the last time, the price has come down each and every time!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      thanks k9 appreciate it

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      Johnny~ great work here buddy. Congrats on your staff pick win. Your advice on haggling tips are some of the best I have read! Thanks for sharing your secrets.


    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Thats great Judy, let me know if you bag a bargain!

    • Judy HBerg profile image

      Judy HBerg 6 years ago

      Way to go on a well written hub and congrats on the win Johnny.

      Thanks for the tips and know that I appreciate them as I am not the most confident when it comes to haggling and after reading your hub I now think I may actually have a shot at it!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Thanks for reading Ocean and Analana I think some of these topics can be a bit dry if you don't make room for a little humour

    • Analana profile image

      Analana 6 years ago

      Great hub! I like the way you write - informative with a touch of humor.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks for sharing this information on haggling to get the best deal. Congratulations on your win in the financial contest for this hub!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Michael - thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it.

      Perl - Good to hear you are going to give it a go. If you get some good deals let me know!

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 6 years ago from Bangalore,India

      This really is exciting! Wonderfully presented info I can use. Congrats too!

    • Michael Jay profile image

      Michael Jay 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your win, Johnny! This is truly a great hub filled with comprehensive information. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      akirchener - many thanks. As a Brit it kinda goes against the grain to haggle, but it can be a load of fun. Particularly at car boot sales it's amazing how tight people can be, someone can ask 50p for something and you get an offer of 25p, jeeze!

      Jill - thank you, I guess we could all do with being more cheeky when it comes to haggling - you never know what the reply might be!

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Congrats on your win!!! I love to haggle for the best price whenever I can...a lesson taught to me well by my mom. I think it is funny now when my fiancé will go to pay the sticker price on things when it is not necessary! lol

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Congrats on the win Johnny - wow - that was really comprehensive! I think I'm more of a barterer than a haggler myself!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      thanks for the comment runrchic1 - good luck with the saving

    • runrchic1 profile image

      runrchic1 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is a great hub and perfect for those looking to save (like I am).