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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

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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