Haggling used to be commonplace when shopping, and while it has lost popularity in the United States, some countries still practice haggling in the marketplaces and shops. Your average American really only haggles for big things like cars, homes, and occasionally wages. However, anyone who has been to a farmer’s market or an open-air flea market knows that haggling is still going strong in some areas. In fact, I would say that haggling is one of the frugal person’s most valuable skills.
At its core, haggling is basically just coming to a mutual agreement on what an item is worth. It’s part science, but also something of an art form and is very dependent on how well you deal with people. Regardless, there are some basic haggling tricks to keep in mind next time you’re trying to get a better deal on tomatoes in the farmer’s market.
1. Be confident
When you’re haggling, it’s important to be confident in what you’re asking. Remember that you don’t have to buy whatever it is you’re haggling over–you probably don’t need the item, no matter how cool it is. You don’t have to spend the money, but the vendor sure wants you to. This puts you in a position of power when it comes to haggling–you can walk away at any time.
2. Have a poker face
Whether you’re haggling over something that you might have a use for or an item you’ve been wanting for years, make sure to keep your cool. There’s a fine line to tread: you don’t want to look like you don’t care at all, but it can be a bad idea to let them know how interested you are. Some vendors will raise the price if you obviously want it. Be cautious.
3. Be friendly
Despite what it might seem like, haggling shouldn’t be aggressive or rude. Be sociable and polite to the vendor when you’re initiating the haggling and any interactions. You might be trying to get the best price, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it. On the same vein, don’t let them bully you into spending more than you want either.
4. Be patient
Generally speaking, the person who initiates the haggling is at a slight disadvantage because there’s no indication of what the other party is thinking. You may end up paying more if you start with a higher offer than the buyer expected, or vice versa. Additionally, haggling isn’t something that can really be sped up, so be patient and enjoy the process.
5. Think beyond the dollar
Remember that money isn’t always the only thing you can use to sweeten the deal. Consider trying to bundle multiple items together in the deal, or see if there is some item or service you can provide to lower the price.
6. Know the value
The most important thing is to know not only the value of whatever it is you’re buying, but also what you’re willing to pay. Have a set amount in mind and don’t go over that price.