By: Kirsten Petriches
Prices are an interesting part of life as they serve to tell us, as consumers, how much we ought to pay for a certain good or service. However, they aren’t always set in stone. In fact, they are often far from concrete. Whether there be sales or coupons that can change the price, or the opportunity to actually negotiate (haggle) for a better price, you can almost always buy something for less than its asking price. The question is, when and how do you haggle? That's what I’m here for.
Buying a Vehicle:
Purchasing a vehicle is one of the best opportunities to haggle prices in order to save a lot of money; however, it is also one of the most difficult. Car salespeople know what they are doing and they are pretty darn good at it!
The single most important thing a consumer can do when haggling with a car salesperson is to be prepared. There are three main things you should know before you walk into the dealership.
Finally, If you don’t understand something, or if something feels off, ask questions. Demand thorough explanations. It never hurts to ask, but it can hurt to not know.
Getting a Mortgage for Your Home:
Purchasing a home is a huge investment, but did you know you can often haggle on costs throughout the process? With a high credit score, you have a strong case in negotiating a lower interest rate. Always look out for processing fees or closing fees that you can haggle to be lowered or completely eliminated. Some examples include: application fee, appraisal fee, credit report fee, wire transfer fee, document preparation fee, underwriting fee, loan processing fee, mortgage rate lock fee, etc. Bonus tip: the same goes for title fees – some of those fees can be haggled away as well!
The best way to ensure you get the best deal is to request a “good faith estimate” from the mortgage lender. This is a document that will outline all the costs associated with securing a mortgage through them. You can even request this from more than one company and compare!
Real Estate Services:
Also related to the home purchasing or selling process is the use of real estate agents who charge a certain percentage as commission. The percent that you will pay them can be negotiated, however do keep in mind that sometimes you get what you pay for, so don't be too cheap in this regard. Certain situations provide plenty of ammo for the consumer to negotiate:
Buying A House:
You can most certainly haggle when buying a house – actually, you will likely have to! Your realtor can help walk you through this (unless you haggled your realtor too low and he/she hates you now) but there are a few important considerations when haggling during the home buying process.
Always, always, always try to haggle prices related to weddings. So many of these companies jack up the prices so much simply because it’s for a wedding. You could even get super sneaky and have services such as catering, flowers, make-up, etc. quoted out “for an event” rather than “for a wedding.” They may push you to find out more about the event and may even get angry if they find out it’s for a wedding later, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Just be aware that there are huge-mark ups in this industry so you, as the consumer, carry some power to haggle prices.
This is worth its own post, which will come in time, but I wanted to be sure to remind you to always haggle (professionally speaking, negotiate) when it comes to your salary. If you don't do this, you are losing out on money that was probably
You can often haggle the hourly rate or costs associated with obtaining legal services. Keep in mind any work that may be done by an associate or a legal aid instead of the primary lawyer. Also pay attention to make sure you are not being billed for inflated hours.
Furniture & Electronics:
I’m putting these together not because they are related in any way physically, but rather the haggling technique is similar! The price tags on these types of items can be haggled a bit, particularly when the salesperson is commission-based; however, where the real haggle-worthy tip comes into play is the approach of focusing on floor or display models. You can typically haggle the price more if you are purchasing the display model in either of these categories. Also look for cosmetic damage or dings that can knock even more off the price. You certainly don’t want to pay for a product that isn’t high quality, but a scratch on a couch or a ding on the back of a TV can save you lots of money if they don’t bother you!
Some people have the luxury of super amazing health insurance that leaves them with zero worries or care about their medical bills. Then, there is the rest of us. If you have high deductibles or not great coverage, consider having a conversation with your medical service provider as you may be able to haggle prices. Let them know your situation and see what/how they can work with you. If you already had a procedure done and are having trouble with the bill, you can also try to haggle the price afterwards. Keep in mind, they would rather get SOME money than no money or have to deal with going through collections. You could offer to pay 30 or 40 percent of the cost if they are willing to write-off the rest. It’s a risk and they may say “no”, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
Especially if you are at a department store with salespeople who make commission, you may be able to haggle on prices. They may not be able to arbitrarily change the price tag, but they may have access to secret coupons or discounts that they can extend to you if they think they will lose the sale.
Many prices will be set in stone, but you can certainly haggle service fees or even the type of services you are getting. It is common to go in for a simple part or fix and have several additional service suggestions made to you. Haggling with auto repair may be more about haggling over what services you really need and what can wait. Be honest about your situation and push them to really tell you what you need today to safely drive your vehicle and what can wait.
The “Necessities” of Life:
Of course I’m talking about insurance, cable, internet, etc. There will always be a competitor with a lower price or better deal – use it as leverage. Always know the “going rate” and if you are paying too much, call and haggle for a better price. Make sure you are equipped with the proper information and accurate comparisons because you may just haggle yourself out of your current service! I once called my cable company threatening to switch to a competitor who was offering x, y, and z. They said “ok, sorry to see you go, I will cancel your account right away.” Oops! I still ended up saving money so it was fine, but I wasn’t actually prepared for that response!
Credit Card and Banking costs/fees/interest:
Especially if you are a loyal customer with a positive track record, you can haggle for lower interest rates, lower fees, or forgiveness on late payments. Credit card limits are also haggle-worthy and if done correctly can even help increase your credit score! (Be careful: higher credit limits do not mean you need to spend more and max out your card!).
Now that you know some of the things that you can haggle, let’s explore some tips to help you successful complete “the haggle”.