We all know to negotiate the price when we buy a car.
But how about other major purchases? Say, a big-screen TV, refrigerator or living room set?
Go for it.
“Nearly everything is negotiable,” says an article by J.J. Colao on Forbes.com.
Times are tight. Many people, including retailers, are hurting. So stores may be more receptive than ever to haggling over price.
Colao writes that savvy buyers can save up to 40 percent on big-ticket electronics if they negotiate.
“Go for floor models if possible,” he says. “Understand, too, that anything the store is willing to put on sale is ripe for negotiation.”
On jewelry purchases, buyers can save up to 30 percent with the right approach.
“Politely make a reasonable offer and be ready to walk away if employees don’t budge,” Colao writes. “Very often a higher-up will intercept before you walk out the door, ready to make a deal.”
People can also net big savings on professional services, such as legal fees, he says.
“Like MDs, lawyers would always rather get something than nothing, and these bills are often one good challenge away from a serious concession,” Colao writes. “Start by studying your legal bill carefully. Look for instances where the billable hours appear inflated or where associates and paralegals worked in lieu of a partner.”
Money expert recommends haggling
I first became aware of the possibility of negotiating on a wide range of purchases from money management guru Dave Ramsey, a bestselling author who hosts a syndicated radio program.
I took a financial seminar he hosts, and he says he rarely pays the stated price for anything.
“The first key to opening the door to huge bargains is learning to negotiate everything,” he wrote in the seminar workbook. “Don’t be afraid to ask for the deal!”
Ramsey urges people to use the line “that’s not good enough” when haggling. And he stresses that sellers often will take less money if you offer cash. He suggests literally pulling large bills out of your wallet and flashing them in front of the seller’s eyes.
“Cash has immediacy,” Ramsey writes in the workbook. “Cash is emotional and visual.”
Successful negotiating takes practice, he says. Most of us are reluctant to haggle on any purchase other than a car or house. But more people than we imagine, Ramsey says, routinely negotiate price – and save big money.
“I buy kitchen appliances, cars, clothes – everything – at a discount, simply because I have the nerve to ask,” Ramsey writes in his book Financial Peace Revisited. “You have to avoid getting buying fever. When you get the fever, you lose all patience and negotiating power.”
I actually enjoy buying a car. Some people can’t stand facing off with the salesman and making offers and counteroffers. But I think the back and forth is kind of fun.
Ramsey says we should see all buying as a game.
“You can have great fun in this area of getting great buys,” he writes in Financial Peace Revisited. “The more great buys you get, the more fun you will have, and the more confidence you will have in these principles.”
Don’t let the seller win. Don’t accept the first price that’s offered. Learn to offer less. Sometimes you’ll get a lower price, sometimes you won’t. But you’ll gain negotiating skill and confidence that will help you score bargains in the future.