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May 19, 2005 Issue

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Vol. 11, May 19, 2005

Here is the latest issue. Enjoy.
Editor, Rick Doble

    Intense media interest
    What costs are negotiable
    Price is not the only thing to negotiate
    What do you say?
    How much do you offer?
    Who do you negotiate with?
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Over the last several months I have conducted six interviews on the subject of haggling, bargaining, and negotiating prices. Since this seems to be a hot topic, I have decided to devote the next two newsletters to this.

I think the reason that people are interested in haggling over prices today, is that they realize prices are often not fixed but flexible. For example, the price for airline tickets can vary $50 or $100 in a day. On eBay and other web sites there are no fixed prices.

While no one would want to bargain over the price of every item in a supermarket cart or at Wal-Mart, you can actually negotiate some very good deals at these stores. In fact there are very few stores or businesses where you cannot negotiate, given the right circumstances. Read on below about the nuts and bolts of getting a great deal for the asking.

Read our full online series of articles about haggling:

Here is a list of the media that have conducted interviews with Savvy-Discounts.com about haggling:
== Coming soon:
An article in First For Women
== The News Journal - Delaware
April 25, 2005
Rewriting the price tag
== The News Gazette - Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Not everything's negotiable, but it's worth a try
Published Online April 17, 2005
== The Washington Post, January 23, 2005
A Happy Medium of Exchange Liberal Return Policies Cut the Risk of Trying Grocery Store Brands
== The Arizona Republic, Jan. 10, 2005
The cycle of sales
== The Seattle Times, January 04, 2005
Smiles and smarts: the art of haggling
Haggling reprinted in: The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune, The Monterey County Herald, The Arizona Republic, The Canton Repository, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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Some items are usually negotiable such as high priced products like houses, cars, furniture and mattresses. You should always haggle over the price of a hotel room, used items, and just about anything sold in a classified ad. In addition the price for any product on a close-out shelf or that has been discontinued or was a floor model or demonstrator can often be bargained down. At supermarkets, any food that is about to go out of date can usually be bought at a substantial discount if you know how to ask.

The basic rule of thumb is that it never hurts to ask. You may be able to negotiate a bit, for example, over the interest rate on a certificate of deposit at a bank (CD) depending on the size of your deposit. The more you buy from one company, the more you will be able to haggle.


It is also very important to recognize that price is not the only bargaining tool. If you can get the business to give you something for free, this may be easier for them than dropping the price. For example, if you buy an air conditioner, you might be able to get a free delivery and/or a free disposal of your old unit more easily than a discount on the price of the AC itself. I have found that freebies often fit better with the company's accounting system. At a hotel you can ask for a variety of free things such as: a continental breakfast, full breakfast, room upgrade, late checkout etc.

See our list of ways to cut your budget with no extra work or change in lifestyle
Cut budget 5000 dollars a year



So how do you start? With the AC mentioned above, you might say "How about throwing in the delivery for free?" With hotel rooms, I often ask a very general question such as "Don't you have a special this time of year?" since hotels are always running specials. For just about any situation, you can say "Is this the lowest you can go?" or "Is this your very lowest price on this?" or "Is this the best you can do? Can't you give me a better price on this?" Sometimes the best response to any offer made is to say nothing; the seller may just keep dropping the price because you have not responded.


The more you know about a fair price or the range of prices available for a product or service, the better the deal you can get. For example when negotiating for a used car, you can do a bit of research to find what a comparable car would go for. When you inspect the used car you are considering, take the lowest price you have seen and then subtract any work that must be done. For example, the seller might ask $5000 for a car which you have seen selling for $4500. In addition the car you want to buy will need a new set of tires and a brake job. So you would tell the seller that the highest you could go would be about $4000 ($4500 minus $500 for the tires and brakes). When the seller objects, make him or her come down a lot while you go up a bit. For example, if they say they'll sell it for $4600, you counter with $4100. Eventually you settle on $4250.

If you have seen items for sale in the past, offer the old sale price. For example, if a clothes washer was on sale for $250 in February and is now $300, offer $250 or a bit less and then settle on $250. If you are buying a floor model or scratch-and-dent furniture, offer 30%-40% less than the current price.

At yard sales often you can often name your own price. If the family is moving, for example, they would rather sell a couch for any price than have to dispose of it. At the end of a day, at a yard sale, buyers can often make a flat very low offer for everything that is left.


When negotiating with a business, make sure that you are talking to a person who has the authority to bargain with you. If they will not haggle, there is a good chance that they do not have the authority.

At a grocery store, for example, you can negotiate with the manager of a department, but rarely with anyone else. So if you ask the manager of the diary department to mark down milk that is about to go out of date, you may be able to get 90% off. The manager of the fruit department can mark down overripe fruit. The manager of the meat department can mark down cuts that are about to go out of date.

Read our online article about negotiating 50-90% off at grocery stores

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