Maybe you slept in on Black Friday simply unable to muster the will to battle hundreds of other people storming the gates of the local WalMart. Perhaps you are waiting for your next paycheck in December before you start searching for good deals. Or, maybe – just maybe – you believe retailers will cut costs even further because they NEED to liquidate their inventories before the end of the year.
No matter what the reason is, the goal for many is clear: Purchase as many presents as possible for the lowest possible cost. If you are in that crowd, here are some hints for being more than a bargain hunter; we’re talking about becoming a savvy buyer.
You may not think that the local appliance store is willing to go down from the printed sales price, but you would be surprised what a failing economy does to salespeople. If you have knowledge on your side (like what the competitors are selling the same item for), you can get them to come down on prices, add extended warranties, deliver for free, install for free, etc. In addition to these, don’t forget the freebies.
Be willing to walk away
Don’t be afraid to be difficult. If you don’t get the deal you want, tell them you are going to leave. This works even better when you cart is loaded with other purchases and you are willing to let all of those go because you don’t get the deal on what you really want.
Bring up competitors
This works well when you are looking at very competitive business – like car dealerships or electronics or even credit card companies who are pumping up your interest rate. If you are in a store, it works even better. If you say, “that other store was selling those same things for cheaper” loud enough, you’ll get all sorts of attention.
Cash, cash, cash
Not only should you bring cash for your purchases to keep you on your budget, you should tell the salesman you intend to pay with cash and thus save them the 3%-5% that Visa collects on each purchase. Some stores will drop the price simply because it’s a cash purchase. Another trick is to be sure you only bring as much cash as you are willing to spend. This will eliminate the possibility of you exceeding your budget. It also may help persuade a sales manager when you are haggling over the price of an item.
When in doubt, keep your hands in your pockets and keep your mouth shut. This will make the salesman dicker himself down on prices when you don’t seem happy with his initial offer. They may even divulge some juicy information, like the markup price or even if what your looking at is the best model. Remember, the sales person wants to make the sale more than you want to purchase it!
The Golden Rule! Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount
If all else fails, ask for a deal. There may be sales coming up you don’t know about, special pricing or even a coupon that the store has on hand. Even small bargains add up to big ones. “What else can you toss in” is a single sentence that can amount to some huge discounts or freebies.
These aren’t just holiday strategies; use them all year long and you can become a big-time bargainer. If you feel embarrassed or cheap by asking for discounts, remember that you are never going to see this salesperson again! You will however see your bank account balance for the rest of your life!