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Want it cheaper? How to haggle effectively

Want it cheaper? How to haggle effectively
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Craig Johnson |
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We have yet to meet a person who is uncomfortable with saving money, but there are a lot of people who agonize about putting forth the effort to do so. One of the easiest ways to keep more of your hard-earned money is to practice the art of haggling.

There are numerous reasons why people are afraid to haggle for a better price, but one of the main ones is that many liken it to begging. But it’s not the same thing: According to the dictionary, begging is to humbly ask or earnestly plead someone about something, while to haggle, in our context, is more akin to negotiating or bargaining with someone.

How to haggle: The key to getting what you want for less

Money expert Clark Howard says he is a big fan of haggling – because it really does save you money. He says consumers don’t know the power they have in simply asking retailers to work out a deal.

One of the main obstacles for consumers is confidence: Most shoppers will talk themselves out of a deal before they even try, he says.

“The most important thing is don’t ever negotiate with yourself,” Clark says. “Don’t say, ‘I just can’t afford that’ before you’ve found out if you can get a bargain.”

Clark says people seem to have no problem haggling over the Internet, so it’s a good place to get your sea legs, so to speak.

“Go on your smartphone, get online and see what some other people [and stores] are selling an item for.” The reasons are twofold, he adds. “That gives you the confidence first, and second, people are really having great success with haggling on the internet, so once you see that if you just make an offer online, people will match it, that will help you.”

Another key to haggling successfully is to come to the store or your online retailer fully prepared. In other words, you should always comparison shop before you haggle. It’s the only way to know what kind of deal to make or accept. “That’s because haggling is really much more about price-matching, rather than ‘Can you do better?” Clark says.

A quick way to put your haggling skills to use

Here’s a quick way to put your haggling skills to use: Many retailers have cheaper prices online than in-store, so the next time you’re buying something, pull out your smartphone and see if the item costs less on the company’s website. If it does, inform the cashier or manager.

In some cases, you may even have to show them your computer screen, but you’ll save money in the end.

And that’s one of the best uses of a smartphone we can think of.

RELATED: Why the average consumer has more than $6,300 in credit card debt

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