How to haggle your way to a better deal

When cash is tight, haggling to get a better deal from anyone from a retailer, to a travel agent or mobile phone company can help you to get considerably more for your money.

So we've come up with a haggling guide that should help you pay less for everything from holidays to clothes and household goods.

So read on to find out how to become an expert haggler.

Haggling for beginners

The first rule of successful haggling is to do your research before approaching a salesman or company for a better deal.

Find out how much their main rivals are charging for the same goods or services, and check how much the same or similar items go for online.

This is the information that will provide you with the basis of your haggling armoury.

When talking to the individual you want to help you with a discount or better deal, you should also be confident, polite and friendly.

Having the information outlined above to hand will help to prevent you being intimidated by the process, but it is important to remember that you are the one asking for a favour here.

If things do not go your way at first, it is vital to keep your cool. Few salesmen will bend the rules to help you out if you get angry or make a scene.

And be prepared to walk away if the deal you want is not on offer.

When haggling over the price of a used car, for example, taking half an hour to "think it over" can prove the difference between paying the price you want and giving in to their demands.

Finally, remember that haggling can take a while, so you are likely to have to invest some of your time to get the best deal.

What else should I know?

Different industries require different haggling techniques.

If, for example, you are after discounts or upgrades on travel and holiday accommodation, the chances of your success depend very much on how much the company in question needs the business.

A number of the large travel agents have a flexible approach to pricing, so you may be able to get a discount on a package deal if their sales figures for that week are down.

At a hotel, on the other hand, you are more likely to get a discount or an upgrade if you walk in on the day and ask for the best price.

Haggling on mobile phone contracts can also get you a decent discount, especially if you suggest you are considering leaving the company.

Most providers have dedicated "retention teams" that will often offer you extras such as free text messages or a new handset in a bid to make you stay.

When buying a specialist item, such as an electronic gadget, try smaller, independently run stores.

These will often offer discounts or upgrades to those who make a number of purchases at the same time.

In larger stores, the best way to get a good deal is to give the retailer a reason to knock the price down.

This could be the classic line about it being cheaper elsewhere, although you will need research to back this up, or you could ask if you could take the display model for a discounted price.

If an item of clothing you would like to buy is damaged, then you are well within your rights to ask for 10% or even 20% off.

And if you are making a big-ticket purchase, always ask if any installation and warranty costs can be thrown in for free.
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