How to haggle

Caroline Cassidy

While we might give it a try on holiday abroad, we Brits aren't quite so ready to haggle here in the UK. But it's not just Moroccan bazaars where you can grab yourself a sizeable discount - with these tips, you might just bag a bargain on the high street too.

how to haggle
how to haggle

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Choose your product
It's possible to haggle a discount on any product but there are items that might give you a better result. Look out for any flaws - even that tiny dent in your new fridge can save you money, and you'll still be covered if anything goes wrong with the product while it's within warranty.

Alternatively look for items that are already being sold with a discount. Sale items, online promotions or obsolete products often mean there is more flexibility when it comes to haggling as the salesperson will not be determined to earn their commission on the full-priced item. This can be particularly effective towards the end of a sale, as shops are keen to make room for new stock.

And if you are shy when it comes to haggling, try getting a free add-on instead of knocking the price down.

Bulk buy
Buying in bulk is often a great way to get a sizeable discount. On smaller items, it might mean stocking up on more than you need, provided you know they'll get used, but another useful tip is to club together with friends or family who are looking to buy a similar item. The more business they're getting, the more likely the salesperson is to offer a hefty chunk off the full price.

Do your research
Thanks to the internet, it's now possible to research prices, promotions and offers on almost any product. And this provides shoppers with a handy bargaining tool. Even if your chosen high street store doesn't advertise a price-matching policy, they will likely be keen to beat their competitors to the business, so know what's available where and at what price so that you have a starting point for your proposed discount. It's even possible to play high street stores off against each other without having to walk more than a few paces.

Choose your moment
Timing is everything when it comes to bagging the best bargains... and that doesn't necessarily mean queuing up for the Boxing Day sales. In fact, according to Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, doing the opposite is often the best way to haggle down the price. Grab those Christmas-packaged products in January, and get your non-seasonal products, like lawnmowers or barbecues, during the winter, and vice versa.

Mr Lewis also suggests that timing your haggling trip to coincide with the company's financial or month-end will give you the upper hand, with the last Saturday of the month a big day for bargains. But don't be tempted to try during peak shopping hours - sales staff will be far more willing to negotiate when they haven't got buyers queuing up for assistance.

Finally, it's all in the style
Just as a good salesperson gets his patter down to a fine art, a good haggler works a friendly, polite and even flirtatious angle. Don't be tempted to go in hard - aggressive haggling is to sales staff what the hard-sell is to shoppers. And last but not least, don't be afraid to walk away. There's always another shop to try. After all, what have you got to lose?

If you need any further encouragement to begin your haggling career, research by Money Saving Expert found that Comet was the best high street store in which to go for a bargain price, with a 78 per cent success rate, with B&Q, Currys and PC World, Homebase, John Lewis and Asda all featuring in the top 10.

Are you a keen haggler? What are your top tips for bagging a bargain? Leave your comments below...