12 Days of money-saving: pay less for everything

car bargainKlaus OhlenschlÀger/DPA/Press Association Images

It sounds ridiculously simplistic, but often the secret to getting a better deal is just to ask for it. In the current market everyone from ebay sellers to car salesmen and even high street shops are incredibly keen to make every sale they can. It means that increasingly they are willing to do a great deal for the skilled haggler.

So we have the five secrets of haggling your way to a bargain


1. Start with the research

Before you can go anywhere near a salesperson, you need to be certain of a handful of key things. You need to know exactly what you want. Knowing you need a TV is not enough. You need to think about all the features you really need - how big should it be? Does it need to be HD? Do you need an internet TV? If you don't work this out, you can find yourself paying for things you don't need.

Once you know what you need, do an internet search to work out what it should cost. You're looking for the cheapest possible online price, and that's the highest price you should accept from the store.

2. Bide your time

This is tricky, but you need to take the time to talk to the salesperson. Let them show you a few models and their features, and build a rapport with them. Don't start talking figures until you have taken the time to persuade them to take you seriously.

They may even let something slip about whether they are expecting a new model soon, or whether they have lots on stock, which you can use to your advantage later.

3. Take care when talking numbers

You need to go in positively. Don't say something like 'I don't suppose you can do me a deal', say something like 'what kind of deal can you do in order to get me to buy right now?' You need to be polite, but that's not the same as being a doormat.

Don't give away your maximum budget, and don't be afraid to go in nice and low. You won't insult them - as long as you're not asking for more than a 30% discount - and if you go in too high you'll never know how much you could have saved.

It's also worth making use of uncomfortable silences. You'll be surprised how a nice long pause will persuade people to come further in your direction.

4. Know when to give up

If you aren't getting anywhere, and you're feeling pressurised by a salesperson, you need to walk away. Don't feel embarrassed, and don't feel you have to buy in that store. The high street is a big place - someone will cut you a deal.

5. Don't forget the extras

If you can get someone to match your best online price and go no further, you can ask them to throw in some extras to seal the deal.

You may be able to get accessories for the product, or an extended warranty, which isn't quite the same as £50 off the price, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
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