Saturday Steals: Haggling (the basics)

Welcome to Saturday Steals! I’m so glad you could join me on this money-saving venture. Below is my own Saturday Steal (a bit different than my usual formula), and below that is the link list for your own posts. Please feel free to take part in the stealing conversation!

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When I was in high school, my grandpa imparted on me this profound piece of advice:

“Camille,” he said, “CASH TALKS. Having cash is a great bargaining tool. Say, for example, you go into a store to buy a dress and it costs $50. If you buy it with a credit card, you just have to pay $50 and whatever interest you accrue until you pay it off. BUT, if you have cash, you can tell the salesgirl that you’ll pay $30 CASH for the dress right then and there, and she’ll accept your offer every time. Cash talks.”

My grandpa was a smart man, to be certain, but I think shopping had changed since the fifties. I never did try to take a handful of one dollar bills into the Gap and see if they would give me a discount just because I had the cash—I somehow assumed that wouldn’t really fly with Old Man Gap.

Still, despite the fact that haggling in 2004 had changed since he was a young whippersnapper, my grandpa did have a good point. In the case of bigger purchases, like vehicles or real estate or home improvement tradespeople, cash does talk.

And in such cases, when it is appropriate to bargain, let it be known that I AM NOT AFRAID TO HAGGLE.

I was born and conditioned to haggle (hello—my mother was the daughter of a man who thought taking cash to the mall would get you deals). We are a haggling bunch. I haggle anywhere it seems even mildly acceptable, from yard sales to car lots. I’m not scared. According to my grandma (the wife of the man who thought taking cash to the mall would save him money), haggling is really like earning money. How fast can you make a hundred dollars, she asks. The worst thing they can do is say no, and with any luck, they’ll say yes. HOW FAST CAN YOU MAKE A HUNDRED DOLLARS?

That’s my mentality.

(Kyle, on the other hand, REFUSES to haggle. He HATES it. He thinks it’s tacky and rude and embarrassing and awkward. How we ever ended up married the world will never know.)

Case in point: the posted asking price of our Jetta ended in $500. I, being well-versed in the art of buying and selling used vehicles, know very well that the $500 tacked on to the back of the main number is really a bargaining tool for car sellers. It says to all the savvy business people out there: HEY, BUDDY, THIS FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS IS NEGOTIABLE. They only tack it onto the back on the chance that some sucker—like my poor shy husband, Kyle—will come along and be too afraid to offer five hundred dollars lower, in which case, bonus for the seller, because they totally would have taken less.

At any rate, when the time came to make an offer on our Jetta, I gave my husband a pep talk: Okay, honey, you can do this. It’s easy. Just offer him what we talked about. Worst-case scenario, he’ll say no and make a counter offer. Best case, he’ll accept it and we will have saved ourselves a month’s payment! It’s not like he’ll be so offended by our offer that he’ll say, “No I WON’T accept it, and you hurt my feelings so bad that I won’t even sell it to you for ANY price now!” That’s not how it works. C’mon, babe—how fast can you make five hundred dollars? [Grandma would be proud.] YOU CAN DO IT!

(Just in case you’re wondering why I didn’t make the offer myself, it’s because I sometimes have to be gentle with Kyle’s tender little ego. That’s all; I’m sure you understand.)

Anyway, he made the offer and the seller accepted it without hesitation, confirming my theory that he never really expected to get that extra five hundred bucks in the first place.

Let this be a lesson to you: haggling, in the right time and under the right circumstances (by the way, I don’t like haggling in third world countries because if I can’t pay $5.00 for a pair of leather flip flops when that vendor could subsist on $5.00 for several days, then I shouldn’t be buying flip flops [but if you haggle in such situations, I won't judge; I, the queen of misers, know how tempting it can be]), is definitely a worthwhile habit to develop, and can lead to a lifetime of amazing steals.

Just do it.

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Now it’s your turn! Publish your own steals and add the link to your post  (not your entire blog, but the specific post of your steal) in the list below. It doesn’t have to be a steal you stole recently—it can be a recollection of an ancient steal or an anticipation of a future deal. You could even do like me and share your favourite tips for steals. The possibilities are endless!

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About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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3 Responses to Saturday Steals: Haggling (the basics)

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  3. jami says:

    I loved bargaining in China. It is part of their culture…and I’m not even making that up to make myself feel better! I totally got riped off in the beginning. But I learned and became good.

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