How to haggle for the best deals

Almost 70 per cent of us are too embarrassed to haggle. We'll barter away in a Moroccan bazaar yet when it comes to our high street, our British reserve kicks in and we think it's rude to haggle so pay full price, missing out on savings of £415 a year, according to TopCashback

Shopping savers

To seal a deal on the high street, research prices online before you go and take them with you. Go on a Monday or in the evening when it's quieter. Speak to the person who has the authority to give you a deal and treat any negotiation like a friendly conversation. See if you can get a freebie thrown in, such as free delivery or an accessory. If they say no, remind them how much you’re about to spend and hint the freebie's a deal breaker.

Showroom tactics

We tend to be better at wrangling with large amounts of money. When buying a car, Sainsbury's Bank says a dealer will be expect you to haggle and advises going in the quieter winter months when showrooms are trying to make monthly sales quotas. Never reveal your maximum spend, keep excitement in check and make it clear you are happy to walk away. Again, try to get something extra thrown in.

Household haggling

Where we need to improve our negotiation skills is getting a good deal with our insurance policies, mobile phone, TV, broadband and utility contracts. Research cheaper deals using comparison websites and tell your provider what they have to beat. Many companies, will take a 'second look', wanting to keep your custom. Threatening to go elsewhere can be very effective. Just one phone call can massively improve your deal, saving you tens or sometimes hundreds of pounds. You don't know the person on the other end so you can be as brazen as you like, but always be polite!

Tip: Compare broadband, digital TV and home phone deals using Yours Switching Phone & Broadband (0800 083 4311) and to save on your energy bills, contact Yours Switching Energy (0800 008 7777).

4 winning ways to haggle

  1. Houses – remember the advertised price is an asking price, not fixed so offer below it. Be prepared to have the offer refused to kick off negotiations. If the estate agent asks for your final price, be evasive. Hint you've seen similar properties at lower prices so the agent might think you’d pull out if pushed too hard. Any survey problems will give you a chance to haggle the price down further. Read how to sell your home during the winter.
  2. Antiques - Research the best price beforehand and what you should pay for it. There’s no blanket 'golden rule' for haggling as every dealer is different, some display their prices online, others don't, although with the market demanding transparency they are having to display prices more and more. Read our tips on making cash from your attic.
  3. Holidays – Do your research online and then visit a travel agent to see if they can put together a cheaper package. It's easier to bring a holiday price down in low season. If you'd like to return to a holiday cottage or villa, contact the owner direct cutting out the middleman and saving you and them money. Also try haggling on the price of foreign currency by going to a few independent money changers, seeing if they can beat each offer as you go. Check out our best travel tips.
  4. Hotel rooms – ring late at night so the person on the reservation desk will have more time for a friendly chat which may lead to a better deal. If the hotel won't move on the price, see if they'll upgrade your room for free. Use our tips to save on your hotel stay.
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