Bargaining 101 – How to Quibble Respectfully

If you save money by paying less on consumer items, you could “earn” anywhere from $100 to $10,000 a year. It’s just a matter of learning how to negotiate on everything from shoes to salaries. James 4:2b says, “You have not because you ask not.” The key to asking is to learn how to bargain without embarrassing yourself, your friends or your family. Here are a few successful strategies to try:

• Compare –Furniture, phone plans, electronics, jewelry and appliances are all highly negotiable. Find your desired item on a search robot such as Froogle.com, MySimon.com, NexTag.com and eBay.com or in sale circulars from the Sunday paper. Then print out the price, take it into your store and ask them to match it. Some stores, such as Walmart, will automatically match competitor’s ads (even on food items).

Compensate – If the salesman cannot match the price, then ask for other freebies such as complimentary delivery, free accessories, or an extended warranty.

Continue – If the salesman grants extra perks, don’t stop there. After you’ve secured these, ask for the manager and ask her to match the competitor’s price.

• Counter – It never hurts to counter a price, if you ask for 20% off and they offer 10%, then counter with 15%. When it comes to salary negotiations, you shouldn’t accept the first offer. Most salaried professionals ask for 10% to 12% more than what they’re offered, and often settle for 7% to 8% more. If you did this with your first salary, it could add up to $500,000 by the time you are 60 years old!

• Consideration – Don’t limit the odds of success by asking for too much. The store has to make a profit. Small appliances are usually marked up 30%, while larger ones such as washing machines are marginalized by only 15%. However, most large furniture items and jewelry are increased by a whopping 100%!

Communication – Learn to say: “Is this your best price?” “Was this recently on sale and can I have the sale price?” “Do you think you could ask your manager, I’ll be happy to wait,” “Hmmm, this item is a little damaged (makeup on the collar, an already opened box, a ding or scratch) could it be marked down?” and last but not least, “Thank you, I’ll be back!”

Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

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