Bargaining, “wheeling and dealing” or just getting a deal—whatever you call it, it isn’t always easy to find exactly the item or service you want, and then ask for a lower price. Our American culture often views this sort of thing as the move of a cheapskate, or disrespectful/distrustful of the merchant and his or her pricing.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The best “bargain” is where everyone is happy, and where the transaction is conducted in a respectful way. (Oh, and when you get a screamin’ deal).
I never considered myself a bargainer, until I traveled in Africa. There, nothing was priced, and I was subject to” muzungo (foreigner) pricing.” Even my native-language translators couldn’t get a price lower for me. Muzungo prices were almost always 300%+ locals pricing. Using a few strategies, I began to overcome this (though I doubt I ever truly got pricing to match locals’ prices).
Here are a few rules about bargaining that I learned while traveling, and have since employed stateside.
Be Polite! Do’s and Don’ts of Bargaining
I don’t buy a lot of household items, but in my business I wheel-and-deal like crazy. I’ve purchased several printers for my business (and for others) at deep discount because they are open box or because I’m buying more than one at once. We recently got cash discounts on two medical bills, a dentist and a 15% discount on a major auto service for paying in cash (oh, and two new tires for my husband’s Civic—because we moved all service for both of our high-mileage cars over to one mechanic!)
Here’s your challenge for the week (or month if you don’t have anything you need to buy this week). Set a goal of an item to get a deal on. Give it a try, and report back. I can’t wait to hear your savings!
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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