How to haggle

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  • Haggling’s not just for market stalls – you can get discounts in lots of places just by asking politely. Haggling’s been around for centuries and it’s time to take action!

    Electrical goods

    Check the online price first, as it’s often less than in store. Armed with your evidence, ask the assistant in a friendly way if they can match the online price. If they say no, politely suggest that the manager might like to offer a discount. You could get up to 20% off this way. You could also check the prices in other stores. John Lewis and Asda, for example, offer to match prices in other stores, even sale and special offer prices.

    Nights out

    If you’re booking a restaurant for at least six people for a special occasion, call the manager beforehand, say you’re planning to splash out on bubbly for example, and ask if you can have a discount on the booze.

    Or, when you’re booking a private area of a bar or pub for a birthday or a work do, why not ask if you can have some nibbles thrown in? A few bowls of chips or peanuts isn’t much to ask in return for a roomful of thirsty customers.

    Department stores

    At the make-up counter, ask if there’s a discount for buying more than one item.

    If they say no, ask if there’s anything else they can offer – you might get some free samples. Or try buying online instead: offers up to 50% discounts on perfume and make-up.

    High-street shops

    If you’re buying two big items, two pairs of jeans for example, ask the assistant if a discount is possible, as the jeans are so perfect. She’ll probably get the manager, but stand your ground. They may offer 10% and you could push them up to 20%.

    Hire cars

    Don’t accept the first price. Hire car companies are often grouped together geographically, and are used to fighting each other for custom. Ring and ask for a quote, and hesitate when they tell you the price. Tell them you’ll ring round and call back, and they may reduce their price!

    Hotel rooms

    February is the low season for hotels. Ask for the best price, and if it’s still too much, say you’ll go to the Premier Inn for £80. The manager might climb down pretty quickly.

    How to haggle: The 7 golden rules

    Follow these 7 golden rules to get some bargains.

    * Never ask for a discount when a shop is busy – you need the full attention of the manager without too many customers listening.
    * Be extra friendly and polite when haggling.
    * Research the price on the high street and online. Use ‘shopbots’ – price comparison websites like save legwork. Printouts can help your case.
    * It’s easier to ask for a discount if you’re buying more than one item.
    * For an opening line, try: ‘I love it, but I don’t like the price.’ If they can’t give a discount, ask who can.
    * If they can’t give you a discount, try to get an extra thrown in, like a bigger memory card for a camera or phone.
    * Be prepared to walk away if it’s a no, and try out your haggling elsewhere!