Tips on haggling to save money

July 5, 2013 3:05:43 PM PDT
Who doesn't love a bargain? But lots of people don't like to ask for one! A national survey of 2,000 shoppers reveals that only about half tried negotiating in the last few years. But the Consumer Reports National Research Center finds it pays to speak up.

When Kaitlyn Deane goes shopping, she never pays full price.

"I love to haggle. It's nice to bargain down people on certain things that you want to get for yourself," she said.

Like Kaitlyn, most shoppers who haggle get a better deal.

"Eighty-nine percent of those who tried haggling for all sorts of goods and services were successful at it. Men, well, they enjoyed haggling slightly more than women did, but women were equally as effective when they tried haggling," said Tod Marks with Consumer Reports.

What can you save? Consumer Reports survey found furniture shoppers saved a lot - $300 on average.

Doctor and dentist bills also came down $300 when people negotiated, though fewer people tried.

And people who haggled for appliances saved an average of $200.

One secret to Kaitlyn's success - she's not afraid to speak up.

"Recently, on a shirt I just purchased there was a little stain on it, so I asked them for a percentage off, and they gave me 10 percent off," she said.

Consumer Reports' shopping whiz Tod Marks has other winning strategies.

"The most popular tactic consumers told us that they used to get a discount was to simply tell the salesperson that they're going to check a competitor's prices," he said.

Marks says also effective: researching to find a competitive price before you negotiate.

"The only way you find out what a fair price is, is to check online forums, to check fliers, to check Web versus in-the-store prices," adds Marks.

And Consumer Reports says it pays to be polite.

"Remember, you can catch more flies, and discounts, with honey than you can with vinegar," Marks says.

Another area where you should consider negotiating is over bank and credit-card fees. Consumer Reports says people who did saved an average of $100.