Today I am writing another post in conjunction with Kelly's "Show us your life."
This week's topic? How do you save money?
When Greg and I got engaged, we took a thirteen week financial class called "Financial Peace University" by Christian financial expert, Dave Ramsey. Thirteen weeks seems like a long time and a huge investment, but it was one of the best things we ever did for our marriage. I would recommend it to anyone.
During that thirteen weeks, I learned of an invaluable tool that has continued to save us money time and time again. I learned... the art of haggling.
America is one of the only countries on the planet where people will just pay full price for anything without even thinking about it. As if there is no other option besides "full price." Ladies and gentlemen, your money is your money. And there is no law saying you have to pay full price for anything (except taxes, of course).
So here are some tips I've picked up along the way for bargaining, haggling, or dickering (potato, potahto):
- Have a plan.
- Not everyone will say "yes." There will be the select few salesmen that act as though you just asked them to perform an act of God by lowering a price. Don't take it personally. Just have a plan of what you will do if and when someone says "no." Will you suck it up and buy the item? Will you walk out? Have a thought-out-plan. This leads me to point number two.
- Don't be afraid to leave.
- Greg and I have an entertainment center in our living room that we found and loved at a furniture store in Little Rock. Originally it was $600. We only wanted to pay $300, but knew that 50% off was a long shot. When the man wouldn't come down below $400, we smiled, thanked him for his time, and left. One week later, we went back and what do ya know... it was the same salesman and the same entertainment center sitting there unloved. After some polite conversing, we bought the piece for $350. All because he knew we weren't afraid to leave again.
- Make companies work for your business.
- Recently, I called pest company "A" to come rid our house of ants. They quoted me $123. To spray for ants!?! Are you kidding me?!?! So I made an appointment with them, then called pest company "B." Pest company "B" quoted me a lower price, so I called "A" back to cancel my service. What did they do? They said, "We would like to keep your business. May we quote you a lower price?" Ummmmmm.... yeah? Pest company "A" sprayed our house the next day for $65.
- Have specific reasons why you should get a better price.
- Point out the flaws in the item. Does it have scratches, dents, or water damage? Inform the salesman of the blood, sweat, and tears that you are going to have to invest in the item in order to fix it. I found this sweater at Dillard's once that had a spot on it. I got 15% off the sweater because I pointed it out and asked for a discount. The spot washed right out, and I saved 15%.
- Dress poor.
- This may sound ridiculous, I know. But if you look like Richy-Rich, no one will want to help you. Look clean and presentable... but leave the Gucci at home, girlfriend.
- Repeat to yourself over and over: "I AM NOT RIPPING ANYONE OFF!"
- If you don't retain anything else, remember this. No one will sell you anything they cannot afford to sell you. Do not feel sorry for people because you think you are "cheating" them. Let me repeat myself. No one will sell you something they cannot afford to sell you. YOU ARE NOT RIPPING ANYONE OFF. Period. End of story. Got it?
- Aim low.
- If you want 10% off, ask for 30%. If you want 40% off, ask for 60%. Kind of like buying a house, the seller will usually counter with a smaller discount.
- Buy multiple items.
- The more you are buying, the more discount the salesman will be willing to give you. In your well thought-out-plan, you might be prepared to say something like, "Well, would you give me the discount if I also bought this item?" Now they know that if they don't say "yes," that you aren't going to buy either of the items. Sneaky, sneaky.
- Flash the cash. (This seems ridiculous, but it works.)
- Back to our $600 entertainment center that I mentioned earlier. What made the salesman change his mind after we went back? In true Dave Ramsey style, I literally flashed 30 ten dollar bills in front of his face. (We came prepared this time.) He countered with $350 and we took it. You see, you can't just tell someone that you have X amount of money. You have to show them X amount of money... in small dollar bills, of course, because it looks like a lot more!
- Be nice.
- Last, but not least. Would you want to negotiate with Negative Nancy? If the salesman likes you, they will be more willing to work with you. So don't be afraid to butter 'em up. It's pretty self-explanatory.