Haggling 101: How to negotiate price as a buyer

People often associate haggling with buying souvenirs while you’re on holiday but you can do it more often in Australia than you think.

Typically, Aussies only bargain when they’re making a big purchase like a car or a house. According to Finder, a quarter of Aussies said they were uncomfortable negotiating a price – but it’s easier than you think.

Many Aussie businesses are open to polite bargaining, helping you save some extra bucks or bring a product down to a price closer to what it’s worth.

Here are some ways to help you get what you want out of your haggling experience and how you can negotiate price as a buyer.

Find the value

Look for ways to drive the price down and prove that the item you’re after can be sold for lower than what the price tag says. Does the item you're looking at also come with an extended warranty?

For example, if an item has been on the shelf for an long period of time, then you’ll have more bargaining power. The same goes for damaged items if you’re willing to overlook small faults.

Sometimes you can get lucky with a product with slight damages, so don’t be afraid to point it out to try and knock a few dollars off the final price. Used goods are priced by their condition, so apply that to new items as well.

Keep it casual

Haggling can be a bit awkward if it’s something that you’re not comfortable with. Some may find larger, more expensive items harder to bargain down because of the big price tag attached to it.

Whether it's trying to get a 2-for-1 special with your local fresh fruit seller at a market or knowing how to negotiate to buy a car with a car dealer, being polite can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable. It also helps create a great experience for everyone involved at the end. Asking if it's the best price that they can do is a good place to start the negotiation process.

Be authentic and firm, but with good humour – and keep your body language friendly and neutral. A seller will likely be more open to bargaining if they can see that you're a nice person who means well. Remember that bargaining isn't a warzone so keep it light and in good faith. If it's not working in your favour, move on.

Do your research

Find out how much the item or service is worth before you start haggling. For example, if you need to haggle on furniture, make sure to do a bit of digging into the value of the make/model you want before diving straight in.

If you’re negotiating with a business, put aside some time researching them and what they offer.

How much are they charging? How much are their competitors offering? Are they about to release new stock or do they have a stocktake coming up? A little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

Timing is essential, so do your homework to find the best time to strike a deal. Always look at the seasonality or trends of a product in market. The item you’re after might be going out of season, which means the seller is more like to want to get rid of the product faster, or the sales team need to reach their targets towards the end of the financial year.

Check the language

It doesn’t matter if a company makes a ‘we won’t be beaten on price’ claim or not - get to know the language they use in their advertising. If phrases like ‘competitive pricing’ or ‘best industry value’ are in their ads, chances are they’ll be open to negotiation.

Know what you want

Do you want savings, extra features, or an upgrade? Always have a budget and a clear idea of the features you want before you get into conversations with salespeople, especially for big purchases at car dealerships or whitegoods. For example, if you know a seller has accessories that complement the item you want to buy, see if you can get a package deal rather than pay for them separately.

Walk away

Yes, you can walk away from your first offer. The salesperson has already invested time and effort to persuade you, and if they're worried about losing a sale, they might be more likely to drop the price just that little bit further.

For those bargaining with a provider, pull the breakup card. You can end up saving hundreds each year just by making a few phone calls and informing your current providers that you’re considering taking your business elsewhere - you'd be surprised what's possible.

Aim for a win-win

Haggling doesn’t have to mean that you can only win if the seller loses. For example, you may want a cheap computer. The shop owner selling computers might want to get rid of the display model, or you to recommend the business to your friends, or simply get paid in cash.

It’s not always about trying to get offered a discount on an item either. The topic of money can be awkward for some, so sometimes it's easier to bargain other things like asking the seller if they're happy to throw in free delivery to get the item off their hands, or if they'd like to add on another item that they’re having trouble selling for a cheaper price.

Always see if there’s a way both parties can walk away from a negotiation feeling happy.

You can haggle prices with Cash Converters

Did you know that you can negotiate on price with us? If you've got your eye on something, have a chat to the team in-store to see if you can make a good deal.

At the end of the day, you can try your best with all of these tips, but you need to be prepared to hear the word ‘no’. There could be a variety of reasons why the seller doesn’t want to meet your price, and that’s okay. Know when it’s appropriate to haggle as well as read the room and move on.

Practice makes perfect and your success rate won’t always be 100%.

More often than not, haggling isn’t a serious conversation so have some fun, try your luck, and hope for the best.


The information contained in this blog is general advice only and does not take your specific circumstance into consideration. You should assess your own financial position, objectives, and requirements before making any financial decisions. 

Australian Credit Licence 391436. Subject to lending criteria being assessed. Check our TMD. 

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