How to Save Money on Just About Anything

The economy is brutal, which means it's time to sharpen your bargaining skills. To save big, all it takes is a few well-chosen words.
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You Can Haggle Anywhere

The Kohler whirlpool tub at Home Depot was exactly what she wanted, but Anne Lundy, of Huntington Station, New York, wasn't thrilled with the $1,200 price tag, even though it was the best deal on that particular model she'd been able to find. So she decided to ask the salesperson in the plumbing aisle if he could give her a discount -- and was disappointed by his response. "How about we take off $100?" he offered. "I was thinking more like $500," Lundy said, hoping she wasn't pressing her luck. When the salesperson said he couldn't go that low, Lundy employed a tried-and-true haggling strategy, even though she didn't know it at the time. She didn't say a word. "Okay, I think I can get you $350 off," he eventually said. "Let me ask my boss." Sure enough, Lundy got her whirlpool for only $850.

If you think car dealerships are the only places where you can haggle about price, you're wrong. Ten years ago 33 percent of Americans bargained. Today that figure is 71 percent, according to the America's Research Group, a firm that studies consumer behavior. A 2007 Consumer Reports survey found that 61 percent of its readers tried to bargain prices down -- and that more than 90 percent of them were successful. "As the economy weakens, haggling is likely to become even more common," says Rick Doble, editor of Savvy-discounts.com, which offers ways to live a frugal lifestyle. Doble himself claims to save about $9,000 a year this way. In addition to big-box stores like Home Depot, he has successfully talked his way into discounts at Kmart, Barnes & Noble, Marriott hotels, and his local supermarket.

Continued on page 2:  What's Worth Haggling For

 

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