How To Haggle Like A Seasoned Bargain Shopper

Posted by Fitz Villafuerte under Money Saving Tips on February 23, 2008

Bargain stores abound in the Philippines specially in Metro Manila. They can be found in malls and shopping centers everywhere. If you’re fond of going to the tiangge (bazaar) but feels that you’re not really getting the best deals, then here are some effective tips on how to haggle and save money on your next shopping spree. But before we go into that, let me tell you what haggling means to me and why you should not be ashamed or embarrassed to do it.

The word haggle tends to have a negative meaning in dictionaries, hence the bad connotation which most people associate with the act. Personally, I believe that Wikipedia defines it best with the clear statement that haggling is politely arguing. There is nothing wrong with haggling and you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. These stores actually have a price margin for hagglers so if you politely ask, then you’re more likely to get that discount. You can pretend that it’s a professional business transaction and you are negotiating prices from your supplier. Anyway, enough of the introduction and let’s get into the tips, so are you ready to ‘make tawad‘ (Filipino slang for haggle)?

Shopping Preliminaries

  • Set a budget before going and bring only enough cash. This way, you are more likely to haggle because you have limited funds.
  • Have a short list of the things you plan to buy and know the prevalent market prices of the items.
  • Decide how much you are willing to spend for each item and remember to stick to them.
  • Dress for bargaining success. Put on a simple outfit and avoid wearing designer clothes, expensive accessories and extravagant jewelries.

haggling

The Haggling Process

  • When you see an item you like, stay calm and politely ask for the price. Showing enthusiasm is not advised.
  • Ask next if that’s their best price, do not make a counter-offer yet.
  • After that, maintain a poker face and keep silent as if you’re contemplating. The salesperson sometimes breaks the silence with a better offer.
  • If you know a store that offers the item at a lower price, this is the time to mention it. Plainly state the fact and do not suggest that they match or beat the price.
  • Assess if you really want the item, if so then decide at what price you are willing to buy it. This is the point of no return, once you give your counter-offers then it is only ethical that you purchase the item if the seller meets your price.
  • Before giving any counter-offers, always be sure to set it within your budget for the item.
  • There’s no harm in making your first counter-offer ridiculously low but be sure to be good natured about it so as not to irritate the seller. Smile and be amiable.
  • Everytime the salesperson gives a lower price, haggle with a number that’s a little higher than your last counter-offer. You can go somewhere in between the seller’s last price and your previous counter-offer but I suggest going lower than the mid-price.
  • Smile and do not harass the seller but continue haggling until he or she is unwilling to budge.
  • If the last offer is within your budget, then acknowledge the acceptance of the offer.
  • If you’re planning to buy several items from the store, set the last one aside and move on to haggling to the next thing you want to purchase.
  • Once you have collected everything you intend to purchase, ask the seller for a discount on the total price.
  • Before paying for your items, ask the salesperson for something extra or any item that he or she can give for free. You’ll be surprised at the items you can get by simply asking.

Mental Notes

  • It helps if you can talk to the store manager or owner and do the bargaining with them.
  • Being a regular customer is good. Establish rapport with your favorite bargain stores and you will always get their best deals.
  • Do not haggle if you’re not really sure that you want to buy the item. Simply asking for their best price is enough if you’re just looking around.
  • If don’t get the price you want, do not be afraid to walk away. Tell them that you’ll try looking for a better deal somewhere or just come back when the item goes up on sale.
  • Lastly, have fun. Shopping is an emotionally rewarding experience.

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References:
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. “Haggling“. January 26, 2008.

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Photo courtesy of jeorems

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11 Responses to “How To Haggle Like A Seasoned Bargain Shopper”


  1. HotMama Mathe says:

    I miss Tutuban and Divisoria, just by reading your post. I am a Pinay blogger residing in the UK. I would want to contribute an article about the importance of having a monthly budget, if that is ok with you, or if you haven’t written about it yet.

    Please do leave a comment on my site if you want so that I can write the article immediately.

    Thanks! I am happy I stumbled upon your practical blog – this is the kind of stuff Pinoys need these difficult times.

  2. Fitz says:

    Thanks for the visit and the compliment Mathe. I dropped a message in your site regarding your suggestion. Please check it out. ^_^

  3. […] account if their thrifty habits will affect others negatively. Cheap people are unreasonable when haggling and believe that they deserve the lowest price possible, but frugal people, although usually as […]

  4. […] remember to haggle if the place allows it. In the mall, try to ask if they offer discounts for the item you want or […]

  5. […] Anyway, here’s the bazaar schedule for Christmas 2008 in Metro Manila. Enjoy your shopping and don’t forget to haggle! […]

  6. […] give some allowance for hagglers. Furthermore, train yourself and your staff on how to handle haggling situations and […]

  7. Budgeting Tips says:

    Trust me, nobody knows how to bargain shop like I do. You do not want to be across the table from me at a garage sale. Nice blog with great information.

  8. frostbite says:

    In my business trips abroad, my travel companions are often surprised by the great deals I get but even more so when they see me in action.

    My mom taught me the fundamental of starting at 50% of the best price, which to be frank very much embarrassed me as a youngster but have observed to be very effective especially if you continue to be friendly and amiable in the process.

    In many Asian countries also, it is almost a sign of naivete if you go to a shop and not make any attempt to bargain.

  9. […] Budget Travel Tip: Shop around for the best prices for souvenirs but more often than not, the best place to buy them is in the local public market – so buy your pasalubongs at the palengke. And of course, don’t forget to haggle. […]

  10. […] Know Where To Buy Cheap Just a few meters out of the resort perimeter, there are more often than not, stores where you can buy things at a cheaper price – souvenirs, snacks and some things which you might have forgotten to bring. If you’re lucky, there could also be an affordable place to eat nearby. Don’t be afraid to ask a local if you need directions but just to be safe, always go as a group and never alone. Lastly, don’t forget to haggle. […]

  11. Crack the Haggling Code | says:

    […] Here are some tips to unravel the art of haggling, and how you can haggle like a pro: […]

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