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How to Negotiate the Best Price on Christmas Gifts

Dec. 21, 2015
Holiday Tips & News, Shopping, Shopping News
How to Negotiate the Best Price on Christmas Gifts
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Traditionally, getting a good price on Christmas gifts means hitting up Black Friday sales and watching closely all season long for that one item you’ve been eyeing to be deeply discounted.

But that’s not the only way to save big on holiday shopping: You can also haggle your way to a better deal on the gifts for under your tree.

Why you should do it

Haggling might not be a common shopping practice for you, but it can prove to be an effective strategy in many circumstances. Whether you’re looking for a price to be lowered or a delivery fee for a major purchase to be waived, some stores are willing to work with customers in order to seal the deal.

The holidays are an opportune time for negotiating. This year in particular, many retailers will likely be eager to move inventory after a relatively slow kickoff to the holiday shopping season. There was a 10.4% decrease in this year’s in-store traffic during Black Friday weekend (Nov. 26-29) compared with last year, according to ShopperTrak.

How to do it

Follow these tips if you’re looking to score a discount, earn a freebie, or lower shipping/delivery fees:

  1. Prove your loyalty. Many stores appreciate repeat customers. If you frequent a business often, remind it of your continued loyalty. Small businesses and local stores in particular might be willing to give you discounts on a product or service to keep you coming back again and again.
  2. Be prepared. You often can’t get a price match without proof. Download shopping apps like ShopSavvy and RedLaser (to instantly check prices) or bring along physical print ads from competitor stores. Depending on the specific store’s price-matching policy, that could be enough to get it to either match or beat a better price.
  3. Ask questions. Try different tactics to get what you’re looking for. Instead of asking for a specific dollar amount or a percent-off discount on an item, word your request as an open-ended question. Ask what the store is willing to give as a discount or what its best offer is.
  4. Pay with cash. If you’re shopping small and want to throw in an added incentive to get the deal you want, offer to pay with cash. Cash eliminates the transaction fees sellers are required to pay to credit card companies if you swipe your plastic.
  5. Stay firm. If you can’t get the deal you’re hoping for, be willing to walk away. Take your business to a retailer that is willing to work with you or that has lower advertised prices.

Where to do it

So where can you haggle? No store is off-limits, but you’ll likely find that mom and pop shops are more willing to bend their rules and offer discounts upon request.

But that doesn’t mean big-box stores are out completely. Major retailers (like Best Buy and Target) offer price matching, so ask them to meet or beat the advertised price from a competitor.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

Image via iStock.