Some of the richest and most successful people in the world are constantly thinking about saving money by negotiating, getting the best deal and making comparisons to find the best suppliers – out of habit.
See below 7 habits you could practice from this very moment to make your money go a lot further. The point of making these habitual changes is so that you can repeat the savings that each idea below gives you whenever you like and each idea is something that with practice you will get better and better at.
1: Mindset – Expect to Pay Less
Expect to pay less. Don’t just accept the first price you’re given – expect that there should be a way of paying less, whether this means shopping around, negotiating with the seller, coming back later, finding an alternative, using contacts/buying power/buying in bulk to get a better price (note: make sure this makes sense, don’t buy more than you can use of something)…
If you have the right expectations you’ll be surprised what a difference this makes to your finances and your life.
This doesn’t mean penny-pinching but rather ‘savvy’ when it comes to getting the best deal on everything. Some of the richest people in the world expect to pay less so this is not being ‘cheap’, it’s just a mindset. Think of Alan Sugar – he’s a classic example of a successful business man who is unlikely to just accept the first price he is given.
2: Comparison – Compare to get the best price
This is pure common sense. Nevertheless it’s amazing how many people will simply buy goods and just pay for them right away without shopping around at least a little for the best price.
If you must have something and don’t have the time to shop around for the best price, then go ahead but do so in
the knowledge that in this case you’re choosing not to compare prices.
At least know that this is something you can do to use your hard earned money more sensibly.
If you have the time to shop around, then do so. Never be pressured into making a purchase immediately if you don’t need to. You need to be in control of what purchases you make and when, no-one else.
These days there are plenty of price comparison websites which make price comparisons easier than ever.
3 – Timing: Take your time
Timing can make all the difference when looking for a good deal.
Particularly with expensive items such as cars and houses.
Particularly with houses.
If you’re prepared to wait until something is out of season or a seller is significantly more motivated to sell then you will get a better deal. Also booking in advance for things like event tickets will save you lots of money.
Give yourself plenty of time to shop around, look for the sale, buy well in advance so you don’t run out of time and let the price go up, or wait for the perfect moment to buy. It’s all about timing.
4 – Subject Matter: Know your onions
Knowing a little bit about the thing you’re buying can make a huge difference.
Often a salesman will try and sell you something based on it’s wonderful features, baffling you with science.
You don’t have a clue what he’s talking about but it sounds very impressive. Perhaps he will tell you that it’s something you really need.
Knowing about a product first so that a salesman isn’t in a position to baffle you will make a huge difference to your buying power.
Shopping around and learning from various salesmen as they describe these features to you is a great way of building your knowledge about something before finally making an informed purchase. You can (and should) even ask one salesman if something another salesman told you makes sense, even if you don’t understand it – get them to explain it to you. This will soon expose any exaggerations and tell you the true value of the information you’re getting.
The internet is another great place to do your research about what it is you’re buying before making a purchase.
5 – Questioning: Know how to ask the right questions
Ask the right questions in the right way.
Asking someone for their help and advice can be very useful and normally will get them on side much more than ‘telling’ them what you want.
Even asking ‘Is that the best you can do?’ is empowering the seller to be resourceful on your behalf, giving them a share of the responsibility for getting the price down.
Even better than this might be ‘Is there any way you could help me?’ or letting them know that the price is a bit much for you and asking if they have any advice, perhaps could suggest another product or advise if their store has the best price on the street for that product.
The polite, understated threat of taking your custom elsewhere, which is a point you can make (and have every right as a consumer to make) very gently and innocently as it’s your money and your choice where you spend it to get the best deal. You are not being impolite, just sensible and no-one can blame you for that. It’s the salesman’s job to help you and if they can and you get them on side, they will.
One thing is for sure, if you don’t ask anything, they most probably won’t, they’ll just take your money at the shelf price they have.
Once you ask the question, you may well find that you qualify for a discount, that you can get an item cheaper if you pay cash (which perhaps the salesman wouldn’t have offered unless you asked) or the price will be different in a few months when the store begins it’s planned sale. On the last point it will make a big difference if you are friendly and build some rapport with the salesman, they will be much more likely to want to help you.
6 – Bargaining: Use your powers of negotiation
Again, keeping it friendly, you must be prepared to haggle.
Even if a salesperson acts shocked or offended by your haggling (which by the way will get much better with practice) they shouldn’t be, it’s your money and you have every right as a consumer to question the price of something and try and get the best deal you can.
Ask yourself how much the seller wants your business.
If you assume that the seller wants to make a deal happen, you are almost certainly right. Use the fact that
you have (as suggested in the other principles) found a better price elsewhere – ask him to match or beat that price.
Explore different options through negotiation, can you get a discount, what if you recommended the company/salesperson to others? Can you get a better price by changing the terms of the service offering? remember to keep the conversation friendly but push the boundaries to see what can and cannot be done.
Finally when you have the salesman where you want them, remember that you can still walk away. It could be useful to use negotiation to find out how far you can discount a price then take that reduced price elsewhere and start over with a new negotiation, knowing you can always return for the price you’ve negotiated (sometimes
salesmen will say if you don’t take the offer now it disappears, though logically if they’ve offered you a price once, they should offer you the same price again when you come back later, they are just putting pressure on you because they don’t want to lose the sale!)
7 – Creativity: Consider alternatives & be creative
If you still haven’t got to a price that you like, then start getting creative.
Don’t give up.
Look at alternatives and be flexible. If it’s labour you’re discussing the price of, could you do some of the labour that you don’t need a skilled worker for to reduce the cost or could the worker you’re paying use a cheaper worker for part of the job to reduce the cost?
If you would get a reduction by buying something in bulk, but you don’t want multiples of an item, could you find friends who want the same thing so that you could get the discount? Is it possible to swap a service you can provide for something you want from someone else? If you’re paying for a taxi, could you get a lift instead?
To start exchanging services in this way, don’t just ask when you need the service but start being creative as it’s convenient to you and people will think to reciprocate. For example, if you know a neighbour is looking to go away for a night and they will be looking for a babysitter – if it’s no trouble to you, offer to do the babysitting for them. If you’re driving somewhere and you could easily give a friend a lift, offer them. If you bought too many eggs by mistake, invite a neighbour round for breakfast.
The favours will soon start coming back – and everyone wins (with a nice social aspect too!)
What do you think? Could any of the above ideas help you? Do any of them scare you? Please share your thoughts below…