5 Ways to Save Money If You Hate Negotiating

April 25, 2012

Negotiating is a skill that can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. But bartering can also be a stressful, anxiety-filled experience for many people. If you hate haggling over price and just can’t bring yourself to do it, there are some ways you can save money without having to suffer through the back and forth of a negotiation.

Have Someone Negotiate for You

Outsourcing your negotiating sounds like an off the wall idea, but in reality this happens all of the time. Your real estate agent handles the actual negotiation of the price of the house you are buying. A recruiter can handle the contract or salary negotiations for a skilled professional. And you can have someone negotiate a purchase for you.

Granted, you probably don’t want to hire someone to negotiate for the potted plants you want to buy, but even in that case you can have a friend do it for you. Everyone knows someone who gets a kick out of negotiating. Ask them to handle the negotiation for you and offer a cut of the savings to them in return. A friend could help you negotiate the price of a car and keep you from losing your cool during the process.

Participate in a Group Buy

Merchants are willing to be flexible on price if they discover they can suddenly sell 50 of an item rather than just 1. Getting a group buy together on something you want to purchase — whether it be a car part, some electronics, or some interior painting — can lead to better prices. The more people that are willing to buy, the more the merchant is willing to discount the price. It’s a win-win: you get a lower price without negotiating, and the vendor gets to sell more product and increase their revenues more than they would have from just selling to one person.

Use Your Membership

Being a member of a group sometimes gets you access to special pricing.  For example, some employers have agreements with merchants that qualify you for a lower rate on things like new computers or software. When you go to buy all you have to do is give them your employer code and you get the discounted rate.

Some credit cards come with built in membership perks that give automatic discounts at select merchants. Most people think this applies to only to travel credit cards, but there are some programs that have a pre-set price for vehicles and if you are a cardholder of that credit card you get the lower price without having to negotiate. An example of this type of program is American Express’ partnership with Zag.com

Use Coupons and Entertainment Books

Manufacturers will automatically give out discounts for products if you know where to look. There is an entire sub-section of the web that is all about maximizing coupon use. You’ve heard the stories of a single mom buying $150 worth of groceries for $3 in the past and it seems too good to be true. It can take a lot of time and organizing, but maximizing your coupons and store reward programs can rack up this kind of savings.

Also, you can get pre-negotiated discounts with coupon books like the Entertainment Book that schools sell as fundraisers. The pre-printed coupons are for local businesses and feature discounts and buy-one-get-one-free opportunities.

Go to Thrift Stores, Consignment Shops, and Garage Sales

Don’t want to pay top dollar for items you need? Thrift stores, consignment shops, and garage sales are prime places to score significant discounts on used items. A thrift store or consignment shop will usually charge more than someone selling stuff out of their garage, but it is usually a little bit more well vetted as well. Nonetheless for certain types of items like kids clothing and toys you can save significant amounts of money — and then sell them back yourself!

If you’re not a fan of negotiating face to face, what are some other ways you use to save money and avoid haggling in person?


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Kevin Mulligan is a debt reduction champion with a passion for teaching people how to budget and stay out of debt. He's building a personal finance freelance writing career and has written for RothIRA.com, Discover Bank, ING Direct, and many others.

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10 Responses to 5 Ways to Save Money If You Hate Negotiating

  • John

    I am good at negotiating depending on my mood. I think negotiating can work if you know how to sweet talk and if its easy for you to convince people.

  • Chris @ Budget Ways

    With all of the smartphone apps and online shopping, it is actually much easier to negotiate. For example, if you are in Best Buy and are looking at something, do a search on your phone and then show the price to the salesperson. You can often get the online price from many stores. If they won’t go that low, at least ask them what they can do. Technically, it’s negotiating, but its so easy to do that I would barely call it that.

  • Deacon

    I am a big fan of thrift store shopping. My wife and I got a hardwood end table with a glass top for $1 at Savers. You cant beat that!

  • Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter

    I am the one that our friends and family use for negotiating – it is fun. I also really love your idea to use Entertainment Books – that has helped my husband and me splurge on a small budget several times.

  • Charlotte@EverythingFinance

    I’ve never been one to negotiate. After we bought my husband’s truck, our daughter n law told us how to negotiate the interest rate. So, when we went to buy my car a year later, we used her tactics, it worked, but I hated it. Maybe next time I’ll just take her with us.

  • Jess Day

    Bartering can really be quite stressful especially if you are not good at it. It takes a person with special skills to be successful in negotiating a deal. Whether it is a home, a car, or just a simple small household item, having someone to do it for you is the best way to go about it. An experienced broker for a home is a smart choice. Those other tips that you gave are all perfect. Thanks and Cheers!

  • Padgetts

    Nice list, Kevin. I like the group buy suggestion. With today’s technology, it’s even easier to negotiate such purchases.


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