So I figured we could start with something simple and easy. How to save money on almost anything..... Sounds great right? Then why aren't more people doing it. Everyday I see people paying more than they should or even need to. For the most part its important to remember the NUMBER ONE RULE OF SELLING (which in my opinion should also be the number one rule of buying), never charge less than the seller is willing to pay, and its inverse never pay more than they seller is willing to charge.
Now this may seem pretty simple, but you would be surpised how often it is overlooked. Washers, driers, refridgerators, stoves, couches, cars, clothing, even snowboards and bicycles, people forget this rule while making purchases everyday. This is also perhaps one of the only rules that applies to just about EVERYTHING not just retail sales.
Remember, there is the asking price and the selling price, and really it comes down to a battle of the wills. Which party is willing to surrender first and accept the terms of the other. Most often its the buyer, they come into the store or contact the private seller, etc. and pay whatever the store, salesperson, or seller is asking, no questions asked about the price. Its my opinion that you didn't really get a "good deal" unless you paid the least amount the seller was willing to take (or close to it). You bought a chevrolet malibu at $3000 under blue book from a guy on craigslist? Did you get a good deal? I don't know, would he have taken less? Did he know something about the car that made it worth less to him that he didn't tell you about? Did you make an offer less than what he was asking first?
As a general rule you should always offer less than the asking price. How much less really depends, its a fine line between offering enough to keep them interested but not insulting them with a low-ball. Now, I for one would never be insulted by a low ball, I would just laugh and say "no". But I am not everyone and everyone is not me. Some people get upset. Don't be afraid of hurting someones feelings, this is business and they will get over it. If their feelings are hurt, they need to be adult enough to deal with it. Unless you want to subsidize their feelings with your money, which of course is what happenes alot of times.
As a general rule of thumb 5%-10% is not unreasonable to ask in a retail situation. This is to be tought of as an additional 5%-10% off of any sale or promotional pricing. In a private purchase situation you can do more in most cases. The reasons for the above rule of thumb is simple.
Retailers) Percentages work better than dollars because everything is in percentages, profit, loss, commission, everything. Therefor don't expect $500 off a $1500 (~33%) purchase. That doesn't have enough meat left in it to really justify the sale.
Private Seller) You can often get more out of a private seller for 2 reasons, first, its used, second, private sellers are not a business (most times) and are not as concerned about profit as they are at getting their money out of something. Think of a private seller as the clearance section at your favorite retailer. They want out of it and as such you can often pay 40%-50% or less than the retail value. NEVER pay retail from a private seller, they have no overhead, they have no employees, and YOU have no recourse if something goes wrong.
Dispite all my typing on this subject, its actually fairly simple, and is very little "work", this is not haggeling. Know how much the item your purchasing is worth and how much you should pay, not a 'fair price', that just another way to describe lots of profit.
The worst that can happen is they say "no".
So primary points......
1) never pay asking price
2) Offering less than asking is not haggeling (its being smart)
3) Paying less than retail is not a "good deal".
4) Paying the least a seller will take is a "good deal".
5) Don't worry about the sellers feelings (they aren't worried about yours)
6) Good starting point for retail is 5-10% below sale/promotional pricing.
7) Good starting point for private seller is 40-50% below retail.
8) Never pay retail from a private seller, you'll regret it.