I traveled to Turkey for spring break one year in college and was quickly overwhelmed by a trip to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Imagine 60 streets with 5,000 shops that draw up to 400,000 visitors daily. Every item had a price tag on it but you’d be an idiot to pay that price. If it wasn’t for friends who spoke Turkish, I would have paid the full $20 for a scarf instead of walking out with 3 for $30. I’m not an aggressive person as I shared in my previous article about our car insurance mess up, so I was thankful to return home to stores that had set prices.
My mom, on the other hand, would thrive at the Grand Bazaar. We’ve been settling into our new home for the past week and have had to purchase a few things. I recently shared with my mom that we were going to need a couch. The following day I got about 10 emails from her with different couches for sale on Craigslist. We found a like-new sectional that had to cost over $2,000 new and my mom swiped it for $750 by offering to pick it up that day with cash. I wrote a check and thanked her for her business.
Shortly after this purchase, the discussion came up that with all of our floors being hardwood, we’d probably look into getting an area rug for the living room. The next day my mom calls me from Lowes:
“I found a beautiful 8’x10’ rug that was $358 and now it’s half off for $179! What do you think?”
I shared that the price was a little more than we wanted to spend so she left the store without the rug. My mom wasn’t able to get a good picture of the rug in the store so I looked it up online just to see what she had found. It was actually listed at $225 online but no clearance price. I casually shared that observation with my mom and the next day she went back to Lowes and talked to the manager.
“This rug is half off the original price BUT the original price online says $225. Will you take half price of that? $112?”
The manager settled for $125 and now we have a beautiful giant area rug in our living room to go with our new sectional.
I didn’t even realize you could negotiate prices in stores like Lowes! It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to think of the responses my mom had. It’s one thing for me to teach my clients how to eat healthy on a budget, but I won’t be the first to tell you how to negotiate prices at the farmer’s market. I’m often too quick to agree with the price tag and don’t think twice to make a lower offer. Negotiating is one of those timeless skills learned from observation and practice. Now that I actually pay for my own stuff I pay much closer attention to how my parents negotiate prices! I hope to get better at this skill and pass it down to my own kids some day. If only there was a Negotiating 101 class I could sign up for…
What kind of deals have you obtained by successful negotiating?
This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.