HACKENSACK, NJ -- I went "undercover" with Nerdwallet.com's and consumer expert, Farnoosh Torabi. She gave us a crash course in saving cash, a how-to on haggling off the advertised price on anything.
"This is just a starting point for you," Torabi said. "To come in and negotiate and suggest ways to save."
Step one: Always ask about any upcoming sales or special events.
Salesclerk: "We have friends and family coming up..."
This major department store offered to pre-sell hoop earrings at the upcoming sale price, shaving $42.48 off the cost.
Next, we tried our luck on TV's by bringing a competitor's circular to a big box store.
"Saying, 'Hey look I found these competing prices at another store' and they want to compete," Torabi said.
The Sony salesman didn't just match the other stores ad price on an HDTV, he beat it by $50.00.
Salesman: "If you want, I'll take $50 off. Yes, I can do that for you."
But the wheeling and dealing really started on the up sell. Take for example a $5,000 TV that we negotiated with an open box discount. Listen to how he sweetens the deal when we're ready leave.
Salesman: "If you want, I'll throw in the mount for free."
Torabi says walking away will often sweeten the deal at the last minute. Another tactic to getting your price is persistence.
"Can we get a discount if we buy 10?" Torabi asked.
We were told no discount even if we bought 10 scarves on sale two times. But the third we asked was the charm, the salesclerk relented.
We saved $10 buying in bulk, buying multiples. Offering to pay in cash always give some bargaining power.
"I said I need 10 of these and she said 10 to 15% off," Torabi said. "Which is significant when you're buying large quantities."
Another great tip, is to zip your lip after negotiating. Sometimes the silent treatment shakes a price break.
And last, be friendly! At one mom and pop, in Riverside Square Mall, we got 15% off Ray Bans just for chatting up the clerk, and then asking for a discount.
"Find that person, be friendly, ask how their day's going and empower them," Torabi said. "A little sugar sweetens the deal."
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