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How to haggle for a better deal

Kate Wick avatar
Kate Wick
- 4 min read
How to haggle for a better deal

Whether you’re doing your weekly grocery shop or hunting down a low rate mortgage, the thought of a bargain is all too enticing. If you can get a cheaper price than what’s marked down, you’d take the better deal, right?

Make sure there’s more money building up in your savings account by following this great guide to haggling!

Watch your loyalty

Loyalty cards advertise great savings but are the cards rewarding you — or the stores who provide them to you? Are you actually getting a bargain by using them?

According to consumer group CHOICE, loyalty schemes can discourage customers from seeking better deals elsewhere.

“Loyalty cards are used to collect enormous amounts of personal data when you do your shopping, such as whether you buy anti-cholesterol margarine, prefer organic food or eat certain snack foods,” explained Elise Davidson, CHOICE spokeswoman.

If you want to master haggling, it might pay to ditch store and brand loyalty. Budget brands – from airlines to cereal manufacturers – can offer drastically lower prices than their fancy counterparts. 

See the world

If an overseas holiday is on the cards, your first port of call is booking flights. 

Depending on where you’re headed, costs can quickly add up. Rather than having to dip into your savings account to pay for a few weeks away, consider bargaining down the price. 

Just as you’d run a credit card comparison to get a better deal, do the same when booking airfares. Peruse flight booking websites to find the cheapest deal for your destination, and consider flying early morning or late night to scoop up a low-cost fare.

“We constantly tell would-be flyers to search for flights early and often. This doesn’t necessarily mean to buy early — in fact, most of the time we suggest waiting. But you want to become familiar with the market on your exact travel dates so you know what’s a good fare,” Travel comparison website, CheapAir, advised.

“Be ready, though. When you do see a good deal, you’ll want to grab it, as great fares don’t typically last for very long.”

Rather than taking a break during a peak holiday period, see if your local flight booking centre has any last minute or off-peak tickets they’re keen to offload.

Slash your home loan rates

Whether you are a first home buyer, a property investor or you already have a mortgage on your family home – haggling for a better deal could save you thousands — and years —off your home loan.

“Use a comparison site to find the top home loan interest rates, fees and features and then ask your lender to match it. If they aren’t prepared to negotiate on rates or fees then switching to another lender who will, could potentially save you thousands of dollars,” Alex Parsons, CEO of RateCity.com.au, suggested.

Feed the family

Want to lower your grocery bill? You’ll have little luck haggling for a lower price at supermarket chains, though you can still nab good deals. But bakery and deli items will often be discounted later in the day or early evening to make way for fresh stock the following day.

If you like the thrill of haggling down prices, you may have better luck at a smaller owner-operator grocery stores, bakeries or butcheries, where those cashing up your order have the authority to offer a lower price. 

Scan items for upcoming expiry dates — you may be able to knock a few dollars off a grocery item if it needs to be consumed relatively soon.

Dress to impress

Have some basic sewing skills? If you find a shirt, jumper or pair of pants at your favourite clothing store with a frayed cuff or missing button, you may be able to drive down the price. 

If there are other items in your size and preferred colour in perfect condition, you may be less likely to get a discount. But if the item is the last one of the rack, you may be able to get a discount by politely asking a sales assistant — particularly if the store is keen to clear stock to make way for new season’s clothing.

Whether you are buying bread, a new hand-bag or booking a flight, the trick to haggling is not being afraid to ask. As the saying goes, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”


This article is over two years old, last updated on July 24, 2014. While RateCity makes best efforts to update every important article regularly, the information in this piece may not be as relevant as it once was. Alternatively, please consider checking recent home loans articles.

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