How low can you go? Americans are getting hip to haggling for discounts

Ask and you just might receive a lower price.

That's according to a Consumer Reports survey that found that the majority of people who haggled when making a purchase received a better deal. Younger shoppers are more likely to try to negotiate a discount; more than a third of people under 35 always haggle.

About 66% of Americans have tried to haggle for goods during the past six months, according to the poll. Of those who did, 83% received better rates on hotels, 81% reduced their cell phone bills, and 81% got a discount on clothing. Apparently nothing is off limits because people who haggled also received better deals on everything from airfares, appliances, credit card rates and medical bills.

Haggling may be less common in America, but people in many countries wouldn't think of doing business any other way. When I visited the Bahamas the vendors almost seemed disappointed if you didn't try to haggle down the price.

I've been a long-time haggler and found that in most cases cash is king. I've negotiated lower prices on everything from cars to clothing to appliances by paying cash. If you're looking to stretch your dollars, here are a few tips from Consumer Reports to help perfect the art of haggling.

  1. Be nice and smile. As the old saying goes, you'll catch more flies with honey.
  2. Haggle late in the evening or toward the end of the month when salespeople need to meet quotas.
  3. Don't haggle in front of other customers.
  4. Research products and prices before heading to the store.
  5. Read sales tags to see how long items have been in stock. Some stores will negotiate to sell items that have been sitting around too long.
  6. Be prepared to walk away if you can't get the deal you want.

Haggling over purchases may feel funny at first but you'll likely get used to it real quick when you see how much money you can save.

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