Negotiate for better prices this Christmas

- A big gift item at Christmas is something from the electronics department.  In part because it's expensive. But there are ways to whittle away at the price tag by negotiating.  

In many countries that's a given. Not so much in the US. But I think this Consumer Reports survey might convince you to give it a go.

Their shoppers tried haggling at 50 stores - half walk-ins and half online.  Here's what they found and got from it. Only 14 percent of shoppers even tried to haggle. But, when they did, a whopping 59 percent got a price reduction.

But this is what surprised me most: The average savings was $84.  But the deals were even better for online shoppers - a $94 discount.  That's money you get to keep in your pocket and either save or put toward another gift.  

I'm with many of you. Negotiating makes me nervous. But, according to the Consumer Reports survey, shoppers did little more than to simply ask for a better price. That's all it took.

So, in this last week before Christmas what can you do to up your negotiating game?

                      HOW TO GET A DEAL

  1. Shop early or late. Not when the team is busy.
  2. Negotiate out of earshot of other customers. You don't want to compete for the deal.
  3. And offer to pay in cash if you can.

Again, 31 percent of the folks surveyed said all they did was ask and got a price cut. Here are a few things you could say to get the conversation started. "Hey, I really like this computer. But I'm going to have to head out and compare prices unless you can give me a deal now and save me time."  Or show them a lower price being offered by a competitor.  But whatever you do, don't be rude or aggressive.

What if they say no?  Ask if they can sweeten the pot by offering free installation, free shipping or maybe an extended warranty.  Fifty-seven percent of folks who asked for an extended warranty got it.

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