Anna-Louise Dearden Profile Image

How to haggle... and win!

By Anna-Louise Dearden 16/03/2016

We all hear of savings made by haggling but is it really the done thing for a nation known for its politeness? Deal-diva Anna-Louise Dearden finds out more...

Daniel Sebastian, the larger-than-life vintage trader featured on Dealing With Dickinson and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, says everyone can haggle, and it should be a fun experience that could save you a few quid.

"Historically, the British believed haggling was for the poor — if you had to haggle, then it was viewed that you couldn't afford it. However, in today's cosmopolitan world, haggling is becoming the norm."

If you are going to haggle for something, Daniel recommends doing some research so people know what's a good value price before they start. "A reduction is always relevant to the item, the time of day and the asking price, so knowing a bit about what you're hoping to buy and maybe avoiding peak-time Saturday slots would be advisable."


Ed Ling, a farmer and property expert from Norwich, has had a number of haggling successes on property and agrees it's an area that has a lot of wiggle room. "In 2001 I bought my dad a retirement bungalow set in beautiful parkland. It was on the market for 500k and I got it for 430k (my first offer was 400k). Over the years I've haggled on several houses and had huge wins. I once heard some very sound advice on a property course: if you're not embarrassed by your offer, then you're offering too much."


A report for Sainsbury's Bank by ICM Research reveals 89% of potential buyers will bargain over the price of their next car, and that buyers expect to save on average £800. Bonnie Sleeman, 27, can confirm this. "We were able to knock £1,200 and the cost of a year's warranty off a second hand car from a reputable dealer by walking out at the tail end of the negotiations. Fortunately, it paid off, and we got 20% off the original asking price."

Michael Mann, 36, from Peterborough and his dad Nigel are both seasoned hagglers. Michael says he was taught that everything is negotiable. "Prices for cars, whether new or second hand, often give bartering success. On the rare occasion there is no discount off the price, there's often a way of getting extras, such as a warranty, a service pack or an upgraded sat nav on a new car."

Nigel agrees: "There are some great deals out there. Don't be afraid to walk away — traders (and sellers) invariably get back to you with better offers, often within a couple of days, depending on when their targets are due."

Simon Ranson, Head of Banking at Sainsbury's Bank, says: "It's encouraging to see that so many people are prepared to haggle and get the best price for the car they want. Using a personal loan gives a buyer far wider choice be it online, local dealer or directly from the owner, as well as added bargaining power as they have cash in hand."


Angela Buxton, 40, has two children and is from Teesside. She used the element of competition to secure a good deal on a sofa. "At our local retail park the furniture shops are next to each other. In the first store I mentioned to the sales person that I was looking in the other shop before I made a decision, but pointed out the sofa I liked. I also asked about delivery times as it varies quite a lot. In the second store, I looked at the sofa I liked in there, and said I'd been in the other store, openly comparing the prices and delivery times. They offered me a £500 reduction as the sofa was more expensive than the first, but delivery was two weeks longer. In the end, I went back to the first store and got the sofa I wanted, £300 cheaper and delivered within a week."

Who haggles hardest?

Sainsbury's Bank research shows that, when it comes to cars at least, men are more willing to haggle over price; 92% are willing to bargain hard.

Contrary to popular misconception, it seems that as a nation we do haggle, and we do it well. Daniel's final haggling words of wisdom are: "Always be confident when haggling. Use your charm, a little cheek and a nice big smile. And if it's an absolute bargain anyway, forget the haggling — just pay up and make it yours."

Thinking of buying a new car? Check our tips for first-time car buyers before setting foot on the forecourt.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.