The Art of Bargaining Cars Hotels and Furniture

August 9, 2007

I have recently taken a pretty big step and decided to move cross country from the East Coast to California. Bargaining for cars, hotels, furniture, etc saved me thousands of dollars. My father, either because he is OCD or genius, had taught and continues to teach me the finer points of bartering. In order to make this journey without loosing much money here are the things that I learned along the trip.

First lets start with buying a new car, since I was driving across the country. There are a few things you should know to get a great deal on a car. Do not pay MSRP, even if the dealer is telling you the demand is up you have to play mind games. Remember dealer’s salary is usually based on quota, so for him “the sale” is very important and many times they are willing to get you a great deal as long as you act uninterested and show that you have done significant research. I suggest reading Car Buying Tips whose advice helped me save 2,500 on a new car (mazda 3).

On my drive across the US I realized that hotels run another scam. Here is a great tip for last minute reservations, if you have a lap top. Pull up to the hotel and get on their wireless connection. The password is usually something to do with the hotel, the name, the town, etc. Once on log on their website, most hotels have great deals if you book on-line. If that fails you can always try www.hotels.com which also give you great deals. You can also call the front desk and say you found a deal on-line and quote them 30% under what they advertise. Don’t name the source just say your in a hurry, but remembered seeing it. Usually they wont be able to match but say if you sign right now they will give you a 25% discount.

I recently bought a new bed and was able to get a 1200 dollar bed for 700 (w/tax and delivery). I was fortunate in that I was patient with the employee who was helping another customer. After BSing with her she spilled most of the trade secrets to me. First, a lot of the furniture stores are owned by the same owner, but have different names. The same mattress can have different names in different stores and therefore cost drastically different. A pillow top (if bought separately) will cost you up to 50% less, so don’t buy into the whole plush craze. Make sure that you do not get the the “floor model.” The way to bargain beds and furniture is to come in later in the day an hour before they close and try to get a reasonable quote. Leave the store and call back after half an hour and say you found a better deal but want the money to go towards the other salesperson can they match. Also do not let them BS you about the taxes. For example one store told me the tax in CA was 11.5% and the other said it was 8.5% and another said it was 20%. Your only interest is the out the door price with delivery and tax included.

Sometimes bargaining seems like a pain in the ass, but its an art and is more fun then you think. Best part about it when you know that you got a great deal you do not experience the usual buyers remorse that comes with making large purchases. As long as you do not have ridiculous expectations and try to be fair the end result should be a win-win situation. You get a great deal and the salesperson gets a sale.

You can also read my other article on How to Negotiate Salary During Annual Review.

Happy bargaining and bartering!


One comment

  1. there are also furniture stores that gives lots of discount if you buy in bulk ~-~

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