By Kenneth Doghudje.
We are in the midst of an “economic crisis,” what with the falling prices of oil, dwindling value of the Naira, rising unemployment and inflation. This is the time to tighten our belts when we want to spend. Common wisdom should dictate that we search for deals and bargains to purchase our needs and wants at more affordable prices.
Surprisingly I have found that it is the rich that are savvier in squeezing out bargains than the poor. They drive hard bargains with an objective of making gains before they purchase, while the poor just go ahead and buy after making and failing to persuade sellers with their weak arguments.
Frankly speaking, this is the time to purchase what you need and not what you want because you need to conserve. This is easier said than done, especially since we live in a society that places premium on material possessions. Learning the art of bargain hunting can also be extremely useful as you shop for anything you would like to have. Below are listed the “Ten Commandments” to getting a bargain with most purchases.
The first commandment is to always ask for a discount. According to Brian Tracy in his book 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success, the first law of business is that everything is negotiable. Always ask politely if the prices on display are the best prices, especially when you intend to purchase immediately. Even if the seller declines, at least you tried.
Asking for a discount is different from aggressively haggling where you might end up irritating the seller. Now you may not get a discount every time you ask for it but you never know. Peg your request at between ten to twenty percent of the seller’s price.
Secondly, use the tactic of making an immediate purchase to your advantage, when you intend to do so. Sellers are sometimes forced to consider lower offers for their goods when they know the buyer is serious about immediately purchasing. He or she might be more willing to sell especially when they consider they have made little sales for the day.
Do not purchase until you have checked several locations and done comparison shopping is the third commandment. Do not make any substantial purchases without checking different stores both online and offline to compare prices. You can even call or visit the stores with lower prices to confirm the authenticity of their claims. Ensure that whatever you buy is sold to you at the best price.
The fourth commandment is not to neglect the power and influence of the Internet as you make purchases. Today many online sites are springing up providing sellers with the opportunity to display their wares, sometimes at cheaper rates than traditional stores. The throwing in of delivery to the buyer’s location has made this model irresistible. There are even discounted sites where things are sold for lower than the market price. It really pays to spend some time online before spending.
The fifth rule is to harness the advantages inherent in bulk purchasing. This is a reasonable ground to ask for discounts when you buy some quantity of a product. You could combine orders with other interested parties to help drive the price down. But please don’t buy loads of unneeded stuff just for the discount!
Planning your purchases around holiday seasons when promotions and discounted offers are made is the sixth commandment of bargain hunting. Can your purchase wait? Can you afford to wait a little while before taking the plunge? This could sometimes translate to as much as twenty to forty percent in savings just by waiting for a few months.
Avoiding installment payments and electing to pay with cash can also lead to savings and bargains. Paying in installments comes with additional expenses and costs so it makes good sense to plan your purchases and raise the money for the purchase and then make it.
The eighth rule, making use of alternative payment platforms, can also earn you a discount. Many banks are partnering with merchant outlets to provide discounts for cardholders who patronize these outlets. Sometimes there is a nice discount attached and cash back rewards for using Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals.
Those on the lookout for bargains cannot use credit to purchase them. This is because the aim of getting a bargain would be defeated, as credit card payments attract administrative/processing fee charges in addition to the inevitable interest charge levied on borrowed funds such as those domiciled in your credit card.
Adding all these on top of your discounted price will erode the gain.
Finally, the tenth commandment of bargain hunting is to resist the urge to buy the latest item when it is newly introduced into the market. Prices are at its highest when the products are new and when there is a likelihood that everybody wants to acquire them. You could grab the same product at a lower price after it has been a few months in the market, or even better still, purchase a slightly used model from someone. Most people wouldn’t know the difference.
The more you continue to observe and apply these commandments, the more bargains you will get, which means your money is being spent wisely. Do the wise thing and embrace bargain hunting before you make any purchases henceforth. This will translate to savings that can be put to use in other areas.