Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have come and gone, but most people are nowhere near finished with their holiday shopping lists. In fact, 76 percent of adult shoppers said they planned to make holiday purchases right up to Christmas Eve, according to a 2016 survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers. And Adobe initially predicted online spending for the holiday season (November 1 to December 31) to reach a total of $107.4 billion. The good news: If you’ve got more gifts to check off your shopping list, the deals aren’t over. The key may be simply asking for them — in other words, negotiating. Here’s how to nail down extra discounts on in-store soft goods (like clothes), technology and even cars.
If you’re set on asking for discounts in person, you’ll likely have more luck with independent retailers. Employees of big-name stores don’t often have the authority to lower the price of an item, although their managers sometimes do. If you’re buying multiples of a product, or if you’re a frequenter of the store — even if it is a big retailer — it never hurts to ask. Try questions like: “Could you do any better?” or “How could we arrive at a better price for this?” Sometimes, that’s all it takes for the salesperson to remember that, for example, signing up for the email newsletter nets you a 10 percent discount. And if you’re turned down the first time? You can always kindly ask to speak with a manager. Sometimes it’s just a matter of who’s authorized to do what.
Haggling can pay off — especially when it comes to electronics, according to an annual electronics retailer survey by Consumer Reports. Shoppers who purchased something in one of the stores they rated only tried to negotiate 14 percent of the time, but when they did, 59 percent got a price reduction for an average $84 in savings. Online negotiators had even better luck, with a 69 percent success rate and an average $94 in savings. If you’d like to try bargaining online, try calling the retailer or using the live chat built into some store websites. If you’re shopping in person and there’s no discount available, try asking for added benefits like free installation, shipping or accessories.
If you’re in the market for a car, December is a “perfect storm,” according to data from Edmunds.com. You’re likely in for an even better deal if you move your purchase to the very end of the month, since car dealers and manufacturers want to close out their year with strong sales numbers. Before you head to the lot, arm yourself with information. Know the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and check the manufacturer’s, dealer’s and enthusiast magazine’s websites to compare offer prices. It’s a good idea to look for a car that’s the outgoing model year and has generous incentives. According to Edmunds data, December has both the year’s highest discount off MSRP (6.1 percent on average) and the highest incentives. (It also tends to have the highest inventory, which gives dealers more reason to, well, make deals.) You can find a list of incentives (like 1 percent financing) and rebates from both dealers and manufacturers at Edmunds.com. When closing the deal, stand your ground with the salesperson, and keep asking about added fees. Ask them to tell you the end price of the car with all costs taken into account. Then, negotiate based on that. If you’re planning to lease, negotiate the price first, then back into the lease payment.