The Haggle: Part 3

offering-427297_960_720So far in our “The Haggle” mini-series of posts, we’ve covered some really basic haggling techniques. The “can you do any better?” and the “2 for less” will get you pretty far, but there is another technique that can yet be employed. And that technique is the “heart string”. It can work everywhere from garage sales, to flea markets to a Ft. Lauderdale pawn shop.

Now, this won’t work on everyone or for everyone, but you may get some surprising results as a last-ditch effort. Basically, you want to make the seller feel for you a little bit so that they cut you a break. If you have just come off of trying the other two techniques in succession, then this may not work well as it will be apparent that you’re just willing to do or say anything to get a better price. But let’s say you’ve only used one, and no dice. Well, then you can try to “guilt” the person into giving you a break. I don’t mean that you should try to spin and sell some sort of hard luck story, but instead, level with the person. Tell them that you really want the item, but you just don’t have enough. Be as honest as possible and give them your reasons for having your heart set on the item. If you have a kind soul in front of you, you may get somewhere.

Three things can now happen. They may be unmoved and not change the price. Game over then.  Or, if they ask you what you can pay for it, then you’re in a crucial position. They are obviously willing to budge a little. If you go too low and they don’t meet you, you’ve just sold them on the idea that the MOST you can pay is the rejected offer. Increasing your offer will cost your story credibility, and if the seller feels you are lying to him/her, they may not give you any price cut at all. If you are willing to pay their price, then the solution is to ask, upon rejection, of what they were thinking they could sell it for. Once you’re told, tell them you need to make a call and go pretend to call someone to ask for a loan. Finally, they may just accept your offer in which case, congratulations! You haggled successfully.

The Haggle: Part 2

dollar-1319598_960_720When you’re looking to get items on the cheap, you’ll for sure be checking out pawn shops and secondhand stores, as well as buying used items from individuals. And in this type of buying setting, one of the greatest tools you have at your disposal for saving even more money is the ability to haggle a price down. In our last article, we discussed a very basic type of haggle. Now, we’re going on to another technique: The 2 for less.

The 2 for less approach is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but it needs to be setup a little bit to be successful. Here’s how you do it:


  1. Browse around until you find 2 items that you are interested in (preferably related items, but not a must).
  2. Call over the sales associate and ask questions about the more expensive item to show that you are interested.
  3. Look at the price and then ask if he can do any better (see last article for that one).
  4. If he says no, then seem to lose interest and continue browsing around.
  5. Then come back to him with the second item and ask about getting both for a lower price than individually (“How about $*.** for both?).

This can be a very effective way to talk down a price. The salesman will probably be interested in selling a larger quantity of items and since they already feel they almost lost you as a sale, they will usually agree provided you didn’t lowball them too much.

I’ve used this one in Hollywood pawn shops before and gotten away with a few really great deals, so I can tell you that this one works quite well.

Give this one a try and see how much you can save by using it. You may surprise yourself with your success.

The Haggle: Part 1

vintage-998419_960_720Whenever you’re on the hunt for secondhand items, you’re obviously trying to get the best possible price. Sometimes, you just have to search around for what you want, and try to find the lowest price available. This is what usually happens when you go shopping online. You search your favorite sites and spend some time trying to find the best deal. But when you’re going to a physical place to buy stuff, you have a whole other option for getting a better price: haggling.

Now, this isn’t something you can do everywhere, but there are lots of places where this is totally applicable. Like at garage sales, a hollywood pawn shop,  yard sales, flea markets, etc. So it would be good to brush up on your haggling abilities.

But first thing’s first, and that is that you have to be WILLING to haggle. A lot of people don’t like it as they feel that they come off as a cheapskate or something. To all those people, please just realize that the person selling the item wants you to pay the most money possible, and your goal is to pay the least. This is how business works and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

So, that’s the main first point. Now, let’s get into some haggling techniques. This first one is the simplest and requires you to only say one little, magical line: “Can you do any better?”

When you have selected something that you like, you need to get the sales associate to know that you are (mildly) interested in the item. Then, after some back and forth small talk about it, look at the price and ask them if they can do any better. More often that not, they will offer you a reduction right then and there. Now there are two ways this can go:

If they offer a reduction, you can take it or suggest a slightly lower price. Let’s say there is a TV listed for $50. You ask if they can do any better and they say $45. Then you could counter with, “How about $40?”. This can help knock another couple of bucks off the price.

If they tell you they can’t do better, say OK, and then look at some other things, as though you’d lost interest. Come back to it some time later and ask again if they still can’t do any better. You may get the reduction now that you’ve played a little bit of hard-to-get.

How Does Pawning Work?

In various articles on this site, I recommend that you check out pawn shops as a source of inexpensive, secondhand items. You can find electronics, jewelry, furniture, guns and loads more at these types of places, and usually for a good price. Buying from a pawn shop is pretty straightforward. You see the item, haggle a bit on the price and that’s that. But what about selling items or trying to get a loan? Will, I have touched upon selling items to a pawn shop before, but there are some inner workings and things that anyone should know before doing anything like this.

I found this good piece of reference material from that I think would serve as valuable information to anyone who would deal with a pawn shop. Whether you are interested in selling an item or want to pawn jewelry, you should check these out:

1. What does a pawn store do? The core of a pawn store’s business is making collateral loans. Pawn stores offer loans, secured by something of value. The pawn store may have other business elements such as retail sales. However, pawnbrokers focus on lending money.

2. How does a pawn loan work? Customers bring in an item of value, and the pawnbroker offers a loan based on a percentage of the item’s estimated value. The pawnbroker then keeps the item until the customer repays the loan with interest and any additional fees that may apply. Pawn stores are regulated on a federal, state and local level.

3. How much money can I get for my item? On average, customers receive only a portion of the item’s retail value. Remember, the pawnbroker is loaning money on the item, not buying it. The pawnbroker must consider the cost of storage, security and future demand for the item, along with the resale value if the loan is not repaid. The average loan amount nationally is $150. However, loans can be made for any amount, depending on the value of the pawned item.

4. What kind of interest rate will I have to pay on the loan? Interest rates vary from state to state and usually amount to less than bank overdraft fees, utility reconnect fees, or credit card late fees. As an example, an $80 pawn loan at 20% for 30 days would cost about $16. Compare that to an overdraft fee or a credit card late fee that may negatively affect your credit.

5. What do I need to do to get a pawn loan? In order to secure a pawn loan, you simply need an item of value and proper identification. Pawn loans do not require a credit check, bank account or co-signer.

6. What happens if I don’t repay my loan? Defaulting on a loan can never affect consumers’ credit scores. Because the loan is based on collateral—that is, an actual piece of property—the loan is considered paid in full when the item is handed over to the pawnbroker.

Getting The Best Value At A Pawn Shop

sale-1712540_960_720Sometimes, the best deals of items can be found right under our noses. Like, how often do you think about visiting a local pawn shop to scope out deals? Chances are that you never have. Pawn shops seem to have a certain stigma. It is typically believed that people only go to one when they are in money trouble or are selling stolen goods. The truth actually is that most pawn shop’s clientele are legitimate people, many of whom are looking to get rid of some unwanted things for fast money (listing things online isn’t everyone’s bag).

These are also great places to visit to find good deals on used items. Things like electronics, tools, watches and jewelry can all be found at a pretty decent price. You could easily get a new home entertainment center for half of what going to a typical retail store would cost you.

So once you get over the idea that pawn shops are somehow “dirty”, the next thing to know is how to get the best value when looking for items. If you haven’t yet checked out our series on haggling down prices, check it out here. But aside from haggling, there are a few things that you’ll need to keep in mind:

  1. You’ll want to try out electronics while at the store. Not just checking to see that it turns on, but checking to see that it has all the functionality. You may even find a quirk about the unit that may not matter all that much, may yet still be a means for getting a price reduction.
  2. Each pawn shop has a different return policy, so you’ll want to know it. A shop in Colorado will have different policies than a Davie pawn shop.
  3. Bring your own unwanted items with you. You can sometimes use them to get the desired item for even less.