Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Importance of Research and the Art of Negotiation

Overheard from a payphone conversation: "It is much easier to save a dollar on 50 things than 50 dollars on one thing". As I continued to walk, I asked myself, “Oh yeah?”

The first part is right: it is easy to save a dollar on fifty things. The second part is not so right, however.

Saving fifty dollars on one thing is quite easy when research and negotiation are involved. How many of us don’t hesitate to dicker at yard sales, auto dealerships, and even at home purchases?

How can you save this much on one item? By doing a little research to determine the item’s true worth in it’s current condition (in the case of homes, an inspector, an appraiser, and prior tax records are valuable tools). The internet has proven itself an invaluable tool for the research of cars and other items.

Knowing what the item’s true current worth is provides you with a baseline for negotiations (haggling, dickering, whatever you want to call it). You and the seller can maneuver up or down from there to arrive at your final price point, often saving much more than fifty bucks for higher-valued items.

If you’re still not sure about haggling, dickering, and negotiation, do some research on it to become more familiar. Learn how to gather facts about the item(s) to assess its value in the current condition. Start small—say yard sales, estate sales, and bargain stores. As you get more comfortable gauging value and making offers, start moving into bigger arenas—car lots and pawnshops. When you feel proficient, go ahead and try making an offer on a house.

After learning how to do the proper background research and comparisons, and sharpening the art of dickering, you’ll find out just how easy it is to save fifty dollars or a great deal more on just one item (see "Skipping Nickels and Dimes For Bigger Savings" page near the top of the screen).


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