Living Like Farmer Boy ~ Bargaining

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If you read the blog last week you know that I started going to rummage sales already this year. I love the prices I can pay for things I need and I love getting a good deal. There is part of it that I’m not very good at yet but the hubby seems to be a pro. It’s bargaining.

“How much do you want for it?” the liveryman asked. “Two dollars and a quarter a bale, ” Almanzo said. “I won’t pay that price,” said the liveryman, ” It isn’t worth it.” “What would you call a far price?” Almanzo asked him. “Not a penny over two dollars,” the liveryman said. “Alright. I’ll take two dollars, ” said Almanzo quickly. The liveryman looked at Father and then pushed back his hat and asked Almanzo why he priced the hay at two dollars and a quarter in the first place. “Are you taking it at two dollars? asked Almanzo. The liveryman said he was. “Well,” Almanzo said, “I asked two dollars and a quarter because if I’d asked two, you wouldn’t have paid but one seventy-five.” The liveryman laughed and said to Father, “That’s a smart boy of yours.” ~ Farmer Boy p. 350 – 351

I’m not sure why I’m not very good at it yet, maybe because I’m a little bit of a wimp. But I know that when the hubby is along with me, we will get the best deals. For example last weekend I found those cloth diapers. She was asking $40 and I knew that was a good deal. We also wanted to buy a robotic vaccum cleaner that she had for my mother in law. I was ready to pay for the diapers and head out and the hubby came over to me and asked me what I wanted to pay for them. I said, I don’t know, I know they are worth $200 and I know that $40 is a good deal. He headed over to pay for them and asked it she would take $35 instead. She said yes!

It doesn’t hurt to ask. If the seller doesn’t want to take less for the item then they will just say so. This theory of bargaining doesn’t just apply to rummage sales but many other things as well. Buying a car, getting a hotel room, getting a discount at a store. As the hubby’s theroy goes, you might as well ask because you don’t know what they are going to say yes to.

A good rule of thumb might be to start low and then if they say no, bargain with them up to a price you are willing to pay. For example, if you are purchasing a used car….the asking price is $5000. In your mind(and maybe your pocketbook) you are willing to pay $4500 for that car. Start by asking if they will take $4000 for it. If not, then bargain your way up to $4500. If they aren’t willing to bargain and you aren’t willing, or can’t pay more than $4500, then walk away. There will be another car.

Every so once in a while I like to shop on Ebay. I can find things that I collect or that I will rarely find elsewhere. Something I’ve noticed is that it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the auction and thinking, well if I just bid a little bit more than maybe I will win. That’s why it’s good to know your set price before you start bargaining for the item. Know how much you are willing to pay(and how much the item is worth) before you even start asking. Without having that set limit you are bound to spend more than what you originally wanted to.

So to review:

  • Know what you are willing to spend on the item.
  • Start lower than what you are willing to spend.
  • Be prepared to walk away.

HERE is an old article I wrote about bargaining and using Freecycle, Paperback Swap, and more.

Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!

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