How to effectively haggle: Omaha locals give advice

From left to right: Stefanie Monge (owns businesses in Omaha), Michael Stenson (works at Jim's Seek & Save), Erin Bass (business professor at University of Nebraska Omaha)

You want to make sure you get a good deal anytime you buy or sell something, but where and how do you start?

Some people in Omaha say they can get great deals on certain items every week because they know how to effectively haggle.

"As an entrepreneur I’ve bootstrapped all of my businesses,” said Stephanie Monge who is a local business owner.

"Be ready to buy,” said Michael Stenson. He works at an antique shop.

"If you don't ask you're going to pay the price,” said Erin Bass who is a business professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

All three of these people have lots of experience haggling and now they want to share advice on how to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Monge said, "There's so many things you can haggle for that you don't even realize."

Monge learned how to negotiate when she wanted to travel abroad for two years. She sold everything she owned.

"I was definitely a little bit nervous when I started."

10 years later she now considers herself a pro. She was able to raise money to start a business through haggling.

She even did it when she got married in Las Vegas. A lot of guests attended and they stayed at the same hotel, but she didn't like the room she and her husband were assigned.

Monge said, "I decided that I would just go to the front desk and I would just air my concerns, and talk about all of the business we'd brought to ended up that we got upgraded to like a way nicer suite on a much higher room."

Bass and Monge both say there are some things you need to know before you start making a deal, starting with doing your research.

Monge said, "You really have to have a good idea of how much things cost and how much other people are willing to pay for them...if you're looking for a handbag knowing, you know, whether it's a synthetic material versus all leather, recognizing sort of like the difference in the price of something like that and like using that as a starting point."

Bass says that if you plan to buy you also need to ask a lot of questions such as “does it work? What is the condition of the product? How long have you had the product? Can I take a look at the product before we settle on a price? Can I test the product ahead of time?"

If you're still game Monge says don’t offer your maximum price. Start a little bit lower and see how the seller reacts. This gives you some room for give and take.

If you're a seller her advice is to make sure that you're pricing accordingly. You shouldn’t offer your rock bottom price. Start out pricing higher so that it gives the buyer room to haggle.

It’s also good to know the market and whether an item is rare. Stenson has plenty of experience in this. He works at Jim's Seek and Save.

Stenson said, "If you come across too hard, too harsh, your salesperson probably isn't going to react that positively to you.”

This could mean the end of negotiating.

Bottom line: you need to be realistic when you're trying to haggle as a buyer and a seller.

Monge said, "I think there's a point where you can realize or recognize that you're getting a good value, and it doesn't always make sense to try to haggle or try to get a better bargain."

Bass said, "Just because you spent a hundred dollars when you first purchased it doesn't mean that it's still worth a hundred dollars today."

Haggling is especially popular on websites where people buy, sell and trade. Just remember to always be safe about how you make a transaction. If you meet with someone always do it in a busy, well-lit area.

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