/ Money

Haggling to survive the cost of living crisis

Hand shake on a deal

You might have read how our chief exec Peter Vicary-Smith haggled on his car insurance. Have you caught the haggling bug? Using your power to bargain for a better deal can be the key to coping in today’s economy.

As a born and bred Brit, I’m used to sporting a stiff upper lip in difficult times. But events well out of my, and the vast majority of people’s, control over the past half a decade or so have seen the upper lip start to quiver.

The economy is on its way to recovering, apparently. A recent survey suggested that the UK economy would grow by 1.3% by the end of the year, faster than any other rich, developed nation. But while certain sectors might be enjoying a boost, the reality is many people are yet to experience any of the benefits.

The rising cost of living has steadily but surely swamped our once-burgeoning bank accounts. Inflation has outstripped wage growth for a number of years. In a bid to counter this fall in the ability to purchase, many people have raided savings or spent more on plastic to survive. But that cannot be sustainable – I know it isn’t for me.

So, how do you survive in the economic environment of today?

Bargain for a better deal

I’ve shaken off the shackles of stubbornness to wrestle back some control over my finances.

After making two phone calls I was, within an hour, nearly £400 a year better off and there wasn’t a payday loan in sight. I simply haggled with my mobile phone and broadband providers after finding better deals elsewhere. And I know from feedback that many Which? members are doing the same.

There was a time not so long ago that many of us, myself included, wouldn’t have dared ask for money off our bills, even if we thought we were paying over the odds. Not now. There might be a cost of living crisis, but there certainly isn’t a consumer confidence crisis when it comes to fighting for a better deal.

So if you’re still suffering in silence, pick up that phone and see what you can save.


Maybe one of the consequences of the last few years problems is to wake us up to the fact that living beyond our means is not sustainable. One “benefit” from this is to waken ourselves to haggling.
When we look at the remark above about the recovery – “the reality is many people are yet to experience any of the benefits” – this will inevitably come as the economy recovers when there is an ability to properly fund demands for wage increases. Imagine if measures had not been taken to stabilise the economy there would have been no such recovery, just further decline – I dread to think where we would be now. At least it seems we have the prospect of better times ahead.

I don’t buy alot of big things & I’m not with sky/virgin too. So I can’t haggle with anything like that.

But I do haggle with my phone and broadband. Not with my mobile as I take a new contract out via a cashback site as that works out more money for me.

But the best one is with Mr Patel at my local shop / post office. He has just moved into a larger shop and as such i buy my little bits from there (cleaning stuff etc) as I like to help support him….

But that doesn’t mean I pay whats on the shelf. I pick up what I want, he gets the cash and carry book out and we agree a price in the middle for each item, so i get money off and he makes some money too.

Works very well for us and its funny too.

Skint in the City says:
26 November 2013

I remember the day I learned that you could haggle on new furniture. I had just sold my first flat and the buyer came round, before she’d moved in, to measure up for curtains. She mentioned that she’d bought a suite of bedroom furniture from John Lewis. ‘Wasn’t that expensive?’ I couldn’t help asking. (My bedroom was furnished from charity shop finds). ‘Well,’ she smiled, ‘I was buying a few things so they gave me a great discount.’ When pressed further she revealed that she’d managed to get thirty percent off the ticket price. It was a revelation to me, but one that I immediately squirreled away for the future and since then, any time I’ve bought a large item I’ve always asked if they could better the ticket price. They almost always do, usually by 10%. At the very least they waive the delivery charge. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time: http://wp.me/p2rfwK-eP Bring on the bargaining!