UK & World News
The fine art of haggling
Times are hard for many of us, but shops and suppliers are extra keen for our custom with Christmas on the way - so there could be some room for a bit of give and take.
This where the art of haggling comes in - you may think it's merely the preserve of the exotic souk or the concert ticket tout, but it might just save you some cash right now.
Here are five tips that may help with getting the price down in your Christmas season shopping:
1. Everything is negotiable - There isn't much that cannot be discounted, so try to persuade them to do it. Your aim is not to 'blink first' - they won't want you walk away and end the deal, so try to make them make you the offer. This may work best in commission-led shops.
2. Think about the extras - Buying a new tablet computer? Could you get a warranty or carry - case included? Ensure they know that it wouldn't hurt if they sweetened the pill a bit - and after all, if they think they'll get a satisfied customer who might tell their friends, then it can be worthwhile for them too.
3. Research the market - Use comparison websites to find the lowest price - then go into your chosen store knowing how much they'll have to lower it to if they want your custom.
4. Play them off each other - Where there are lots of shops selling the same product, you might want to go into all of the shops, quoting what you were offered elsewhere and see if you can get the price lower.
5. Don't be afraid to ask - Finally remember that you have nothing to lose, as all retailers ultimately want your custom. If you're in a major department store, it doesn't hurt to ask for free delivery. If you're after a broadband deal, perhaps ask for a free wireless router. What's the worst that can happen?
Some tips to manage your credit over the Xmas period
When to apply: Check your credit rating before you apply for a new store card or credit card. This will give you a better chance of understanding whether you are likely to be accepted. A 30-day free trial of Experian Credit Expert could help tell you what factors are affecting your rating, positively and negatively, and can help you improve it. If you check early you may have time to improve things before Christmas, or perhaps ahead of the sales.
Careful with your cards: They are of course a good way to spread your payments, but make sure you can afford to pay off what you put on them. Whatever you do, never miss a payment - they stay on your credit report for six years.
Avoid a rejection spiral: If you apply for a credit card and are declined, it's best not to apply for another one straightaway - find out why you weren't successful. Lenders could view repeated applications as a sign that you are struggling with your finances and might be a high risk.