Don’t always assume the price you see is the price you pay. With a little tenacity and some haggling know-how you can save a bundle.

You’ll be amazed at the difference a polite request can make. Haggling can save you hundreds of pounds a year on electricity bills, gym memberships and laptops. Here are 3 tips to making a success of it.

Always compare

You’re probably aware that shopping around is essential to getting the best deal. But you can take things a step further by playing retailers against one another. Sites like Pricerunner give you an exhaustive list of prices for the item you want at a range of different stores. Rather than simply going with the cheapest, try contacting the other retailers on the list to see if they can do better. There’s a good chance that at least one will offer a further discount or throw in a couple of extras to earn your business. You can also use this technique in some of the larger high street stores. While there are additional costs to running a brick and mortar outlet, some do commit to matching prices online. This will also save you money on postage and packaging.

Stay silent

One of the best ways to get ahead in negotiations is to remain silent after you’ve made your request. This will feel weird at first, but that’s actually why it works so well. Most people find silence extremely uncomfortable, particularly in conversation with people they don’t know well. It makes the other party feel like the onus is on them to respond, so they’re more likely to offer concessions and discounts. Just be judicious with how and when you use it. It’s most effective in the later stages of negotiations.

Make use of live chat

Most large retailers and service providers now let you speak with advisers via live chat windows. These are a boon to the haggler for two reasons. Firstly, it removes the awkwardness of asking for a discount over the phone or in person. It feels much easier to ask someone for something when you can’t see or hear them and you don’t have to worry about how you’re coming across. Secondly, many retailers offer exclusive deals through their chat windows. If you ask nicely, you’ll often receive a discount code to apply to your order.

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