I’m not sure what it is, but the folds in my wallet seem to stiffen when I’m abroad, and the once stingy contraption remains open for the entirety of my trip, ready at the first hint of anything cool to cough up all its possessions on the spot. To combat the problem of overspending, I’ve written down a few ideas and tactics that help me keep my wallet relatively full, even if I am finding it open more than usual.
- Don’t buy anything right away! Even it you “just gotta have,” you can most likely “just gotta have it” somewhere else, and it might be cheaper. Take a walk through the entire market to see prices from a few vendors. Chances are that they sell similar things and have different feelings about offering you a lower price.
- Once you pick out the item and the place to buy it try to engage the owner in a general conversation. Shopping is more a social event than business transaction. If you can speak the same language ask how long he or she has been selling the goods and other questions about his business or the area. If you are unable to have short conversations then ask the price of a few items. Don’t look overly eager to buy any one thing or they will hike the price up.
- After you ask the price don’t be afraid to shake it off with a laugh or look of disbelief. Make a face like you just ate a batch of sour grapes. Ask the price of something else before returning your interest in the original item. If you’ve gauged the market price and know what you are willing to pay for the item, it’s perfectly fine to let the vendor know that you think he’s boosted his prices.
- Venders will not show you any respect or offer their best price if you respond to his initial offer with a ridiculously low number. Remember, you’re not trying to rip anyone off, just get a fair price. Keep your lowball offers at about 50%, maybe 25% if you’re going to buy a few items.
- Lastly, don’t be afraid to walk out. But be sure not to just rush out in a huff. Take it slowly. Gived the vendor a chance to stop you or at least offer a lower price. Even hesitating just before you walk away to briefly inspect a different item works wonders. Always thank the vendor for his time and remember that you can always return if you realize that whatever the price, you “just gotta have it.”