Can you haggle your way through the credit crunch?

While the credit crunch forces some of us to reconsider our monthly outgoings and make cutbacks, others think of it as a challenge; can they enjoy the same level of lifestyle through haggling?

One line in the household budgets that plenty of people aren't shy about haggling over, is subscription television; the HUKD forums have plenty of tales of consumers who have negotiated a better deal.

It's worth remembering that all the economic factors causing you financial grief mean similar headaches for the likes of Sky, Virgin Media and individual subscription channels. Ultimately, consumers can buy a Freeview box for less than a month's subscription; it may mean losing a few channels, but with multimedia subscriptions costing up to £60 a month, it's a sacrifice plenty of people are willing to make. Companies are also seeing their overheads rising, so they can't afford to lose customers too.

How successful is haggling? HUKD forum members seem to have done well out of it. Member tracyanne1 received a letter stating her Setanta subscription was rising from £9.99 to £12.99. Because she called and threatened to cancel, her bill remained at £9.99 a month.

Chanty has this advice for customers of Sky:

Tell them that you want to keep your packages but are struggling at the moment with the credit crunch! They should give you a reduced rate for a few months. They knocked off over £20 per month for three months when I did it earlier this year.

On the high street meanwhile, you can save money with nothing more than a keen eye. Forum member Virus posted a handy hint for customers visiting stores in the DSGi group - PC World, Currys and Currys Digital; any price tags that end in a 7 or an 8 (i.e. £89.97) mean the stock is clearance or discontinued. While it may have already been discounted, the store manager can often offer a further discount at their discretion. It won't always work, but now you know which products to keep an eye out for.

Foxy102 and DKLS found that you can haggle the price of white goods with the likes of Empire Direct, while it's always worth your while haggling over the price of a used car, as member Wolf359 discovered.

What's your advice? Have you managed to haggle your way to a saving on a household bill? What about building work, department stores or holidays? Leave your comments and help the rest of us through the credit crunch!

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