Hone your bargaining skills in Spanish

Let’s face it, who doesn’t like a bargain? Haggling with native market sellers is the ideal opportunity to practise your Spanish with the locals. After recently using my Spanish haggling skills successfully(!) when buying souvenirs in Buenos Aires, here are my top tips for getting the best items at the best price at any Spanish-speaking market.
Top Tip: Arrive early! Stall holders usually want to make a quick sale to kick start their day, so will be eager to sell at any price if you go first thing.

Basic bargaining phrases

¿Cuánto cuesta esto? How much does this cost?
¿Cuánto vale? How much is it worth?
Es demasiado caro. It’s too expensive.
Es barato. It’s cheap.
Es razonable. It’s reasonable.
No es justo. It’s not fair.


regatear / negociar: to barter / negotiate
acordar un precio: to agree a price
la mitad del precio: half the price
una ganga / el chollo: a bargain
¡un robo! / ¡un atraco!: a burglary!
¡un asalto!: a holdup!
el timo / la estafa: a rip-off / swindle
¡vaya timo!: what a rip-off!
timado: ripped-off
engañado: deceived
decepcionado: disappointed

An example dialogue

Shopper: ¿Cuánto cuesta este bolso? How much is this bag?

Stallholder: Veinte euros, un regalo. Twenty euros, a giveaway.

Shopper: ¿Tiene otros más baratos? Do you have any cheaper ones?

Stallholder: Tengo este, en marrón. I have this one in brown.

Shopper: No me gusta ese color. I don’t like that colour.

Stallholder: Este en gris, a quince euros. This one in grey, for fifteen euros.

Shopper: Me gusta. ¿A diez euros? I like it. Ten euros?

Stallholder: No puedo. Menos de doce es un insulto. I can’t. Less than twelve is an insult.
Doce euros cincuenta, último precio. Twelve euros fifty, last price.

Shopper: Bueno, me lo llevo. Ok, I’ll take it.

Other useful bargaining phrases

¿Qué antigüedad tiene? How old is it?
¿Dónde se elaboran? Where are they made?
hecho en China: made in China
hecho a mano: hand-made
típico: typical
auténtico: authentic
¡qué bonito! / ¡qué lindo! (LA):  how pretty!
no tengo suficiente dinero.: I don’t have enough money.
no me queda dinero.: I don’t have any money left.
está roto: it’s broken
no funciona: it doesn’t work
hay un agujero: there is a hole
hay una mancha: it has a stain
hay un defecto: it’s faulty
feo: ugly
hortera: tacky
el tipo de cambio: the exchange rate
la libra está fatal: the pound is in a terrible state

¡Suerte con tus compras! (Good luck with your shopping!)


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