Retiring cheap means getting great deals, and not getting hit with tourist prices. That means you’ll have to learn to haggle like a pro.

The key to haggling is simple. There will be all sorts of situations where you’re going to haggle. The key is just let them talk themselves down. A canvas duffle bag I was interested in Kuala Lumpur  began at $55 (160 rm) which immediately became $33 (100 rm) after I just looked at him with a “are you serious ?” face. I started to walk away and that low price that he had just quoted me “as a special to you, my friend” dropped to $22 (80 rm). After a few more steps he said ” ok ok how much much you pay?” 

So if you look at this transaction, the price immediately had dropped over 50 percent without me even saying a single word. Most travelers make the mistake of trying to get 50 percent off in an exchange. 

In heavily touristed areas like Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, vendors know this 50 percent trick and will almost always start at OVER 100 percent of what they would take.

What usually happens is

  • They’ll  open with a crazy inflated price let’s say hypothetically $30(300%),
  • You’ll quote half $15 (150%) 
  • They’ll meet you in the middle $22(200%)
  • You’ll usually counter with meeting in the middle again $18(175%). 
  • They’ll take your deal and guess what you’ve ACTUALLY paid over the $10 (100%) that they would have been happy to take in the first place! 


  • Just shake your head no. But smile, indicating interest.
  • Do not counter offer. (You have no idea how much it should be really.)
  • Let them just keep dropping the price. 
  • Then when they stop dropping the price.
  • Walk away. 
  • They’ll shout a final price. 

Then the real haggling begins. Go ahead and get the best price you can for real now.

  • When you’ve come to the best BEST best price you think you’ll get……..

That’s right just keep walking, in heavily touristed places like Chinatown there’s always 6 or 7 stalls selling the exact same merchandise. 

  • Find another stall and when you see the bag you want just start by telling him you’ll pay slightly below what the last guys best price was. 
  • Maybe another 10 or 20 percent off
  • Don’t let the new guy quote his price first. 
  • When he hears your price he’ll know that you know the REAL price and usually take the deal. 
  • In his head he’ll be thinking, “hey a quick sale, I don’t need to make the 100% price every time, I’ll get more from the next guy”
  • And just like that the bag is yours. That $55 (65rm ) bag? Mine for $15(45 4m)

If he doesn’t take your deal? You and him both know there are 4 other guys with the same exact bag around the corner. And worst case scenario you can walk back to the first guy.

Happy haggling is just a game and don’t take it too personally. You’re both playing to win, but it doesn’t have to be a death sport. Sometimes I get caught up in the haggle and realize I’m literally spending 5 minutes haggling over 10 cents. No need to be “that guy.”

I hope this article helped you with your goal of scoring cheap stuff while finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)