Unless you have SO much money that you’re happy overpaying for things, you should never be ashamed to haggle and negotiate for a better deal on just about anything. If you think that it’s embarrassing to ask for a better price, you need to get over yourself and realize that it’s more embarrassing being broke. This is especially good advice for women – who on average pay about 46% more for goods and services than men since we see negotiating price as an uncomfortable task.
Remember, if you do it correctly, you won’t come off looking cheap or cheesy. Trust me, you’ll be happy you opened up your mouth and saved some money. Here is how to negotiate the price of almost anything:
The Key to Haggling
- Be educated on the price of whatever is being negotiated. If you know someone is offering it cheaper, just ask for a match. I did this recently with a moving company – I found one that I wanted to use, but they were quoting $150 more than a competitor who didn’t have quite as good of a reputation. All I had to do was ask them to match the price and they happily did.
- Be confident and willing to take your business elsewhere (or at least make it seem like you would be more than willing to walk away).
- If the price cannot be lowered, see if they can throw in extras like free delivery or accessories.
- Be willing to pay cash for products – you are more likely to get a deal when vendors save on credit card fees.
- Be persistent – sometimes you need to speak to a manager or retention department to find someone who has the power to negotiate the price.
- Be friendly. No one wants to help an a-hole.
Services Worth Negotiating
Credit card interest rates: With all of the 0% intro offers out there, it’s become easier to just threaten your bank to switch to a different card offering a lower rate. Many issuers will want to retain you as a customer and adjust your rate to something more reasonable.
Cable TV/Internet: Make it an annual ritual to call your provider and ask for a better price. There is always competition offering great new customer promotions, so call and reference these deals. Let them know that you would like to stay a customer, but they need to lower your bill. The retention department will always find a way to keep you a customer by offering promotions and discounts.
Cell phone: Did you go out of the country and rack up a ton of charges? Call up your provider and let them know you weren’t aware of the roaming or that you didn’t actually make that many calls. Yes, I’m saying you should play dumb and I can guarantee they will help knock some of the price off your bill. You can also call and ask for any current promotions that will help bring your monthly bill down – it’s always worth asking.
Rent: I wrote a whole article on this: 4 Ways to Negotiate your Lease Renewal. If you’re moving into a new place, always offer at least $100 less than what they’re asking and see how much you can negotiate the price. Same thing when it comes to renewing – use my tips to avoid rent increases – NEVER just let them raise your rent.
Gym Membership: Going in at the end of the month to sign up will help you negotiate because membership advisors need to hit sales goals. Let them know that you won’t be paying an initiation fee because other gyms in the area are waiving it, and see if they can also match the membership price – also offer to pay the full year up front for a further discount. If you refer alot of people to your current gym, you should also use this as leverage when your renewal comes up.
Medical bills: If your insurance company doesn’t cover the full price of something, or you have a high deductible plan – most doctors will lower your bill if you ask them. First you should always appeal your bill because it may just be a coding error (ehow wrote an aricle about How to Appeal a Denied Medical Bill) – but if that doesn’t work, go straight to the doctor’s accounting department and cry about how poor you are and see what kind of mercy they bestow. If you can pay within 30 days and/or pay cash – your chances of a discount are even greater.
Products Worth Negotiating:
Privately owned stores: You can’t walk into Best Buy and negotiate the price with the 18 year old salesperson, but if you’re shopping at a small independently owned store, you can almost always ask for a better price. I’ve learned that if you can offer to pay in cash that they can usually lower the price or offer to deduct the tax.
Craiglist/eBay purchases: Whenever you area buying on an online marketplace, remember that people are getting rid of this stuff because they don’t want or need it anymore, so it is generally worth very little to them. Especially if they have been trying to sell it for a while, people will be more than willing to accept a reasonable offer. Simply give a low-ball price accompanied by either a reason (a flaw in the product) or the fact that you have cash and are ready to make the sale right away. Sometimes on eBay, sellers will be willing to lower the price if the sale is done offline from eBay and you pay them direct through paypal to avoid fees. Just be careful, since these transactions are not protected by eBay’s policies.
Furniture/Mattresses: These things are so marked up that you can almost always haggle a better price simply by asking. Even if they’re unable to lower the price, many companies will be able to negotiate delivery charges or installation.
Remember, the worst thing that could happen is the salesperson says no. Being afraid to bargain is a sign of weakness! You’re being smart, frugal and assertive… and I promise it feels really good to get what you want and save money (especially when you get off on this stuff like I do).