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6 Expenses You Should Always Negotiate

We clip coupons, look out for sales and scour the Internet for discount deals to save money, but have you ever thought of just asking to pay less for something? While it’s the norm when buying a home or car, most Americans assume most set prices are non-negotiable. Think again! With a little know-how and a lot of courage, you can lower the cost of some of your priciest expenses. Are you thinking you just can’t hack haggling? I know. I never could bring myself to haggle – even at yard sales. Then I got wise. Why pay more for what you could get for less? Negotiating sounds scary, but once you get over that initial fear, you’ll find out how easy it is. Just follow these tips to get serious discounts on services, products and other expenses:

1. Cable/phone/Internet services

Ouch! Have you taken a look at your cable or phone bill lately? If you’re like me, you cringe every time you open your bill, never really knowing if your bill has skyrocketed due to expired promotions. Short of cutting out your cable completely, you can lower this cost with a little negotiation — just do a little research first. Find out what competitors charge new customers, then call up your provider and tell them that you’re thinking about switching providers unless they can match or beat the best deal. They’ll usually respond with a deal of their own.

2. Credit card fees

We’ve all been there (even though we hate to admit it). You missed your credit card payment and ended up with a big ol’ fee tacked on to your bill. If you generally pay on time, you can easily wipe this fee off your bill. Start off by apologizing that you were late making a payment. Explain that it was a mistake and won’t happen again, then ask to have the fee waived. Usually credit card companies will waive one late fee per year. If the rep won’t make an exception, tell her that you don’t want this one fee to make you consider switching credit card companies. Finally, ask to speak to a supervisor.

3. Gym memberships

Most gym customer service reps will do anything to keep your business when it comes time to renew your membership. Tell your rep, “I’ve been a member for (fill in the blank) years, and I’d hate to have to look elsewhere for a gym. Is there anything you can do to lower my cost?” Often, the rep will be able to eliminate annual fees or lower the cost of your monthly fee.

4. Home Services

When it comes to home services (such as yard maintenance or home repair), it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount. In this economy, small businesses such as these have been forced to raise their prices — however, they’re often willing to offer a discount to loyal customers. Offer to recommend their company to friends and family in exchange for a lower rate. Or, check out a few competitors, find the lowest rate, and see if they can beat it.

5. Furniture

Most furniture companies mark up their prices significantly. That means that even when they offer a sale, they’re still profiting. Ask for additional discounts or a special deal like a price reduction or free delivery. You’ll have a bit more leeway if you pay in cash. You can also look at competitor’s prices on the same furniture set and see if they can match or beat the lowest price.

6. Mortgage and Refinance Rates

While it may not be as easy as negotiating your cable bill, you also can negotiate your mortgage or refinance rate. The housing market has tanked making lenders willing to work hard to make a deal with consumers with high credit scores. Get a few quotes from different lenders, including interest rate and projected fees. Then ask, “Here’s the best offer I found. Can you beat it?” Lenders might also reduce their closing or application fees. If you’re considering refinancing or buying a home, these simple negotiations can save you thousands.

Don’t be afraid to haggle. You can negotiate on a lot more than you think. In fact, try using your newfound powers of negotiation on other services or products. The worst they can say is no!

This is a guest post by Rebecca from Brick, NJ
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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5 thoughts on “6 Expenses You Should Always Negotiate”

  1. nutritionsprite says:

    I just did this with my cable company. My promo offer was expiring and my bill was going to go from $56 to $89. I had to call twice, since the first person I talked to was trying to upgrade my service and have me pay $99. Which I thought pretty odd since I was happy with my service and I wanted to LOWER my bill. But the second time I called I spoke with a gentleman that was absolutely awesome and put me back on the same promo again. =)

  2. Juliana.Albertson says:

    Great ideas, thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good luck negotiating with the phone company if your provider is Frontier. They give awesome deals to new customers, but once your contract is up they don’t have any promotions or deals they are willing to give to existing customers. I’m at the point where I am going to drop them completely and switch over to cable for internet & phone – not because I want to, but because my bill jumped over $30 a month when my 1 year contract expired and Frontier wouldn’t work with me on the pricing. Calling Corporate also did no good – they admitted they don’t do anything to retain customers anymore (even getting rid of their customer retention department completely). Hope others have better luck than I did.

  4. Katie says:

    I’ll add – Mattresses! Go on the last day of the month. They need to report numbers and one more sale on the books is worth the low/no profit. We purchased our last mattress for less than 50%.
    Tip for car dealerships: go to a dealership that sells a large number of vehicles. They are more willing to negotiate because they can make up the lose on your vehicle on everyone else who doesn’t negotiate (because apparently not too many people even try! crazy, I know). We got $9k off our Toyota Highlander (with 0% financing) Also go towards the end of the month and just before the new years vehicles come in – they want to get those off the lot.
    Also, my OB gave me $500 off a $1400 bill just by paying in full. (I actually didn’t even ask). Love those FSA cards.

  5. Brittney says:

    Don’t forget negotiating deals with car dealers! I saved $1500 on the vehicle I bought! Plus most dealers will give you a full tank of gas free if you ask for it.