Heather Wheeler | 

8 Common Expenses You Didn't Know You Can Negotiate

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People claim you can negotiate things like medical bills or damaged items, but how do they actually do it?

I’ve personally negotiated every one of these prices, and I guarantee it’s worth asking nicely to get a discount up to 15% before making a purchase. Sometimes they’ll say no, but you’ll never know unless you take a deep breath and ask!


1. Ask for a 10% discount on returned items or bundles of product accessories at Best Buy.

I’ve found that the sales team at Best Buy is fairly open to negotiating prices when it comes to already-discounted floor models, returned items like TVs, or even bundles of accessories.

If there isn’t already a sign advertising a discount for the bundle of accessories you want, ask for a 10% discount. Same goes for floor models and returned items. Just look for a red tag marked “Open Box.”


2. Get a 10% discount on floor models or imperfect items at furniture stores.

When looking for furniture, I always check the showroom for any items with scratches or dents. If I spot something I want that has an imperfection I can deal with, I ask the salesperson if they’re willing to sell it to me at a discount. I leave my discount question open-ended, because I don’t want to lowball the discount by asking for a 10% discount, when they’d normally give me up to 15% off. Sometimes they say no, but I’ve scored 10-15% off coffee tables and dented couch sets.

Or, try telling the salesperson that you’re looking for a deal, and are curious if any furniture sets are phasing out of the store. Ask if they’d be willing to let you know when the floor model needs to go once their inventory is gone, and if you can get a discount for taking it off their hands.


3. Ask your internet provider for the latest ‘new contract’ incentive price.

Every year or two when my home internet contract is running out, I call the company and tell them I’d like to renew my contract, but only if I can get their current ‘new contract’ incentive pricing.

Last time, I knocked $20/month off my bill for another year, and got a free new modem to use as well. If you’re short on time, have the professional team of negotiators at Billcutterz do the talking for you. They knock an average of 30% off monthly bills (just know they keep a 50% commission on the savings for the first 12 months).


4. Call your medical billing office to ask for a discount on any large hospital bills.

Hospitals have to write off a certain amount of bills every year to remain a non profit (it’s called charity care), so why shouldn’t some of those bills be yours? I had some exorbitant medical bills after my son was born — I’d maxed out my insurance deductible and was reaching the top of my out-of pocket expenses as well (around $13,000 total out-of-pocket).

I called the billing office and nicely asked to have a meeting with a billing specialist. I brought in my huge stack of bills and asked if I could have any type of discount. They helped me find two billing errors totalling around $300, and knocked another $1,200 off my bill to help with the expense.



5. Ask your selling agent to drop their 3% realtor fees down to 1.5-2%.

When we were selling our house, I was so nervous to ask about a 1.5% commission discount with our selling agent, but the housing market was booming and I figured my house would sell within a few days — meaning minimal work for the agent. She accepted the 1.5% commission discount, our house sold within three days, and we saved $3,885.

I recommend looking for an agent you trust but who is just starting their career and hoping to find repeat customers and referrals. They’re more likely to bite, or go down at least 0.5%, which will still save you a solid chunk of cash.


6. Get two or more autobody quotes for your car, and price match the lowest estimate.

Autobody shops (and most service technicians) are eager for work. Your business can mean referrals and repeat clients. So if you have some auto body work to be done, get a few estimates and ask the shop you feel the most comfortable with to price match their cheaper competitor.


RELATED: How to Save on Fuel Expenses for Your Car


7. Head to an independent jeweler at the end of the month and ask for a sale price.

Independent jewelers are more willing to negotiate than large chain jewelers like Kay or Fred Meyer. If you’re looking to purchase something, head in at the end of the month when commissions are due, and ask if you can get any recent sale pricing on your item. I’ve had $100 knocked off a diamond band because I missed a sale price, but they wanted the commission that day.

If they won’t give you the discount, ask for the date of their next sale so you know when to return.


8. Ask the produce manager for a 20% discount on overly ripe fruit.

We’ve all seen cartons of overly ripe strawberries sitting in the produce department and kept on walking. Next time, grab the package (if it’s at least 75% decent enough to eat), and ask to speak with a produce manager. Let them know you’d like to purchase the fruit but would like a discount because it’s nearing the end of its shelf life.

Grocers want perishable food sold before they can’t make any money off the product anymore, so you’re likely to score a discount. Just chop it up and freeze what’s still good for later.


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