The frugal negotiator can save tons of money (and make much more)

negotiateToo many people only think of negotiating for the best price when they’re buying a car, however, there are many other products and services that you pay for that you probably didn’t know you can negotiate the price on. It’s quite ironic how much time “frugal” people are willing to spend in clipping coupons, comparing prices, researching deals, waiting and watching, but they still never truly get the best deal they can – because they don’t ask for it. Many people are just uncomfortable when it comes to negotiating and thus leave significant savings on the table, or give their money away because they fear confrontation.

Most people would be surprised as to how easy it really is to negotiate and how large an impact they could make on their finances by simply asking for a better price. Below, I will list a number of items that you probably didn’t think you could negotiate a better price on, as well as provide you some tips to overcoming your negotiating fears.

Here’s a list of products or services you can potentially save a bunch of money on by simply negotiating:

  • College Tuition – Got more than one kid that will attend the same private high school or college? Have a financial hardship? Just ask and see what they can do to lower your cost.
  • Clothing – Retailers have significant mark-up in their pricing and managers do have the ability to offer discounts if you ask. Look for flaws in the items being purchased and use those to your advantage in discounting the item you want.
  • Mattresses (beds) – Significant markups and dirty sales tactics lead you to believe that there’s little margin for these guys in their pricing. The fact is, if you’re paying more than half of the retail price, you’re probably throwing away money. Check out this guide to buying mattresses to save a bunch of loot!
  • Hotels – You can save tons of money by haggling. Check out this site for more info and confessions from a hotel GM.
  • Cosmetic Surgery- Negotiate before hand and save money!
  • Cable – You’ve been loyal and they want to keep you – what are they going to do to keep you? Just ask!
  • Groceries – You’re a loyal customer who comes back time and time again, ask and you shall receive.
  • Mortgage Rates – Even if you’re upside down with a second mortgage, you can negotiate with your primary lender to drop the rates or you’ll look elsewhere to refinance your first loan. Here’s a great article on doing so.
  • Home purchases – In markets like these, you can definitely low ball offers and make out like a bandit. Here’s some info to help you.
  • Airline tickets – This Forbes article recommends going through an agent and haggling the lower prices than you can find online, because the agent may have more flexibility.
  • Parking tickets and Traffic Tickets – You can negotiate your fines with local municipalities to often surprising results.
  • Income Taxes – The IRS would rather have some money than none. Speak to an IRS rep and see what they can do for you, even if it’s simple a lower cost payment plan than racking up debt on credit cards you otherwise wouldn’t have to.
  • Medical Bills – There is still flexibility even if your insurance company has already secured a lowered price. Call the doctors medical biller and see what they can do for you.
  • Gap Insurance – If you must buy Gap through a dealer, ask for their lowest price. Compare it to the local credit union and ask them to match. If they can’t walk away.
  • Car Insurance – Talk to your agent and see what discounts you can qualify for. Compare companies and try and combine all insurance policies through one company for significant savings.
  • Vacation time – Don’t settle for the standard time offered. Most companies that tell you that they’re not flexible truly are. Sell yourself.
  • Salary – It’s important to not focus on salary or vacation until they want you. Employers will do more things for people they want.
  • Garage Sales – Everything can be haggled if you’re willing to walk away.
  • Craigslist items and services – You should never pay full price for something on Craigslist.
  • Haircuts and beauty supplies –  Don’t be afraid to ask for price matching. Stylists rarely care and in fact many like it because it leaves the customer more money to tip them.
  • Jewelry – Same ole same ole… here’s a cool guide to help you.
  • Cell Phone Plans and cell phones – wait to negotiate until your contract is up for the most bargaining power.
  • Professional services like Lawyers, Accountants, Plumbers, Carpenters, etc.. – Negotiate prior to receiving service but keep in mind that if you cut too deep it could affect your service level.

You hate negotiating and or it makes you uncomfortable? Doesn’t it make you more uncomfortable to realize you’re not getting the best deal you can?

When it comes to overcoming your negotiation fears, you must change your buying perspective.

You feel like you’re screwing them over? It truly comes down to your understanding that by your striking a deal, both parties will still come out as winners. If you go and buy something and don’t negotiate, you’re ripping yourself off. If you simply leave them without giving them a chance to lower their price, you’re hurting them. Give them a chance to compete, a sale with low margin is still better than no sale at all.

You spend all that time being a frugal person, yet you don’t take the final steps to realize complete frugality. It doesn’t make sense to spend hours on research and price comparison to save 10% and then leave another 10% or more in potential discounts on the table because you can’t spend another couple of minutes trying to get the best price.

It may take you a few times negotiating before you hone your skills and start to feel comfortable. Here is another resource on different and effective negotiation skills I recommend you read when you get a chance, with an emphasis on the art of persuasion.

Several of the items above were featured on an old article over at Forbes.

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2 Comment

  1. […] The frugal negotiator can save tons of money (and make much more … […]

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