Many times when I’m analyzing cash flow situations, clients feel like they are doing everything they can to save money. However, one area that most people don’t know about is the fine art of negotiating. I’ve listed several examples below that I have used myself. The more you realize how negotiable prices really are, the more you start asking and looking for those opportunities.
Credit Cards: If you are in the process of paying off credit card debt, you may be in a position to negotiate a better interest rate on your current balance, if you’ve been making all your payments on-time. This isn’t quite as easy as it used to be with the tightening of credit the last couple of years, but you can still save. The first step is to call your current credit card company and tell them that you’d like to cancel your card because you can get a better interest rate somewhere else. The phone representative will immediately transfer you to a special department that will try everything they can to get you to stay. You should have an interest rate in-mind that you would like the company to match. Ask for this rate, and see what they tell you.
Trash Service: In a neighborhood I used to live in that didn’t have a HOA, I noticed that there were two different companies picking up trash during the week. One of the companies was a reliable company that I had used previously. However, it turns out that their rate was $10 more than the other company’s rate. When I spoke to a representative about that, she said they would be happy to match that same rate for me. So, if there’s ever a specific company that you would like to work with, whether it’s trash pick-up or anything else, but they charge more, make sure to ask if they will match the price of their competitors.
Cable/Internet/Phone: With the popularity of satellite tv, internet streaming, and a few different cable providers around town, this is a very competitive market. Chances are you’ve noticed your current provider offering promotions for ‘new customers only.’ Why shouldn’t current customers get the same deal? Especially considering that you could cancel your service and switch to a competitor to become a ‘new customer’ and receive a special promotion.
Tires: Buying tires can be a very expensive purchase. Unfortunately, most people don’t know that tire prices are always negotiable! The average person walks into the store, receives a quote on a few different types of tires, and picks one. The last time I needed to buy tires, after receiving the quote, I asked if they could take $100 off. Not only did the manager agree to that, he also included free lifetime balance/rotation, as well as a free road hazard warranty. In addition to trying to negotiate a lower price, it never hurts to try and get a few extra perks thrown in as well.
Hopefully this article will give you a few ideas on how you can save with some of your expenses. It definitely takes some practice to get comfortable with negotiating, but if you knew you could save a few hundred bucks by just asking, wouldn’t you want to?
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John P. Chladek, MBA, CFP® is the President of Chladek Wealth Management, LLC, a fee-only financial planning and investment management firm specializing in helping families and couples who are not yet retired realize their financial goals. For more information, visit http://www.chladekwealth.com.