Insurance rates typically never decrease, but you can still negotiate—especially if you have home and auto insurance with the same company. When your policy renews, get a quote or two from a competitive source, and then present your insurance agent with the information. Chances are, the company will offer you a better rate.
Most renters never consider haggling over the cost of a space, but in many cases, landlords are willing to be flexible. This holds true especially if you’re a reliable long-term tenant. Consider doing one of the following in exchange for reduced rent: paying several months in advance, signing a lease for a longer period of time, giving up an unused parking space or storage unit, or helping with maintenance work like mowing, carpet cleaning, or painting.
Mortgage Rates, Closing Costs, or Points
Buying a home can be a confusing and scary process, but don’t assume that you have to pay for everything. Certain fees, such as city or county recording fees and taxes, are not negotiable. But other types of fees can and should be challenged, including mortgage application fees, appraisal fees, underwriting or processing fees, and mortgage insurance as well as actual mortgage rates and points. Home buyers may also want to negotiate with the sellers to see if they will pick up some of the closing costs and fees.
Appliances and Electronics
Consumers can save hundreds by haggling over the cost of big-ticket items like appliances and electronics. Many retailers offer “scratch and dent” sales or deep discounts on floor models, returns, and overstocks. Even though these items may already be discounted, start negotiating at 20 percent off the asking price to cut a better deal. You can set a deal in motion by asking for an item that is not in stock, such as a stainless steel refrigerator, and then “settling” for a different finish at a discounted price. It's also smart to inquire about a discount on a “bundle,” such as a washer/dryer set or a TV/DVD player. According to the Consumer Reports study, 94 percent of people who haggled for appliances and 89 percent who tried to bargain on electronics were successful at least once, and they saved an average of $200.
Did you know you can negotiate certain types of home services, including lawn care, gardening, driveway sealing or paving, cleaning, landscaping, and snow removal? Other types of professional services—like those performed by lawyers, accountants, tax preparers, music teachers, personal trainers, and even funeral directors—are also negotiable. For further discounts, consider asking for a “cash price,” which may be 10 or 15 percent lower than the credit price. You can also offer to pay in advance for a block of services and ask the provider to throw in “extra” sessions for free (for example, ask to get 12 sessions for the price of 10 sessions).
Credit Card Rates
When dealing with your credit card company, inquire about a lower annual percentage rate (APR) or an enhanced rewards package. There’s no harm in asking the card issuer to boost your reward points or waive a fee, as long as you typically pay on time and stay within your credit limit. Because most credit card companies prefer keeping long-term customers, you can also try telling them you’re considering transferring your balance to a competitor with a lower rate; you may end up with some discounts.
Furniture and Mattresses
Homeowners can often acquire new and used furniture for less than the listed price, especially when buying more than one piece. Many specialty furniture and mattress stores will offer a bulk discount on multiple items. Thrift stores as well often accept a bundle price when you buy more than one thing. If a retailer won’t budge on prices, consider asking for free delivery, a cash discount, or lower rates for a floor model.
Medical and Dental Services
Doctors and dentists want to retain existing customers and may be amenable to negotiations to maintain satisfaction. For instance, if you have a large medical bill, try asking for a lower price before the procedure; most providers would rather decrease their rates than have you skip out on payment. Also, keep in mind that some hospitals and doctors will accept a cheaper price if you pay in advance or within 30 days of your appointment.
Many colleges are open to negotiating tuition costs, especially for good students who will be an asset to their program. These discounts often come in the form of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. Some colleges also offer “family” discounts for children of alumni or for siblings attending the same school. Talk to a financial aid officer to learn about all available options.
Related: 17 Home Lessons We've Learned from Dorm Rooms
Tires and Car Care
Want a discount on tires? Many retailers will slash the price if you purchase four tires at the same time, or they’ll at least throw in extra services. Check out all the competitors in the area and see if your preferred dealer will match a competitor’s price. You can also shop for cheap tires online and have them mounted locally. Oil change and car detailing services are usually negotiable as well.
Related: 13 Hacks Every Car Owner Should Know
The More You Know...
It’s important to ask questions and do research before making a major purchase. Just as you might not have known that certain things are negotiable, you might not know where to find the best deals or that some stuff you could get for free from your town. Plus, friends, family and BobVila.com will give honest reviews, so you know you’re spending your money well.
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