If you’ve negotiated yourself a better salary, then you may be wondering where else you can put those haggling skills to use.
It turns out your rent, internet bill, personal training sessions, and even medical treatments might all be negotiable if you just ask.
“Negotiating doesn’t have to be about haggling but about clear and polite communication about what feels comfortable for you price-wise,” Kristen Euretig, a certified financial planner at Brooklyn Plans, told INSIDER. “It never hurts to try and it might save you a chunk of change.”
Here are 10 surprising things you can negotiate.
1. Your rent
“Rent is a big one people don’t realise they can negotiate,” Pamela Capalad, a certified financial planner and founder of Brunch & Budget, told INSIDER, adding that you can negotiate from different angles.
“If you’re a new renter, you can ask if they will reduce the monthly amount, if they will cover more utilities (i.e. electricity or gas is included in the monthly rent), or if they will accept a smaller security deposit (i.e. just first month’s rent vs. first and last month’s rent),” Capalad said.
“If you’re an existing renter and your landlord is raising the rent on you, you can negotiate that as well if you’ve been great and long-term tenants,” she said.
You can ask for a smaller increase in exchange for signing a longer lease or even ask if they will make some upgrades to the home while you’re there, she added.
2. Clothes and other items at big department stores
You’ve probably never thought about simply asking for a discount when buying clothes or other items at major stores, but Capalad said you should.
“I’ve seen my mum do this at every single large retailer ever,” she said. “When she gets to the cashier, she asks them if there are any discounts she should know about that day or might be eligible for. I used to be really embarrassed when she did this (because everything is embarrassing when you’re a teenager), but now I do it myself. Especially at places where they often seem to run coupons or specials for people on their email list, they will often have the coupon at the register and will gladly apply it to your purchase.”
Teig Stanley, a financial planner at Financial Finesse, seconded this suggestion.
“Always ask for at least 10% off at a ‘big-box’ store whenever you shop there,” Stanley told INSIDER. “It will take a few more minutes because a manager has to approve, but this approach never fails me and sometimes leads to even bigger discounts when I uncover hidden manufacturer incentives.”
3. Your cable and internet bills
This one can be trickier if you live somewhere where there’s only one company. But if you notice your bill creeping up Capalad said, “it’s worth calling them to threaten to leave or reduce service.”
“You will be sent to a special customer retention department where they have the ability to offer you ‘new customer’ deals even as an existing customer.”
Greg Ward, director of the Financial Wellness Think Tank at Financial Finesse, said he successfully negotiated his satellite TV bill.
“Basically, I called and asked to ‘cancel’ my service,” he told INSIDER. “…I said I’d like to stay (having been a loyal customer for several years), but other service providers were offering me better deals. I gave them a choice: either decrease my bill, increase my level of service, or terminate my contract.”
The company offered Ward more services in return for a reduced price “to keep him loyal,” he said.
“One hiccup is that I have to call every three to six months to ‘request’ the same discounts, but it is a small price to pay for a $US360 annual savings,” Ward said.
4. Your cell phone bill
“Cell phone companies will fight to keep your business, especially now that so many of them are going back to unlimited data plans,” Capalad said.
The best way to approach your company about a discount is to tell them if you’ve been shopping around but would rather stay loyal to them if they can offer a comparable plan or extras, she said.
5. Medical procedures and treatments
Kelley Long, a financial planner at Financial Finesse, has experience negotiating the cost of elective medical treatments or procedures. For her, it was fertility treatments.
“It’s big business and everything is negotiable – the cost of the procedure, the meds, and even refunds if the procedure doesn’t result in the wished-for outcome,” she said. “It took tenacity, but we ended up being compensated not only for unused services when IVF failed, but we also got our clinic to reimburse us for meds they had us order that we never needed.”
When it comes to negotiating a medical procedure, Stanley said he starts by stating what he’ll pay for a certain service, or he’ll request a long-term 0% interest payment plan.
“Remember, in the US, medical care is a business and is therefore negotiable,” Stanley told INSIDER. “It’s not rude to ask a business owner (usually the doctor or dentist in this case) what their cost is before profit and then offer a reasonable premium over cost.”
6. Vacation homes and condo rentals
You might be able to get a better deal on your next vacation rental if you’re willing to compromise.
“I negotiate the cleaning fees on these if they are higher than what I consider reasonable,” Stanley told INSIDER. “I offer to clean the place myself (I’m a clean person anyway) and let the landlord judge. I get cleaning fees waived about half the time.”
7. Personal training and other private lessons
You can often get cheaper rates on things like piano lessons or personal training, according to Cynthia Meyer, a certified financial planner at Financial Finesse.
“I’ve negotiated 10 to 20% discounts on personal training, language learning and sports lessons just be being willing to pay upfront for a package of multiple lessons,” Meyer told INSIDER.
When it’s a service offered by an individual, Euretig said it’s important not to low-ball or offend the provider.
“Approach it from the standpoint that you know they provide a valuable service that is worth the price they are asking, but that it is a high price point for you,” she advised. “Would they be willing to work something out so that you can benefit from their service? You don’t want to come from a place of haggling or devaluing someone providing a service.”
8. Event spaces
Euretig told INSIDER that prices for renting out event spaces are usually negotiable.
“I’m currently planning a baby shower and have found that the first price event spaces give is often quite high and probably intended for corporate clients who have an events budget,” she said. “You can negotiate with them by offering to do your own clean up, bring your own equipment like speakers, etc. and use less of the services that they’d normally package in the cost.”
9. Credit card fees
Many rewards credit cards charge an annual fee, but you might be able to get around them.
“I have yet to pay an annual fee on the points cards I use for travel because I call a month before the annual fee comes around and ask the company to waive it,” Stanley told INSIDER. “As long as I’ve been using the card and paying on-time (these are the reasons they give) I save myself at least a $US100 per year per card.”
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