A few years ago, I ran across one of the best (and easiest) price negotiation tips that I've ever encountered. It's quick. It's easy. It's painless. And it works great even if you're otherwise averse to haggling. Without further ado, here it is.
Seven magical words
Whenever you're faced with a financial negotiation, simply ask the following: "Is that the best you can do?" And then wait for a response. More often than not, those seven magical words will score you a better deal - sometimes a significantly better deal. And even if they don't, there's almost zero chance that you'll scuttle the deal.
when it comes to items you should definitely negotiate:
Credit card rates: Credit card companies want to keep your business so they'll try to work with you on payments and changing the interest rate. You can counter with another offer you've recently heard about or received.
Cable TV and Internet: If a cable company hears from you and that you're looking to reduce or stop, you'll likely get some sort of positive response.
Rent: A good strategy here is to do a little research and find out what rents of empty places in your neighborhood currently are. You can check ads. You can also ask neighbors for a rough estimate of rent in the area. Even if you don't get the dollar amount you're looking for, you might be able to get some extra stuff like pool privileges, a parking space, or some sprucing up of your pad.
When it comes to very large expenses, haggling often pays dividends too.
House: Offers and counteroffers are a complicated process when you're buying a home. The Guardian recommends finding the sellers remaining balance on their mortgage and negotiating from there. According to http://www.credit.com" target="_blank">Credit.com it's also a good idea to set deadlines on your offer to show that you're serious. This is great for people who don't like to haggle because it doesn't require you to get in the face of the seller.
Medical bills: Getting results here is often much easier than people realize. If you're covering the bill yourself, offer to pay the same as what an insurance company would pay. Insurance companies don't pay the same amount as individuals. If you want to use the price matching bargaining chip, you can review health care costs with Health Care Blue Book to check prices across the country to make sure you're not overpaying. If the charge is still too high, mentioning it might lead you to options like state-funded insurance, payment plans, and cash discounts.
Cars: Whether you're buying a used car or a new car, you can haggle on the price. The New York Times suggests bringing along your smartphone to help negotiate the deal. If a price seems out of place, look up the real value and get the dealer or private seller to drop the price. ABC also recommends you get the salesman to name the price first before making your offer. This helps you gauge where they're coming from and makes it easier to counter-offer. It's important to stick to the price you're willing to spend on a car no matter what.
Big ticket items always have a little leeway in the price and you can often save a lot of money by simply asking for a discount.