Haggling or negotiating can be uncomfortable for a lot of people. Most of us feel that it’s not appropriate in most situations, but that isn’t necessarily true—there are a lot of things that it’s perfectly acceptable to make an offer on or haggle on price. Here are some everyday things you can negotiate, and tips for how to do it successfully.
1. Retail purchases
Most people don’t realize that they can negotiate the price of goods in retail stores. While it may not always work, some shopkeepers are open to a little haggling—especially for high-priced items or if you’re a regular customer. Politely inquire if there are any discounts available or if they can offer a lower price. It never hurts to ask!
2. Rent and housing
Renting a home or apartment can be expensive, but don’t be afraid to negotiate your rent. If you have a good rental history and can commit to a longer lease, landlords may be willing to lower the rent or offer other incentives. When searching for a new place, explore your options and don’t shy away from negotiation.
3. Utility bills
Utility bills can be a major monthly expense. Call your service providers and ask if there are any promotions or discounts available. In some cases, you can negotiate a better rate or have certain fees waived, especially if you’ve been a customer for a while.
4. Internet and cable packages
Internet and cable providers often have various packages and promotions available. Before signing up, compare the offerings of different companies and negotiate the best deal possible. They may be willing to throw in premium channels or increase your internet speed for a reduced price. (Often, they’ll offer that discount for 6 months or a year… it’s okay to ask them to lock that discount in for 2 years, or indefinitely!)
5. Car purchases
Buying a car is a big financial decision. Whether you’re buying new or used, research the market value of the car you want and be prepared to negotiate with the dealer or seller. If you’re working with a dealer, ask about getting additional features or free or discounted maintenance included in the deal. Remember, dealers want to make a sale, and they may be willing to offer incentives to close the deal.
6. Medical bills
Medical debt can be overwhelming, but they’re often negotiable. If you’re facing a hefty medical bill, speak to the billing department or the hospital’s financial counselor. Many hospitals have financial assistance programs or are open to setting up payment plans that will work for you. They’d generally rather negotiate the bill down a bit to make sure you can pay it, than not get paid at all.
7. Credit card interest rates
If you have a good credit score but are stuck with a high interest rate, call your credit card company and negotiate a lower rate. Mention your loyalty as a long-time customer, as well as any better offers you’ve received from other banks. They might match the offer or even provide you with a more favorable rate.
8. Gym memberships
Gym memberships can come with hidden fees and extra charges. Negotiate with gym representatives to see if they can waive the initiation fee or offer a discounted monthly rate. Gyms are often open to negotiating if it means gaining a committed, long-term member.
9. Job perks
When you’re considering a new job or offered a promotion, don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms beyond just the salary. Ask about additional perks such as flexible working hours, remote work options, extra vacation days, or professional development opportunities. Employers are often willing to accommodate reasonable requests to get top talent!
10. Household chores and responsibilities
Negotiation isn’t only useful for money matters; it can also apply to your home life, including household chores and responsibilities. Whether you’re living with family or roommates, discuss and negotiate who will do what, to ensure fairness and cooperation.
Tips for Successful Negotiations
1. Do your research
Before negotiating, find out everything you can about the product, service, or situation. Knowledge is power, and being well-informed gives you an edge.
2. Be respectful and polite
Approach negotiations with a positive attitude. Being respectful and polite will generally make the other party more willing to accommodate you.
3. Make it a win-win
Aim for a win-win outcome where you can show benefits for both parties. It can help you close the deal, and also creates a strong base for future negotiations.
4. Stay calm and confident
Emotions can escalate during some negotiations, but staying calm and confident will help you be more effective and make sound decisions.
5. Practice active listening
Understand the other party’s needs and concerns. Active listening shows that you’re paying attention to them and value their perspective.
6. Be willing to walk away
Sometimes, negotiations don’t work out. Be prepared to walk away if the terms are not favorable or if the other party is unreasonable. Sometimes, this will even result in getting what you want. But if it doesn’t, it’s best to move on and find an alternative that works for you.
The bottom line: things you can negotiate
Negotiation is a valuable skill that can be applied to various aspects of our daily lives. From purchases to job offers, practicing negotiation can lead to better outcomes and improved relationships. Remember to be well-prepared, respectful, and open to compromise. With these skills, you’ll find yourself negotiating effectively, and getting what you want more often than not.