Everyone likes to save money, but it’s easy to miss opportunities to get a little extra money or other benefits, even when they’re staring you in the face. Here are 10 things you may be able to improve just by asking the right questions.
1. YOUR BENEFITS PACKAGE
You knew you could negotiate on your salary, but it’s not always about the money. It can be tough to get hiring managers to budge on dollars and cents, but you can use things like more vacation days, a bigger office, or the option of working from home as bargaining chips during your negotiations. Instead of just padding your bank account, you can sometimes come out ahead by thinking about the bigger picture.
2. YOUR JOB TITLE
Similarly, instead of automatically asking for more cash, consider asking your employer if you can have an upgraded title if your current one feels outdated or doesn’t encompass your entire contribution to the company. Words like “coordinator” sound a lot better than “assistant” on resumes.
3. UNWANTED FEES
Missing a payment on a credit card or finding weird fees on a bill does not always have to end with you shelling out more cash. Calling the companies to explain your case and negotiate for lower rates or the removal of charges often works.
4. FURNITURE PRICES
Remember that manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) and showroom prices are not written in stone. Products are usually not listed for sale at their absolute best price because the retailer is naturally looking to make as much profit as they can. Try negotiating for a discount or extras like free shipping. It can also pay to shop around to see if the same product is available for a better price. If you present that information to a retailer, they may be willing to sell for less to keep from losing the sale to a competitor.
5. MEDICAL BILLS
Seeking medical attention can be expensive, but there are options when it comes to making payments. Instead of ignoring notices and invoices, ask if there are ways that you can reduce your burden with a payment plan, or if you can lower your total bill by qualifying for waivers or credits.
6. ART PRICES
Unless you’re trying to buy a masterpiece at auction or some other six-figure piece, don’t be afraid to ask dealers or artists for a break on the price. Galleries usually take a percentage of the selling price as their commission, but losing a few dollars is still a better deal to them than losing an entire sale. And artists often like dealing with someone who appreciates their work but can’t afford the list price. Paying in installments is also a common practice.
7. SERVICES AROUND THE HOUSE
Need someone to paint your house, mow your lawn, or fix your shingles? Estimates are exactly what the word suggests. Bargaining with someone for their time and labor can be tricky, but both parties should understand that there are other contractors out there that may be willing to work for a few dollars less.
8. FOOD PRICES
Menu prices are not always binding contracts. If you were not satisfied with the food, you can ask your server to have something taken off of the bill. Grocery bills also leave some room for negotiation if the shopper can show a better price from another retailer or a discrepancy with the sales advertisement.
9. JEWELRY PRICES
Similar to furniture, jewelry prices are often inflated to maximize dealers’ profits. Unless it’s a custom piece, negotiate for a percentage off of the sticker price.
10. HOTEL PRICES
If a hotel is not in the midst of its peak season and there are a lot of empty rooms, you may be able to get a discount on the nightly rate (especially if you’re planning to stay a while). Speak to a manager and hope for the best. Even if the price is firm, you may be able to get some perks, like a free breakfast or a room with a better view.