Are You Afraid To Negotiate?

Many people don’t like to negotiate, whether that means negotiating on a big purchase such as a car or a house, a smaller expense such as a monthly internet bill, or even job offers. There are many reasons why people do not negotiate. You may not like negotiating because you are shy, feel cheap, don’t…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: October 16, 2018

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Many people don’t like to negotiate, whether that means negotiating on a big purchase such as a car or a house, a smaller expense such as a monthly internet bill, or even job offers.

There are many reasons why people do not negotiate. You may not like negotiating because you are shy, feel cheap, don’t know how, or for some other reason.

However, not negotiating can financially impact a person as they may be paying more for something or not reaching their earning potential.

Negotiating is expected in many cases, so if you don’t negotiate then you’re just losing a lot of money.

Just think about it. Not negotiating a simple $10 monthly amount could add up to $120 per year. If you’re able to save $100 a month by negotiating (which is very simple!), you could be saving $1,200 per year. All you have to do is ask, and usually you only have to do it once!

My negotiating tips:

  • Be mindful of timing. A company is more likely to negotiate with you if the timing works for them.
  • Research the competition. This can help you to better defend the deal you are seeking.
  • Be polite. The person you are negotiating with is a human and deserves respect, just like you do.
  • Ask. You won’t be able to get a better deal if you don’t ask.
  • Be willing to walk away. There are some instances in which the item, job, or service is not worth the effort. You should always be prepared to walk away if it is something that does not suit your situation.

Below are eight things you should always try to negotiate for.

 

Job offers

The majority of people do not negotiate job offers and salaries. Some people do not know how to ask, they may feel uncomfortable negotiating, and many do not want to come off as bossy.

However, this is a huge problem. Many job offers and salaries are meant to be negotiated, so this can be holding you back if you do not negotiate. You can actually be holding back your future earning potential if you do not negotiate, because future job offers may be based on your past salary.

Plus, you don’t only have to negotiate for money. You may also be able to negotiate for more vacation time, better insurance, a telecommuting option, a more flexible work schedule, new work equipment, professional certifications or courses, a better job title (this can help you to land your next job!), and more.

Here are my tips for negotiating your salary:

  • Research what others in your position as you are making. Sites such as Glassdoor.com and Salary.com may help you with this.
  • Have an explanation for why you deserve a better offer.
  • Think about your strengths, goals that you’ve met, how you’ve helped companies in the past, and so on.
  • Practice negotiating with a friend or family member. Practice makes perfect.
  • Be confident and ask!

 

Cable, cell phone, and internet bills

These three items can almost always be negotiated on. You should always make sure you are receiving the best pricing whether or not you are a new customer.

This can be as simple as calling the company and asking for a discount. Most of the time they will say yes. If not, ask to be transferred to someone else, and that person will usually say yes. Haha!

I recommend checking out Learnvest’s article How to Negotiate for a Better Cell Phone Bill. This article even has a sample script for when you call your cell phone company, which can also be applied to cable and internet companies.

Related articles:

 

Vehicles

Cars are meant to be negotiated on, whether it is a brand new vehicle or a used one. If you don’t haggle, you will most likely lose out on a lot of money, because dealerships almost always add onto their vehicle prices for this reason.

One type of vehicle that always has a lot of extra cost built in are RVs. RVs can often be negotiated for a heavy discount, sometimes as much as 30% to 45%. Yes, there is that much wiggle room in most RVs!

Other aspects of the vehicle buying process can be haggled on as well, this includes your trade-in vehicle, warranties, interest rates, add-ons, and more.

 

Homes

In some areas homes may be fetching more than their list price, but in other areas you will see price negotiating between the home buyer and seller.

You should always research the norm for the area you are looking to purchase in. You may have a lot of money on the line if you consider that some home prices can be negotiated by tens of thousands of dollars!

You may want to ask for something else if you can’t negotiate on price, these can be things such as the seller paying closing costs, a home warranty, repairs, and so on.

 

Medical expenses

Medical expenses can almost always be negotiated on. If you are self-paying or if your insurance won’t kick in due to a high deductible, always call your doctor’s office, hospital, or wherever you went and ask for a discount.

You may qualify for a discount by just asking, for having a low income, for being self-pay, and so on.

 

Insurance rates

Our car insurance rates recently went up by about 20%. That is an insane amount considering that nothing had changed. I called and asked for a discount, and they gladly lowered it back to the amount I paid for the previous six month term.

This is just something I have always negotiated on. However, many people do not.

It always surprises me to hear about how many people do not ask for a better rate when it comes to their insurance.

You should always try to ask for a better rate whether you are talking about car, home, rental or some other type of insurance. There is almost always some sort of discount that can be taken off of your policy to help you save money.

Do you tend to negotiate on purchases? Why or why not? What else can a person negotiate on?

 


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Kate @ Cashville Skyline

    I’ve definitely been hesitant to negotiate on some major purchases in the past, and I’m kicking myself for it now. Especially since I’m not quite as frugal as I once was. I’m going to go after my cell phone bill and a dental surgery bill soon, though.

  2. This is so true! Research is such a key step to negotiating. If you don’t have the history, numbers, competition in mind, you have no ground to ask for something better. Also, on the cable bill… ALWAYS ask for a better deal. It happens so often that someone calls to cancel the service and the cable company will throw a better monthly rate out, just so they don’t lose the customer.

  3. I’m super shy about negotiating. I did do it successfully at my job once. I knew they wanted to keep me if at all possible so I definitely had the upper hand, which helped my confidence. I need to get better at it in all of the areas you mentioned though!

  4. My husband negotiates on just about everything (though I don’t think he’s done insurance). I usually stick with negotiation for our utilities. He will negotiate for vacation rentals, Craigslist purchases, and he’ll ask at any store if they price-match. It saves us a lot of money!

  5. This is SO hard for women, in general, but I can tell you from experience, that the more you do it and have success, the better and easier it is. I always negotiate now.

    1. Yes, it definitely gets easier.

  6. Cheryl Larimer

    Thanks for the information! I am self paying and had no idea we could try to negotiate my medical expenses. When my husband moved onto my cell phone plan, we happen to have a representative who sort of mentioned in passing that there was a discount for veterans. Since that time we have found so many discounts that are available for veterans just for asking.

    1. Yes, definitely try to negotiate medical expenses. They can usually be lowered.

  7. I am extremely confident when I negotiate, and I negotiate almost anything I buy. I also negotiate pay with every client I have. I am not afraid of negotiating at all, because I care about my money too much not to!

  8. I try to negotiate all big item purchases. I’ve also just negotiated a 6 month remote work arrangement with my employer. When negotiating, the worst thing that happens is nothing changes or you have to pay full price.

  9. Norman

    I think there’s a huge mental barrier for a lot of people when it comes to negotiating and asking for more.

    I have a friend who negotiated a substantial amount off his car by reaching out to 5 or 6 dealerships in the area and asking for a quote from each of them for the same vehicle. He managed to get them to bid against each other to his advantage. The biggest advantage you have as a buyer is your ability to walk away. Your BATNA or “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” drives your negotiating power. The stronger your BATNA, the stronger your position.

  10. Lindsey

    I have a hard time negotiating. I’ve asked around for better deals but never negotiated too much. When I tried to negotiate my rent it ended up backfiring but that’s been the only thing I’ve tried negotiating on.

    1. What happened when you tried negotiating your rent?

      1. Lindsey

        They ended up increasing my renewal rate instead of lowering it. :/.

        1. They increased it because you tried negotiating? Or were they going to increase it either way?

          1. Lindsey

            There was a complex wide rent increase so we tried to negotiate to bring it down at least to what we were paying. The property manager got so mad at us (even though we were calmly asking to just pay what we had been). Our increase would have been $10 higher than the original increase.

  11. I didn’t realize how prevalent negotiations were to other cultures, beyond buying a car or house, until I left the U.S. The locals were haggling at the market while us Americans paid the price that the merchant threw out, thinking it was like Wal-Mart where you pay the advertised price or leave it on the shelf.

    1. Yes! It seems like Americans never haggle.

  12. Lezlie

    This is a great article. It opens people’s minds to the possibility of negotiating. I don’t normally negotiate anything…But a month ago my husband and I were about ready to leave on vacation to Australia. I already booked our one bedroom/one bath hotel room at the beach, when I started looking at a pricey ocean front beach house (that I knew we couldn’t afford). I decided to e-mail the property management company to see if the pricing was negotiable. To my surprise, the property manager lowered the rate into our price range. We ended up renting this three bedroom/three bath ocean front beach house for LESS than the one bedroom/one bath hotel room.

    This one negotiating experience has made an impression on me. Why not try? The worst thing that can happen is…They say no!

  13. As someone who has worked in health and managed care for over 20 years, I can tell you that on average, medical bills are paid at about 40% of the billed charge – meaning you can negotiate up to a 60% discount off the full retail price.

    Now, if you are under a PPO, Medicare, Medicaid, or some other contractual arrangement, it’s harder, but if you are paying cash and willing to pay upfront, especially on a large expenditure, many healthcare providers will accept a significantly reduced fee.

    Just ask. It can’t hurt.

    1. Yes, exactly! Thanks for this “insider” information ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Negotiating is intimidating to me but I try to do it anyway.

    My husband wasn’t going to negotiate his First Real Job Offer but I encouraged him and he followed through with it (http://evolvingpf.com/2015/06/the-reluctant-negotiator/). The salary bump he got wasn’t big but it was something so that was a huge success in my eyes – the easiest recurring money we’ll ever make! He also got our moving costs paid just by asking if they would be included in the offer!

    We also negotiated when buying a piece of furniture yesterday at a consignment shop. We knew they were open to negotiating because of a sign that said “make an offer,” so we offered 80% of the list price and they accepted right away. Maybe we should have offered less! Anyway, all the practice you can get negotiating helps.

  15. I’m a huge fan of negotiating. I’ve been getting my cable and internet lowered for years by doing that. Every few months I call them up and ask them what can they do for a long time customer. They always look out for me.

  16. I’m not much of a negotiator. Mainly because it hardly ever crosses my mind to negotiate.

    My husband loves to negotiate. I remember when we were getting him a new car and they would not budge on the price. He wouldn’t give up until they offered him *something*. So we left the car lot with a new car and a $50 shop credit. haha! The man didn’t give up until he was offered something, even if it was just a $50 store credit.

  17. I’m not a great negotiator in cultures where it’s expected but for an American I’m pretty good at it. Or better to say I’m good at questioning every bill increase and batting it downward when it pops up, like our internet or insurance bills.

    But I still ask for stories from my Master Negotiator friends to keep me in good form though – one negotiated an awesome discount on rent for a longer contract period, plus extras!

    You can never stop learning about negotiating and asking for what you want ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Ashley

    Hi Michelle,

    I agree with the points you made about negotiating. I have successfully negotiated over the phone a few times, but I have never tried applying it to other things in person. After reading your article, I’m definitely going to approach purchases differently and try to negotiate to save some cash. I just cut back on internet speed and some other bills, so this is very helpful.

  19. Mel

    You are absolutely right! After working for a physicians office, I came to realize that asking for cash pricing sometimes was cheaper than going through health insurance. X-rays, lab work, dr visits, supplements etc all can be cheaper just by asking! Most people believe that healthcare is non negotiable when in fact there is quite a bit of wiggle room! Now, there are a few downsides to becoming a cash patient, but for the most part it can save you a ton of money. Thanks for making people more aware of this hidden secret!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I wish more self-payers realized they are able to negotiate and get a large discount.

  20. Negotiation is a skill that I’ve been working on and am starting to feel much more comfortable doing it. My recent wins include having a late fee reimbursed and getting our final fee for the old cell phones cut in half. It really never hurts to ask and the benefits could be huge, especially for people like us who are fighting an uphill battle against our debt.

  21. Michael

    I almost always negotiate. A very easy question to ask at the time of any major purchase, “What is the best you can do?”

    Most recently, I was getting oil changed in my car. At the cash register, I asked if they had any coupons or rebates. The billing guy said, yes there is and printed two receipts and a rebate form for me. I received $10 in the mail a few weeks later.

    All you gotta to do is ask to start the negotiation. The more you do it, the better you will be at negotiating. You have got nothing to lose.

  22. Francesca

    I get a bit shy when I haggle so whenever I can I use ‘Live Chat’ functions that companies sometimes have on their websites and I find it much easier that way. Also it’s great because you aren’t left on hold on the phone and I usually do it when I’m doing my work as well and flit back and forth between the screens. Managed to get 50% off my TV package!

    1. Yes, same here! I love Live Chats for that reason.

  23. Haha, yes! My husband used to be a new car salesman, so we know all the secrets ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Great Post Michelle,

    This is sooooo hard. I recently negotiated on a car purchase and got about $600 off. I feel like I probably could’ve gotten more, but I was so nervous.

    It’s stinking tough to negotiate well.

  25. My message to those who are afraid to negotiate: what do you have to lose?
    If it doesn’t work… nothing changes. No big deal.
    But if it does work – BINGO! You saved money. Success!

    The inevitable conclusion? ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. You’re totally right-people are often too hesitant to try and negotiate. I’m happy you addressed how much negotiating could save a person here, though; it definitely makes for a good incentive. Thanks so much for posting!