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2011-04-05 19:08:17

Six Costs You Should Always Negotiate: Part 2 of 2

"All you have to do is ask." With that philosophy in mind, follow these tips to negotiate the best possible deal on these common fees and expenses:

1. Credit Card Rates

2. Mortgage and Refinancing Rates and Fees

3. Home Improvements

4. Home Appliances and Electronics

Why they are negotiable: Store managers understand that a discounted deal done today is often better than a potential deal in the future (and definitely better than no deal at all). One trick is to go first thing in the morning or just before the store closes when there are fewer customers. "A manager will hesitate to offer a discount if he thinks he'll have to make the same deal with all of the customers who overhear the negotiation," says Consumer Reports' Daugherty.

Who to talk to: A store's manager or assistant manager.

What to say: "I like this model. If you can give me a discount and free delivery, I'll buy it today."

Possible savings: Profit margins are generally fairly thin on appliances and electronics, so getting 10 percent off is a reasonable goal, particularly if you can also get them to throw in free delivery and installation. Consumer Reports found that three-quarters of shoppers were able to negotiate a better deal on major appliances, with an average savings of $100 per appliance.

5. Cars

Why it's negotiable: Car dealerships are one of the few places where price negotiations are not only acceptable, they're expected, notes Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for car-buying site But instead of trying to negotiate your purchase price down from the MSRP (the sticker price), as you might for other items, ask to see the invoice price (the price the dealer paid for the car) and work your way up from there. You can look up dealer invoice prices for free on Web sites like,, and

Who to talk to: Sales staff.

What to say: "Another dealership has given me a better price on the same model. Tell me how you can beat their offer."

Possible savings: It's possible to save more than $1,000 on a new car by negotiating smartly, according to Reed. And you'll net even higher savings by also negotiating the value of your trade-in, as well as financing terms and the cost of extended warranties.

6. Medical Bills

Why they're negotiable: Patients usually assume that the cost for various medical procedures and tests are set in stone, but often they're not. And with health care companies shifting more out-of-pocket costs onto consumers, asking for potential discounts is essential, particularly since there's often a huge variance in costs among providers, says Angie's List spokeswoman Cheryl Reed.

In Washington D.C., for example, the price for an MRI of the right knee ranges from $400 to $1,501, according to a recent report. You can look up average prices in your area for various procedures at Healthcare Blue Book.

Who to talk to: The billing administrator.

What to say: "This is a significant expense for me. Is there a discount for paying upfront or in cash? What other kinds of discounts might be available?"

Possible savings: Fifty percent or more. An Angie's List poll found that 74 percent of respondents who negotiated their medical bills were successful, often paying less than half of the original cost.

Interesting reading for we 'negotiating junkies'.  Much of it we knew, but it is nice to learn new perspectives, possible strategies and even know that we have been on the right track.

it is also encouraging to see the statistics indicating the savings we good negotiators are achieving.

KEEP Negotiating.

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