Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don't Be Afraid to Haggle

Everyone knows that when you travel to certain parts to certain parts of the world, haggling is normal, expected in fact. Yet, here at home in the US, haggling is not always encouraged. Today I encourage you to haggle. And it doesn't need to be confined to an open air market. Haggle, you'll actually have a conversation with someone, and you just might save some money.

Last week I received the annual premium for my legal malpractice insurance. Upon opening the bill the first word that popped into my mind was WHAT? Then I wondered why it seemed to have gone up so much. I called my carrier, located here in Madison, and spoke with a very helpful agent. We determined that 1) the hours I work were incorrectly entered, and 2) there has been a 5% coverage for estate planners this past year (apparently claims are on the rise). We talked about a few tweaks that could be made, and I shaved 40% off the bill I had opened.

Haggle -- to question, to explore, to ask for a lower price. Try it an you may be surprised. Not sure how to fit it into your life, consider:
  • asking the grocer to cut the price of milk that is near expiration (my husband did this routinely in college). If you know you'll drink it fast, it is worth it to ask;
  • at restaurants ask for flexibility on coupons...do we really need to buy one get one free for a soda and sandwich, what about just for a sandwich;
  • when buying anything second hand at a garage sale or off of Craigs List -- people clearly don't want it anymore, see if they'll take less, be prepared to walk; and
  • at medical offices -- ask if they'll take a discount if you pay with cash the day of service. They may be happy to save on processing fees. This works especially well if you have a high deductible plan with an HSA.

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