This article was originally published on SheKnows.com—the #1 women's lifestyle digital media company, with a mission of women inspiring women—as "Be Brave Enough To Ask Yourself This Question And Save Money," and is reposted with permission from the author.
I had a former client-turned-friend who, before we knew each other, listened to my quote for services, looked me straight in the eye, and asked if I would reduce the cost for her. She asked me with such strength, assuredness and resolve, she made me doubt what I was charging. After I got to know her, I realized she asked that of everyone. Nearly everywhere. At the furniture store for a new table, “Would you take less for this?” On the phone with the cable company and credit card companies. She had no shame. To her, there was nothing strange or weird about asking. She was just asking. And paying WAY less than any of us on most things she bought.
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She was smart. And she’s a good example of the kind of market we are in today. The dollar is so soft every price is potentially negotiable. We want to sell and buy and move our products, we want to sell and partake in services. A lot of people and places are willing to take less than what they have posted. And there’s no shame in asking for it.
Taking A Tip from Banks.
We are no longer in a premium payment economy. To me, it is amazing that even banks are renegotiating their loans. This was unheard of in my parents’ generation. But ever since mortgages started getting purchased by other banks, it has become possible to request a loan modification—in essence to go to the bank and say, “I want to pay my mortgage, but I cannot pay it at this rate. What kind of rate can we negotiate so that you can still get paid, and I can keep the property?”
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If banking practices are indicators of the flex in our economy, why not practice some of that flex in our personal commerce? …At the corner market, on Craigslist, at the gym. We are, as a collective, going back to moderation. What if we collectively negotiated the best deal we each can?
What Are You Paying For? Pay Less.
My challenge for everyone is to try it. Start with your bills. Scrutinize every one of them, and before you ask the service provider for a cut, ask yourself what you get out of each service and whether you still need it. Be open to changing the service, and look closely at what you’re paying for. Three months ago, I called to reduce the service with my water softener company.
Then last week I realized I don’t even want a water softener. It was great when I first got it, but it’s not essential. It’s not bringing me joy or changing my life for the better in any way. I called up the water softener company: out went a $60/month bill. I called up the family gym and asked them if they had any other membership plans available. I looked at my cable bill and realized I was leasing a modem monthly; I looked into a box in the garage and found my own modem: out went the $3.99/month that was added onto my cable bill.
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Scrutinize! Look closely at what you’re paying for. Ask yourself if A) you want and need it, and B) if you want to pay as much for it as you are. Then call the company that provides you the service and ask what is available to you to reduce the cost. It hurts no one to ask, and the surprise and reward is that sometimes you get much more than you expected in return.