The goal is to pay down debt, invest, and retire. Simple, but not easy. One of the best ways to reduce your spending is to negotiate a lower price on the things you use. Here are some tips to reduce your debt.
The best way to get a discount is to firmly ask for a discount. People have so many ill conceived ideas about negotiations. The media presents this ridiculous image of an alpha male business executive brow beating someone into getting whatever he wants. This is pure fiction and makes too many intimidated to simply ask for what they want.
Mad Men is a great show about the advertising industry of the 1960’s. Here’s why I bring it up: one of the senior executives is fired and a prime office becomes available. The office has a dozen alpha male junior executives who all want the office. But who ends up getting the office? Peggy Olson- That’s right, the only female copywriter with the least experience gets the office. How? She was the only person with the courage to ask for it.
Ask for what you want.
If you can get a 10% discount on many of the items you’re using, then you are that much closer to getting out of debt and investing for your future.
Here’s an example from my own life: As you know, I’m cutting back on frivolous spending. So, I’m reviewing my credit card bills for all the monthly subscriptions I receive (they’re are a lot!). Anyway, I really like XM Sirius radio in my car, but I would like it a lot more, if it was less expensive. So, I called them. I used a simple, honest approach. I told the woman that I really liked the service, but I’m not sure I can keep getting it because it’s too expensive and I’m cutting back. What happened? She offered to cut the fee in half (from $200/ year to $100). And I had to pay for the year upfront, which I agreed to do. We both got what we wanted: I got a better deal and her company kept a customer. Win. Win.
The goal of every negotiation is for both sides to get most of what they want. That’s why alpha males are not the best negotiators and why research tells us that introverts and shy people are actually good at negotiating. Why? Because in order to be a good negotiator, you need to consider things from the viewpoint of the other side. When I ask for a 10% discount on a tv, I give the salesperson the ability to get what they want: the ability to tell their boss they made another sale. Salespeople have credit card bills to pay too and they have pressure to make a sale. Makes no difference what the product is.
If you don’t get what you want, walk away. I’ve been meaning to open a new bank account lately. It’s a long story but my bank no longer has any convenient atms near me and I’m paying $6 per withdrawal and it makes me crazy! So, I called the closest bank and spoke to the woman about opening an account. In order to waive the bank fees they wanted like $7,000 in the account, or a direct deposit every month, or 10 debit card transactions. Ugh, no way.
I walked away. And last month, the same bank had a promotion for new accounts: they would waive the bank fees for just $1,500 in the new bank account AND they would credit me $250 to open the account. Bingo. Now, I’m interested.
Negotiating takes a bit of courage, which is a muscle we all need to flex. And it allows you to have more control over your life. Which is a feeling we all want.
Ask for what you want. You’ll be surprised how often you can get it.
Id love to hear your thoughts on negotiating.
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