13 Things You Never Knew You Could Negotiate

We all know life is full of negotiations, whether it's haggling at the flea market for that vintage dress or convincing your friends to try out your favorite sushi joint instead of yet another pizza place. But did you know that negotiation isn't just reserved for big-ticket items or high-stakes business deals? Oh no: negotiation can be your secret weapon in everyday situations, empowering you to take charge and get what you deserve.

Negotiation is a superpower every woman can wield to her advantage — it's not reserved for the likes of Warren Buffett or high-rolling investors. Whether you're haggling for the newest Jimmy Choo stilettos at your favorite boutique or advocating for your needs at work, negotiation is the key to unlocking a world of possibilities. And guess what? It can be as exhilarating as finding that perfect shade of lipstick or uncovering a hidden gem in a thrift store. We believe that negotiation is not just about getting the best deal; it's about embracing your power, owning your worth, and making your voice heard. We've all been there, feeling that twinge of hesitation when it comes to speaking up for what we want or deserve. 

Welcome to our guide on the art of negotiation. We're here to unleash your inner boss and reveal the hidden opportunities that exist in your everyday life to help give you total main-character energy. Prepare to be amazed as we dive into the 13 surprising things you never knew you could negotiate. 

Medical bills: navigating healthcare costs

Navigating the complex world of healthcare costs can feel like stepping into a Pac-Man maze. Medical bills can pile up, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and wondering if there's any way to ease the burden. Dr. David U. Himmelstein, founder of the advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program, told CNBC, "Health insurance is only very partial protection. I liken it to a hospital gown that looks like coverage until you actually inspect it."

When it comes to deciphering your medical charges, knowledge is power. Start by requesting an itemized copy of all charges related to your care. By scrutinizing each line item, you can identify any potential errors or discrepancies. Don't be afraid to openly discuss your financial situation with your healthcare providers as many are surprisingly willing to work with you to find a solution that fits your budget. This can include more flexible payment options, discounted rates, or the possibility of setting up a payment plan that eases the financial strain.

If you start getting overwhelmed, consider reaching out to patient advocates or medical billing professionals. These experts specialize in navigating the intricacies of medical billing and can be invaluable allies in advocating for fair prices, negotiating with providers on your behalf, and ensuring you understand your rights and options. Furthermore, keep an eye out for discounts that hospitals may offer. Some healthcare facilities provide major deductions for patients who can pay the full fee upfront or make a significant down payment.

Credit card balances: taking charge of your finances

If you've got a solid track record of paying your bills on time, it's time to put that golden reputation to work. Give your credit card company a ring and ask for a lower annual percentage rate (APR). Remember, you catch more flies with honey, so be friendly, polite, and ready to make your case. But, before you pick up that phone, do your homework. Check out Reddit or the myFICO forum to find out what rates people with your credit score typically get. And pro tip: let your credit card company know that you've done your research. Show 'em you mean business!

If your credit card company is a tough nut to crack, it's time to bust out the balance transfer shuffle. Look for other credit card offers that give you an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers. This sneaky move lets you transfer your balance to a new card and enjoy a sweet period of interest-free breathing room: cue the shoulder drop. Speaking of fees, those sneaky devils can really pile up, making it even harder to escape credit card debt. Explain your situation, drop a hint about your loyalty as a customer, and kindly request the removal of any unnecessary charges.

Last but not least, take control of your finances (and mental health) by discussing a custom repayment plan with your credit card company. They might be willing to work with you and develop a more manageable payment schedule.

Rental agreements: getting more for your money

Before you even step foot into a potential rental, research similar properties in the area to get a sense of average rent prices, amenities offered, and any ongoing promotions. Websites like Craigslist and Zillow are your secret weapons for comparing prices and understanding the market. With this information in your back pocket, you'll be well-equipped to negotiate a fair price and get the best deal possible.

But here's a little secret: timing is everything. Avoid renting during peak season or negotiate towards the end of the month when landlords may be more open to a deal. They might be desperate to fill those vacancies quickly, and that's when you swoop in. 

Make sure you present yourself as a dream tenant (meaning you don't give off the vibe of someone who will pour grease down the sink.) Show your potential landlord your stellar rental history, steady income, or glowing references. Let them know you're responsible, reliable, and will take good care of their property. A little confidence can go a long way in convincing them that you're the ideal person to rent to. Oh, and drop a subtle hint that you're considering multiple places. Play a little hard to get and they may be more inclined to sweeten the deal to secure you. Remember, negotiation is about finding a win-win situation. Know your worth and be ready to articulate the value you bring as a tenant.

Service providers: getting the best deals

As always, do your research before you contact a service provider: look up their competitors' offers, promotions, and prices. Armed with this information, you'll have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating better deals. Knowledge is power. 

When you give them a call, be polite and friendly as you explain you're a loyal customer looking for ways to save. Inquire about any current promotions or discounts they might have available. If you've been a long-standing customer, use that to your advantage. Express your commitment to their service, but also mention that you've come across better deals elsewhere (there's that hard-to-get vibe again). Let them know you're considering switching, but would prefer to stay with them if they can match or beat those offers.

Service providers often offer bundled packages that include multiple things like cable, internet, and phone. Negotiate for a customized bundle that meets your needs and fits your budget. They want to keep you as a customer, so use that as leverage to get the package that works best for you. If your current provider isn't willing to budge on the price, don't worry. Consider exploring other options and research other providers in your area to see if they can offer a better deal. Use this information in your negotiation, showing them that you have alternatives; they'll be more inclined to reconsider their stance. 

Wedding expenses: keeping costs under control

To say wedding planning is stressful would be an understatement. As you're planning the big day, it can feel like your life is filled with nothing but spinach canapes and massive amounts of pink peonies. First and foremost, be open to negotiating with your vendors. Discuss your budget and needs openly, and see if they can customize a package that fits within your financial boundaries. Vendors want your business, so they may be willing to work with you to find a solution that works for both parties.

Flexibility is key when it comes to your wedding budget (and stopping it from boiling over). Consider thinking outside the box and be open to alternative options. Professional wedding planner Amy Lynn Parmar told Brides, "If your venue has their own catering, you may be able to negotiate the minimum if you opt for a cocktail reception with passed appetizers instead of a sit-down dinner." Consider scheduling your big day during off-peak seasons or on weekdays. Vendors are often more willing to offer discounted rates during these times, and you might even have a better chance of securing your dream venue or photographer. It's all about finding those sweet spots when demand is lower and negotiating power is higher.

Many vendors offer package deals when you book multiple services with them. Take advantage of this opportunity by bundling services like photography, videography, and DJ or hair and makeup. 

Subscription services: making the most of your subscriptions

Firstly, let's talk about loyalty. If you've been a long-time subscriber, don't be shy — reach out to the company and flaunt your loyalty like a badge of honor. Let them know about the length of your subscription and how satisfied you are with their service. You'll be amazed at how often they'll be willing to show their appreciation by offering you a loyalty discount or a sweet promotional rate to keep you on board.

Some subscription services also offer bundle options where you can combine multiple subscriptions into a single package. It's like having your cake and eating it too. Reach out to the company and ask about any bundled deals they may have available. This way, you can enjoy the convenience of multiple subscriptions while saving some serious moolah. Keep your eyes peeled for exclusive deals and limited-time promotions too: we're talking about discounts, freebies, and extended trial periods. To snag these fantastic perks, make sure you subscribe to newsletters, follow providers on social media, and stay in the loop with their updates. 

Feeling overwhelmed by all those subscriptions? Fear not, because Rocket Money is here to save the day! This app can help you manage subscriptions by keeping track of how often you use them, and even canceling or negotiating on your behalf. 

Travel expenses: saving big on your adventures

Let's start with flights. Be open to playing around with your travel dates and explore different airlines and travel platforms to compare prices. Once you've gathered all that precious knowledge, it's time to pick up the phone and call the airline directly. Show them your flexibility by being open to alternative dates, destinations, or accommodations. This allows the travel providers to get creative and potentially offer you better deals or even fabulous upgrades. Who knows, you might end up sipping champagne in first class.

Just like with airline tickets, be your own travel agent and dial up your chosen hotel directly. Chat with the reservation desk and ask if there are any special rates, discounts, or upgrades available. Be on the lookout for off-peak seasons or specific travel dates when prices tend to be lower. Planning your trips during these times can significantly increase your chances of getting amazing deals or even snagging those coveted upgrades. Make sure to join the loyalty programs offered by airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. These programs come with a treasure trove of exclusive perks, like discounted rates, free upgrades, or access to those ever-mysterious airport lounges.

Lastly, if you've stumbled upon a better price or offer from a competitor, explain that you'd prefer to go with their service but are willing to switch if they can match or surpass the competitor's offer. This little nudge can work wonders and motivate them to provide a better deal.

Car purchase: getting the best deal on wheels

First, buckle up, grab your sunglasses, and rev up your research engines. Before even stepping foot into a dealership, know the make, model, and market value of the car you're interested in. This information will be your trusty sidekick when negotiating a fair price.

Next, make sure you show the willingness to walk away, as it's one of the most powerful tools in negotiation. Let the salesperson know that you have other options and you're not afraid to explore them. This can put the pedal to the metal and motivate them to offer a better deal to keep your business. Start by making a reasonable but lower-than-list-price offer. This gives you room to maneuver and allows the salesperson to counter with a more favorable deal.

As you inspect the car during the negotiation, keep your eyes sharp and point out any imperfections you find. A few scratches or mechanical quirks can make all the difference when it comes to the final price. Before hitting the dealership, research different financing options and get pre-approved for a loan with the best interest rate and terms. This positions you as a cash buyer, giving you more negotiation power and potentially allowing you to secure better financing terms. If all this negotiation talk is making your engine sputter, consider hiring a car-buying service like Authority Auto to do the legwork for you. 

Health and wellness services: prioritizing your self-care

It's important to brush up on your negotiation skills if you want to score the best deals while relaxing at the spa or sweating it out at the gym without breaking the bank. Starting with the spa, inquire about off-peak rates or any last-minute booking discounts they offer. On top of that, many spas offer special packages that combine multiple treatments or services at a discounted price. And hey, if there isn't a package that suits your needs, don't be shy to suggest a customized bundle that includes exactly what you want. The spa might just be willing to accommodate your request and create a personalized pampering experience just for you.

While some find a massage to be most soothing, others love the rush of endorphins that flood their system with a sprint on the treadmill. Gyms often have multiple membership tiers and packages available. Ask if they have flexible options, whether it's a shorter-term contract, a discounted off-peak membership, or the ability to freeze your membership temporarily when needed. Gyms are often willing to work with you to find a plan that fits your lifestyle. Oh, and if you're joining the gym with friends or family members, ask about group discounts. Gyms love bringing people together on their fitness journey, so they're often willing to offer reduced rates or additional perks when multiple people sign up together.

Consumer electronics: saving on tech gadgets

Electronics are some of the most expensive things people buy, so negotiating a discount for these big-ticket items is necessary if you don't want to hear a high-pitched scream emanating from your bank account. First up, let's talk price match guarantees. Many retailers have got your back when it comes to matching prices. If you find the same product at a lower price elsewhere, don't hesitate to inform the store. Ask if they can match or even beat that price. This simple step can lead to substantial savings without sacrificing the convenience of purchasing from your preferred store.

Another great way to get your money's worth is by not settling for the standard manufacturer's warranty. Inquire about extended warranties or enhanced coverage plans and negotiate for a more comprehensive warranty at a reasonable price (or even request for free with your purchase). Protect your investment and give yourself some extra peace of mind while saving on potential future expenses.

When it comes to negotiating the price of a tech gadget, don't forget to ask about relevant accessories. You're not just buying a device, you're building an experience, so ask if they can include accessories like a discounted screen protector, case, or charger. Retailers are often open to bundling accessories to sweeten the deal and make the sale. Furthermore, find out if the retailer offers any additional services or support for your new gadget as they might provide free software installations or troubleshooting assistance. 

Insurance premiums: lowering your coverage costs

Ready to unlock the secrets to lowering your coverage costs and keeping your hard-earned money in your pocket? First, let's talk deductibles. Take a moment to evaluate your financial situation and consider raising them to a level that is still affordable for you in the event of a claim. By opting for higher deductibles, you can lower your premiums and potentially save some extra cash.

Next, check your policy. Take a close look at your insurance coverage and assess whether you truly need all the benefits included. Do you have an older vehicle? Consider reducing comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, as these might not be necessary. Adjusting your coverage based on your needs can help you find that sweet spot where you're adequately protected while also enjoying lower premiums. And, believe it or not, your credit score can have an impact. Insurance companies often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premium rates. By maintaining a good credit score, you demonstrate financial responsibility, which can potentially lead to lower premiums.

Don't forget to ask about discounts. If you have a clean driving record with no accidents or traffic violations, you may be eligible for a safe driver discount. Inquire about this golden opportunity and provide any necessary documentation to prove your pristine driving history. If you've got safety features installed in your home, car, or business premises, you might be eligible for even more discounts. These seemingly secret money-saving hacks can save you a fortune. 

Home renovations: maximizing your budget

If you're a home improvement enthusiast looking to maximize your budget, you'll need some negotiating skills to transform your humble abode into a dreamy oasis. First, and most importantly, we need to talk quotes. Reach out to multiple contractors and play the pricing game. Be sure to request itemized quotes that break down the costs for materials, labor, and any additional fees. By comparing these, you'll gain the upper hand during negotiations and ensure you're getting the best value for your hard-earned dough.

Before meeting with contractors, find out the average costs for the type of renovation you're undertaking, including materials and labor. This knowledge will empower you during negotiations and let you discuss pricing with confidence. Flexibility is key when it comes to your timeline, so discuss scheduling options with contractors. They may be willing to offer a reduced rate during their off-peak season or when they have gaps in their schedule.

Don't limit yourself to the first supplier you stumble upon, either. Research and compare prices from different suppliers for materials like flooring, tiles, or other fixtures. You never know what deals you might uncover! Some suppliers may offer discounts or promotions that can help you save on your renovation expenses. Be a savvy shopper and explore all your options. And speaking of savings, don't forget to negotiate bulk purchases; if you're tackling a larger project or renovating multiple areas of your home, take advantage of your buying power.

College tuition: easing the financial burden

Sharpen those pencils and let's dive into the realm of tuition negotiations (don't put your head in your hands, we promise you'll be fine!) Before negotiating with your dream college or university, take the time to explore comparable institutions that offer similar programs. Compare tuition fees and financial aid packages to gain a better understanding of the market rates. Next, don't forget to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile accurately and on time. These applications help determine your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and institutional aid.

If your initial financial aid package falls short of your needs or expectations, don't be discouraged, because you do have the power to appeal. Contact the financial aid office and explain any extenuating circumstances that might have affected your financial situation. Submit any necessary documents to support your appeal and demonstrate your need for more aid. Don't be afraid to make your case and fight for the financial support you deserve.

Don't limit yourself to traditional scholarships only; explore specialized scholarships that cater to your unique circumstances, talents, or interests. Whether it's for specific fields of study, minority groups, or community service, there are opportunities out there. Utilize online scholarship databases like Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and College Board's Scholarship Search. And don't forget to think local; check out scholarships offered by businesses, community organizations, and foundations in your area. These scholarships often have fewer applicants, giving you a greater chance of success.