15 costs you shouldn't accept without putting up a fight
You'd be surprised at how many times you can drive the price down with a bit of tactful negotiating.
And the success rate is shockingly high: 89% of people who have haggled were rewarded at least once, the Consumer Reports National Research Center found.
But too many of us refuse to ask for a better deal. From 2010 to 2013, only 48% of people actually tried to bargain, that same survey found.
It can never hurt to ask, especially with these 15 costs:
1. Maintaining electronics and computers
Everyone doesn't pay the same price for repairs.
According to Dina Gachman, author of "Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime," people don't bargain nearly as much as they should.
Gachman recalls a time in which she was laid off, unemployed, and had run into some issues with her laptop. After she was told it would cost $250 just to have her laptop checked out by someone, she called the company's 1-800 number and used what she calls "trigger words" to lower the repair cost. These words include "inconvenience," "corporate responsibility," "loyal customer," and "please."
2. College tuition
Your tuition could be lower if you attend the same college as your sibling.
If you're a member of one of those families in which all the siblings end up attending the same school, personal-finance blogger Len Penzo points out that some colleges are known to give discounted tuition or financial aid when multiple family members attend.
No siblings? Forbes suggests leveraging a high GPA for more scholarship money instead.
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3. Mortgage rates
Your mortgage is fair game.
Mortgage rates are fair game for bargaining — with a little legwork.
"Shop around, get quotes, make sure your credit score is stellar, and you should be able to talk about lowering things like processing fees," Gachman writes.
If you have strong credit, use that as leverage. A credit score is one of the most important factors in determining your mortgage rate.
4. Cable and internet
If you watch TV, your cable is worth bargaining for.
According to Gachman, "There is no shame in haggling with behemoths like Time Warner Cable or Verizon."
She suggests calling and asking for a manager to discuss your rates, or even threatening to leave your current provider for another one with a better offer — as long as you're willing to follow through.
"If your request is within reason, they'll usually make it happen," Gachman writes. "The phone reps are humans with beating hearts, not corporate drones."
It can't hurt to try — and you may find that negotiating lower rates is simpler than you originally thought.
5. Credit-card rates
Use those unsolicited offers to your advantage.
Stop throwing out unsolicited credit-card offers, and instead start using them to bargain for a better interest rate from your current credit-card company.
Penzo suggests simply picking up the phone and asking whether they'll match their competitors' prices.
Yes, they're intimidating — but bargain with them anyway.
Not everyone knows exactly how to go about bargaining with a car salesperson. After all, they do this for a living, and chances are you don't. Gachman says that to throw sellers off their game, you should "never, ever act impressed with anything they show you. Apathy is key here."
She also recommends asking for some extras with the car: "You should ask them to cover the cost of any registration and DMV fees, and try to get them to throw in the first month's payment as well (as long as you're putting money down). If they balk, in a very firm tone reply, 'Well, I don't want to have to walk out of here, but ...'" she writes. "They definitely don't want you to walk off; they want you to drive off — in the car they've just sold you."
Also, refresh yourself on common tricks car salespeople employ before you head to the dealership.
7. Car tires
Ask for more than just the tires.
If you decide to shop locally, Wise Bread suggests checking prices online first because smaller shops will sometimes match or even beat online prices.
Don't be shy, either. Len Penzo says it is acceptable to ask for extras such as balancing, mounting, stems, and an extended warranty.
Did you get the best price possible for that furniture?
Successful bargaining for furniture depends largely on where you're shopping. Gachman warns that you should not expect to successfully bargain for furniture if you're shopping at chains such as Target or Macy's.
"If it's a privately owned shop they'll usually work with you, unless you're being ridiculous," she writes. "Don't ask to pay $100 for a $4,000 couch."
Your rent is not entirely out of your control.
According to MainStreet, you're more likely to get a better price if you rent from a smaller company or an individual and if you pay your rent in advance. Sometimes offering services, such as taking on yard work or small repairs yourself, can help, too.
MainStreet also writes that one of your most powerful bargaining tools when it comes to rent is your ability to walk away from a deal that you don't think is worth it.
Your doctor visits may not cost as much if you pay in cash.
As expensive as medical and hospital bills are, they're open to negotiation — as long as you take a stand within 90 days of your service.
In fact, there are even professionals who negotiate with hospitals on patients' behalf. You can find them on sites such as Medical Billing Advocates of America.
According to Next Avenue, most cash discounts come from agreeing to pay your medical bill all at once, and even if you can't get a discount, you can also try to get more time to pay your bill. Next Avenue has a solid list of strategies to negotiate a medical bill.
11. Gym memberships
Remind the manager you could always join another gym.
When it comes to gyms, managers realize that there's a lot of competition and that you could just choose to exercise on your own for free. Gachman advises using both of those facts to your advantage when asking whether a gym manager will reduce the cost of registration or the monthly fee.
"If they're being tough, tell them you're going to march, jog, do plyometric hops, or sprint over to a rival gym," she writes. "That should do the trick."
You may have the best luck negotiating in March, when gyms are eager to make up for waning memberships, MarketWatch says.
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Keep the mark-up in mind.
Know that when you walk into a jewelry store — whether private or a chain — the products in there are usually marked up somewhere between 100% and 300%, according to Penzo.
With that in mind, bargain away, but don't forget to do your homework first. Wise Bread advises knowing what the going rates are for the piece you want and determining your own budget in advance.
13. Late fees
Pick up the phone and ask.
According to Gachman: "As long as you're not constantly late, you can usually get a late fee reversed, whether you're asking your credit card company, your bank, or your cable company."
She advises emphasizing that your late payment is a "one-time thing" and that it won't happen again.
And then, to make sure you stick to your word, try paying your bills before they're actually due.
If you don't get a discount on the mattress, ask about other extras.
"Most mattress brands typically come with enormous markups. One notable exception: Tempur-Pedic," Penzo explains.
So when it comes to mattress shopping, you should always try.
If they won't budge on the price of the mattress, ask for extras like free shipping, a complimentary box spring, old mattress disposal, pillows, or a bed frame, especially if you're paying with cash, Penzo says.
15. Open-box items
It's worth it to ask for open-box items.
If you're looking for bigger ticket items, like a TV or electronics, ask if they have an open box or a display item they could sell you for cheaper.
Similarly, you can always negotiate the price of used items, whether you're shopping at a thrift shop, garage sale, or second-hand clothing store.
SEE ALSO: I negotiated the price of everything I bought for a week — and it worked half the time