15 costs you shouldn't accept without putting up a fight

How to Haggle

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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15 costs you shouldn't accept without putting up a fight

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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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.

6. Cars

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.

8. Furniture

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."

9. Rent

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.

10. Healthcare

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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15 costs you shouldn't accept without putting up a fight

1. Clear your browser history

Some retailers might sneakily increase prices based on your browsing patterns and demand - so make sure to always clear your history and cookies before shopping! 

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2. Use an alternate email address

When you log in to a retailer's site with a new email address, retailers will often welcome you as a new customer with exciting new promotions and discounts. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

3. Note price changes throughout the week

Another pro tip: Prices and deals can fluctuate based on the day of the week. For instance, if you're purchasing a flight, monitor prices for around a week to see if they take a dip on any particular day before purchasing. 

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4. Let items linger in your cart

Here's a hack: Add items to your cart, but let them sit for 24 hours before purchasing. The retailer might attempt to lure you back with additional discounts.

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5. Check out multiple sites

Do some research! Don't settle for the first price you see - poke around on a search engine and find the best deal. 

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6. Bargain with customer service

Use customer service to your advantage. If you ask (politely!) about an expired coupon, you'll often find yourself pleasantly surprised by an extension or new code! 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

7. Don't purchase impulsively

Try this shopping hack - don't buy that shiny, new toy right away. Step away for a few hours, and if you find yourself itching to go back and click 'purchase', then you know you won't regret your investment!

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8. Avoid shipping fees

Take advantage of free shipping! If you are a few dollars below the free shipping price point, add a low-cost filler item you need anyway (like socks!) and make the math work out in your favor. 

Photo credit: Alamy


12. Jewelry

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.

14. Mattresses

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

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