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What do you negotiate? & expensive water

January 31st, 2007 at 10:09 am

I am formulating my submission for a money saving tip. I decided to focus on negotiating prices on goods and services. Mostly because it is not the kind of everyday tip I expect all the other CPAs to answer, looking for an edge (See my last post if I lost you. Wink ) & because it is pretty simple and you know people would in general be game over other tips like save money and only pay cash - no one wants to do that - LOL.

Anyway, so I was wondering what you all have negotiated the price on? Just to get more ideas than the obvious (though I know the obvious to me is not the obvious to everyone).

Yeah I could say come here and hang out and this is the best advice, but the whole point is to get mroe concrete tips. I want to win some publicity so I can THEN say come over here if you really wants lots of tips. Wink

Changine gears -

What is with these water and sewer bills? - my word! Just saw 2 blogs re: high costs. I was shocked when we moved to Sacramento. Back home water was metered (remember many years of drought and conservation too). In our condo I am not sure we were even billed - think it was included in association fee. But I rented a house before, metered water, trash and water was about $10/month each (3 people). IT wasn't even in my budget - didn't sweat it even on my minumum wage. The house we rented was fairly large (hell of a lot cheaper than an apartmnet).

Then we moved here, no metered water, our water/sewer/trash bill is all one - I would have to study it to see what was what I guess. But we have the smallest trash can possible (which we only really need to set out once a month or something). & yet our bill runs $100/month. Far more than our average elctricity and gas bill.

Oh well, they are moving to metered water which is good overall, but really annoys me all the same. Wouldn't be surprised if we were charged even more. But at least we could then control the costs. IT just annoys me on some levle because I lived alone in this house for a year - dh and I For 1 year with no kids. We certainly paid MORE than our fair share as bill is priced on size of house. & now that they meter it - well we do loads of diapers in the wash every day, etc., etc. 4 people in the house, etc. Can I get a rebate for the years we didn't use the water???

But overall yeah I really look forward to metering. Then we can work on cutting that bill. I think overall living in a newer neighborhood with modern plumbing and low-flow toilets, and more efficient appliances, overall I think our bills will be lower. The only thing I Am really concerned is the yard and watering - where I know we can REALLY cut back. With the stupid association there is only so much we can do in the front, but I do want to seriously look into desert landscaping in place of the back lawn, or astro turf, as a friend has. I Still kick myself for not thinking of it sooner. The lawn is overrated - our little square patch that needs SO much water in the 100-degree+ summers. I can do without. & metered water might be the kick in the butt that I need.

But I digress...

Okay - so what have you negotiated down? Top of my mind = cell phone bills, dental bills (pay cash/if no insurance), cc fees, cc interest rates, furniture, cars, mechanics, gardeners, items bought off Craigslist.

7 Responses to “What do you negotiate? & expensive water”

  1. daylily Says:

    Since you are a CPA, I will tell you that this year I plan to ask MY CPA for a discount!!!! We have been going to him for 5+ years to get our taxes done. He is pricey but worth it. I totally trust him. I would NEVER go to a place like H&R Block. DH is self-employed and we do the home office deduction, etc.

    My CPA charges by the form. We will have two extra forms this year. Form 8913 for the phone tax refund and Form 8855 for HCTC. I have completely read through the instructions for both forms and compiled all the supporting paperwork and filled in the forms. All he has to do is retype the information. I don't think I should be charged for this given the following:
    1. I am a loyal customer.
    2. He gets plenty out of us as is ($350 for our taxes)
    3. I am extremely organized and have all of the information ready for him each year. He only meets with us for about 45 minutes to go through our paperwork and then another 30 minutes where we talk politics.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    Good Luck - LOL.

    No seriously, certainly doesn't hurt to ask. I just mentioned in a recent post how the costs for CPA firms are absolutely skyrocketing but CPAs have been slower to raise fees. Good Luck because you'll need it. Wink
    #3 is what you really have going for you. Otherwise demand far ouweighs supply and #1 & #2 will be pretty useless. So push that angle.

    It is just a weird market out there - my boss would be thrilled to lose some clients - just can't keep up. It depends on the type of CPA you are going to - taxes are not our bread and butter - just a necessary evil - we try to keep the individual tax clientele down. If you are going to someone who just does taxes, well, they may need you.

    My boss charges by the form so to speak, and yet he doesn't. Lord knows if you come in witha box of receipts you will be charged a heck of a lot more. Or if you called every day with endless questions.

    I can tell you what him/her will say though - if you want to pay less go to H&R Block. Oh yeah, you'll get what you pay for. (Okay I see you already considered that not an option - hehe).

  3. monkeymama Says:

    Seriously though, if you get a discount consider yourslef lucky. Defintiely ask - you won't know until you ask, huh?

  4. tinapbeana Says:

    so many people shop is such a fashion that the idea of negotiating on price is going to be somewhat foreign. after all, what average person thinks they can negotiate prices with, say, sears? the trick is to shop for items or shop at establishments that lend themselves to negotiation.

    examples of items that lend themselves to negotiation: damaged, dirty, mismatched, untagged, unpriced, 'bent&dent'. IMO, if you're buying a sweater at sears and there's a pick in the weave, it's AOK to ask for a manger to see if they can give you a discount. and my experience is the bigger the ticket on the item, the more negotiation is accepted by the retailer. think cars, real estate, furniture, electronics.

    examples of places that lend themselves to negotiation: yard sales, flea markets, consignment store, thrift stores, overstock/seconds/close out stores. items priced by individuals are often negotiable. at the more corporate places (say big lots, tj maxx, tuesday morning, etc) you might be able to find items that haven't been priced and that is an opportunity to negotiate.

  5. disneysteve Says:

    We discovered that mattress prices are negotiable. We went into one of the chains with their ad. The mattress that was a decent price in the ad turned out to be a piece of junk. Of course, the salesman pointed toward much more expensive products. I said that was more than we wanted to spend. He asked how much we were looking to spend and I showed him the ad again. He ended up coming down about $500 on the better mattress, just about matching the advertised price for the junky one.

  6. Money Saving Army Wife Says:

    I always negotiate hotel deals. I check on sites like Travelocity and then negotiate for a lower price then the one being offered. Since my husband is in the military we automatically get military discounts at most hotels (we only stay at those) but then I negotiate an even lower price then the military discount. A lot of times they'll lower their prices dramatically. First I always ask to talk to the booking manager, and then if they claim not to be able to give me a lower price I ask to speak to someone higher. Then if they claim the same thing I ask them to talk to their revenue manager. It almost always works. Although, my husband tried it once and when the person claimed not to be able to lower the price he asked to talk to a manager. She responded that not only was she the manager, but the owner of the hotel! I guess she wasn't interested in making money off of us that day because we stayed somewhere else for $30 less.

  7. frugalmomof1 Says:

    Although I have tried it, and hasn't worked for me, some people on this board have said they call their cable and internet providers and ask for promotional discounts or reduced rates, and get them. I plan to keep trying. Smile

    Also, for those who carry CC balances... call your CC company and ask for lower interest rates (it may help to have a promotional offer from another company when you call.) If you are charged a late fee, call and ask for it to be waived. Chances are if you have an otherwise good payment history they will do it for you.

    Auto and Home insurance prices vary significantly...call around for other rates, and then ask your current provider to meet or beat your other offers to avoid the hassle of actually switching.

    If you are shopping for electronics, find out if there is a section with open box items. BIL used to work for an electronics store an said that most televisions are returned because they were too big for the room and/or entertainment center. Some stores may allow for negotiation of their already reduced prices. Two of our TV's were open box and we got a significant discount, and the manufacturer's warrany was still valid.

    You can try asking to purchase floor models at furniture stores. We saved $100 on our dining room set by taking the floor model chairs. The store allowed us to inspect them before we agreed and would have fixed any flaws before delivery.

    Good luck with your article!

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