Expenses You Think Aren’t Negotiable...But Are

Dentist and patient looking at x-rays
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Negotiating. Some love the thrill of it while others avoid it all costs. Regardless of which end of the spectrum we fall, there are some expenses we tend to assume aren’t negotiable, and as a result, we pony up the amount that is asked without even thinking about challenging the price.

But everything is negotiable—everything. And if you don’t attempt to negotiate all your expenses then you are leaving money on the table—your money.

Here is a look at some expenses that you may think aren’t negotiable but are.


It is usually assumed that the price on a rental is what it is. But many landlords are willing to compromise a bit. This can be accomplished by simply asking if they would accept a lower fee or by offering something in exchange for a reduced monthly payment.

For example, you could offer to prepay several months of rent. Robert R., 26, of Connecticut was successful in doing this. He provided six months of rent for his apartment up front in exchange for an 8 percent reduction to the monthly rate. Additionally, the landlord waived the security deposit.

You could also take on lawn care or other maintenance. Kylie Travers of The Thrifty Issue, says, “As a landlord, my tenants request a longer lease term of a few years with fixed rent, and they would repaint the house, renovate the bathroom and landscape the gardens.”

Landlords welcome the stability you are offering in prepaying rent or the relief from maintenance duties, so most will be willing to make adjustments to your monthly payment.

Medical and Dental Fees

Have a large medical or dental bill? Before you pay up, ask if the fees are negotiable. Many doctors, dentists, and hospitals will knock off a percentage of your bill if you pay in one shot, with cash, or within a specified time-frame. This can mean significant savings.

Donna Freedman, author of “Your Playbook For Tough Times,” successfully got a $1,222 dental bill down to $846, a 31 percent savings, by asking her dental care provider to honor an in-network discount (which providers in her state of Alaska are not required to offer), and by paying with a check instead of a credit card.

Kylie Travers also was able to lower her medical expenses significantly. “In 2015 I needed multiple surgeries. I was able to negotiate with my surgeon, so there were no out of pocket expenses for me, and he accepted the fee from my health insurance. I rang the anesthetist to discuss options, and they removed their charges entirely, saving me $900.”

Since so many patients default on their medical bills, negotiating your fees provides a win-win scenario. Most providers are inclined to work with you since it guarantees them payment.

Auto Repair

Auto body shops make a ton of profit—especially at car dealers or national repair chains, so start assuming there is wiggle room in what they quote you.

Bobby Lee of 2 Minute Finance, says he has done well in negotiating his car repair costs. “Service writers are often given the latitude to throw in additional preventative maintenance services for free in order to close the sale. If not, some can often add a hidden coupon or promotion to reduce your overall repair bill.”

Whether you're getting routine maintenance done or major work, simply ask the mechanic, “Can you do better?” You will find that many repair shops will work with you.

Interest Rates

Think the interest rate on your credit card is set in stone? A quick call to your credit card company just may result in a lower rate.

Eric H., 33, of Connecticut was able to lower his high-interest rate on his card with one call and reduced his minimum monthly payment by about $80.

Student loan servicers often offer a half percent reduction if you put your bill on auto pay. This represents decent savings over the life of the loan.

Everything Is Negotiable

Your results, of course, may vary in each of these situations, as you can only negotiate as much or as far as the other party is willing. But make an attempt. You may be pleasantly surprised by your results, and the worst that can happen is the answer is no.

Adopt the mantra that everything is negotiable. Approach your expenses that way, and you’ll never pay more than you have to.