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Your friend can’t stop bragging about the discount she got on her new mattress. But there’s an art to haggling--and it starts with understanding which costs are actually negotiable (and knowing how to ask nicely).

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cable
Columbia Pictures

CABLE

Nowadays, you have a lot of leverage when it comes to negotiating the cost of your monthly bill.It’s not just about HBO Go and Netflix; new identical-to-cable steaming services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV are giving traditional companies a run for their money. Do the math on the other services before you dial your provider. If you prove you can get a cheaper rate(and tell them you’ll take your business elsewhere if they won’t budge), you’ll have the upper hand in cost negotiations.

AMEX
American Express

YOUR CREDIT CARD APR

If you’ve been a loyal customer for a number of years, contact your credit card provider and ask them to lower the interest rate. (In fact, assuming you make regular payments, you should probably argue for this once a year.) But before you call, do some Googling to find out what other banks are offering. (NerdWallet provides a great overview of the best low-interest cards.) 

RELATED: The Only 3 Times to Transfer a Credit Card Balance

marieantoinette
Columbia Pictures

A NEW MATTRESS

You’d be surprised how much wiggle room old-school brick-and-mortar mattress shops have when it comes to negotiating the cost of a sale. Have a target price in mind before you even set foot in a store--and be prepared to walk away if the vendor can’t meet that number. (Within reason, of course.) It also never hurts to mention competitor rates on similar brands.

peggy
AMC

LATE FEES

There’s no worse feeling than missing a payment on your electric bill and having to pony up $25 for the mistake. Next time, don’t take that charge lying down. Pick up the phone and make your case. (Try something like “So sorry--we just got back from vacation and are so disorganized! Do you mind refunding the cost just this once?”)

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meg ryan
Warner

AIRBNB RENTALS

Just because the rental is listed at $175 per night doesn’t mean the price is set in stone. Before you book, it never hurts to message the host and find out if there’s any wiggle room. (It’s as simple as tapping Contact Host in the About This Listing section.) Explain your situation and the number of nights you’ll be there. In most cases, the host will bring down the price, especially if it means a guaranteed rental for the room.

fightclub
Fox 2000 Pictures

YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP

This is more about timing than anything else. If you’re a new client (or a longtime member), approach the manager on a weekday toward the end of the month. Here’s why: Gyms typically have membership quotas that they need to lock in every month. If the manager hasn’t hit their goal, they’ll be more likely to meet your needs. As for the weekday, it’s about finding a manager with a bit of downtime: Without the weekend lines, they will be more likely to put extra time into finding a rate that fits within your budget. 

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