According to experts in medicine, consumer goods and marketing, you can negotiate what you pay on many common expenses, reports Real Simple magazine. Here's how to knock down the asking price:
When paying medical bills, know that the prices are not set in stone.
In fact, many doctors will reduce the bill by 5% to 10% if you pay cash upfront. And if you're uninsured, let the good doctor know — gastroenterologist Martin Bashir says that some doctors will offer discounts of 50% or more if they know you don't have insurance coverage. And negotiate the bill before you actually get the procedure. Visit to find out what doctors and dentists typically bill for services and what amount insurance companies cover.
If you need an electronic product or gadget repaired after the warranty has expired, you may be in luck.
If you're having a common problem there's a chance that the company will fix it for free, but you have to know how to ask. Do a little research first. Do an online search for your product and the problem you're having (for example, "Dell laptop keyboard sticking") and you'll probably turn up some online comments or chat rooms where people discuss similar troubles. Then, call the company's returns department — not customer service — and ask for someone who can authorize a free repair or replacement.
Let them know that you've done your research, and while you're loyal to the brand you've learned that you're not the only one with this problem.
Need to hire a contractor for home repairs?
Don't just go with your first consultation. Get bids from several contractors and then go back to your first choice. Let him know you'd prefer his services but that you have cheaper bids. He'll probably offer you a lower rate.
By Marshall Loeb