Monday, January 17, 2011

Ask and You Shall Receive

Hi everyone! I cannot believe it's been almost 2 months since I last posted! Wow! That's what happens when you're 34 weeks pregnant and you've got a few other things on your plate, I guess. :) I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and that 2011 has started off on a great note!

Here in my household, we are fast and furiously preparing for our baby girl's arrival in mere weeks...and with that comes dropping some serious dough. Or does it? As you know, my husband and I purchased our first home early last year. While the house was in fantastic condition pretty much all the way around, we knew we were going to eventually replace the carpet. It was pretty heavily stained and while I'm not exactly a germaphobe, I know that carpet can get DISGUSTING. The sellers even apologized for the condition of the carpets. So now with baby on the way, we wanted a clean slate and started to price out how much it was going to cost to get new carpet in three bedrooms. First, Empire Today came to our home to give us an estimate - initially $2100! I had no idea how much installing carpet was, but I wasn't going to pay that much. I told the representative that it was much more than I had anticipated, and we were going to continue to look. Almost immediately, he dropped the price down to $1600. Did you hear that? Just by asking and refusing the first offer, I saved $500! After pricing around other companies and retailers and figuring cost of installation, haul away, etc, Empire Today did have the best deal.

Lesson: never accept your first offer. Always see if you can negotiate a better deal.

Part 2 of Preparing For Baby Without Dropping All Your Dollars: we have to make our small space work for us in more ways now. Our 3rd bedroom now has to serve a multifunctional purpose of guest room/office. To increase our space, we got rid of our full-sized bed and are replacing it with a sleeper sofa. We waited and waited for our dream sofa at West Elm to go on sale...and it did! Not only was it $400 cheaper than the original price, BUT if you ordered online, you saved an extra $200. Uh - guess who ordered via phone where the $200 off didn't come into play? But guess who realized that, called back, and talked to customer service to get that extra money back in Claire's college fund? And isn't the couch so pretty?!

Lesson: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you're not completely satisfied with your experience, speak up. More than likely, the customer service department will do whatever they can to keep your current and future business.

In one week and two shopping experiences, I saved our family over $700 by being proactive, doing some research, and not taking "no" for an answer. Don't be afraid to ask for a better price - in this economy, many people are willing to be flexible and are more responsive to customers' needs.

How about you? How have your negotiating skills benefitted you recently?