Month: June 2014

A Beginner’s Attempt at Negotiation

I’m not sure what’s gotten into me lately.

I’ve been much more outgoing and faced a lot less social anxiety. I talk to people I never would have talked with and in general am much more bubbly.

A major perk that has come from my bubbles is my lack of fear to ask for things. .. especially discounts ūüôā

Getting Started

It all started with AT&T. Hubs and I got on a new phone plan and somehow it came up that neither him nor I had tried the popcorn place next to the retail store. I’m not sure if I asked or the salesman¬†offered, but we got a free large bag of carmel popcorn for our business.

It was delicious.

Then the bill came for our first month of service. It was supposed to be a bit high because a few discounts didn’t apply to the first month, but it was way higher than it should have been. I got on the phone (and then their chat service) to get it all figured out.

They quickly credited $60 and I could have given up there…. especially because I got disconnected from the service rep and I had to explain the whole thing over again.

However, Husband was sick the day I pressed my luck, so we didn’t have anything else going on. I decided to see how much more I could knock off the bill. I had nothing better to do at the moment.

I got another $25 off the bill. Yeee!

It was a bit more effort than I would have liked to get that extra $25, but since this is a reoccurring bill, it was worth it!

Then to Clothes

I’ve made a silly number of trips to Kohl’s in the last month.¬†All have come with their own saving lessons

Trip 1: I was in the market for running capris. After trying on too many pairs that showed my ovaries to the world at several stores, I found a pair I liked. I didn’t know the price of these, because at Kohl’s who ever really knows, but Hubs was sure they were 50%. We got to the register…only 20% off.

We challenged them on the price. It involved walking back to where we found them and some confusion with the clerk, but in the end we were mostly right and she said “Just have her ring them up at 50%.” ¬†Why thank you! It took a little extra confidence to stand our ground and an extra 3 minutes, but¬†thank you I’ll take that savings.

Trip 2: Hubs needed shoes. He found a pair he liked on sale. I looked up the store’s website online and I found a coupon for an additional 20% off. Check the website!

Trip 3: This was my most challenging negotiation to date. I needed new shoes and a hair dryer. My previous hair dryer was 30 years old and the hair dryer my step mom used in college. It amazingly still works, but it was losing its oomph. Time to replace.

When we got in line to check out, I was worried about the savings. They had discounts for card members, but I’m not a card member. What to do, what to do. It was Sunday, so I mentioned something about a coupon being in the Sunday paper¬†(totally making things up). ¬†I was shut down. But then the clerk offered a ray of hope. “There was a 15% off coupon that went out to the email list. I can offer you that.” Why yes, Thank you! ¬†“We just have to confirm that you are a subscriber”….. crap.

I may have been slightly dishonest saying I was on the list. Then when she asked for the email I used, I said I didn’t remember. **Anxiety* Don’t take away my 15%*Anxiety** She didn’t seem to care. She signed me up under the email I gave her, and I got another 15% off coupon emailed to me for joining.

Just Ask

There really is no harm in asking. It doesn’t make much of a difference to the retailer, but if you can put in the extra gumption, it is worth it for your pocket book.

Example 1: My grocery store puts eggs on sale practically every other week. Its a dollar savings. Sometimes I forget to bring along my coupon, but I know the eggs are on sale. ¬†A quick mention of the coupon and the cashier will ring it up for me. Consider me a saver. ¬†(I doubt they’d do this if you needed more than 1 or 2 coupons)

Example 2: At dinner a few weeks back, Hubs ordered a beer. He ordered it because he liked it, not because it was on happy hour. When the bill came, I noticed that his beer fit the vague description of beers on happy hour. We asked if it qualified, the waiter checked and we saved $3 off our bill.

Easy as Pie.

Overall, I’ve probably saved a little over $130 in my negotiation lesson. All have been a thrill when I walked away with a little extra still in my pocket.

Just try asking. There is no harm in it.

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May 2014 Recap

Oh hey, May!

Hello friends. Sorry, I’ve been MIA lately. Things have been crazy around these parts. Some good, some bad, mostly¬†expensive. Overall, it has all been just a bit more than I can handle. I’ll fill you in soon.

My biggest slice of awesome this month was the fact that I completed my first 5k! I was fully supported by my family. My husband and Momma cheered me on from multiple spots along the course. My darling little sister was the one who greeted me at the finish line and put the medal around my neck. Gosh, it was a great feeling.

To top it all off, I beat my goal time. I sprinted with gusto for the last 0.1 mile to make sure I came in under my goal. The crowd cheered. I did my best and it paid off. ūüôā

I’m already signed up for my next 5k in July. I think I’m hooked.

As for money, life in general got more expensive this month. My paycheck took a hit with my increased HSA contributions. The bad and the expensive came out of my take home pay.

Even with those extra expenses, I was still able to make a grand contribution to my loans this month. The biggest help came from a little money shuffling.¬†I’m one of those people that has way too many savings accounts for different goals. Some of these savings accounts had too much of a buffer, just sitting there, so I shifted over the excess to my loans.

Every little bit helps!

Debt Progress

End of April Debt: $34,985

End of May Debt: $33,036

That’s $1949 paid off this month!

Since 1949 sounds more like a year than a debt payoff amount, here are some fun facts about 1949.

  • West Germany was established.
  • Israel was admitted to the United Nations.
  • Apartheid became official government policy in South Africa.
  • The first polaroid camera was sold for $89.95.
  • The first Volkswagen Beetle was sold in the U.S.
  • Bruce Springsteen and Meryl Streep were born.

1949 was a pretty big year. $1949 is a pretty big payoff.

My debt payment this month was still most excellent, but it took a lot of reorganization and planning to come up with the money. I think my payments are only going to get smaller from here. I’m not sure where I can find extra cash without truly hustling.

Hustling or not, I should be under $30,000 by August 1!

How did you do in May?