I once hated returning things. And negotiating.
In fact, I never really grasped store return policies (and how great they can be) until I was in university in the US. A roommate of mine returned a pair of year old shoes to Nordstroms department store. The sole had started to separate from the rest of the shoe. I was blown away that they took them back and replaced them. No questions asked.
Maybe it’s a Canadian thing. Or a British thing (my parents came to Canada as newlyweds from Scotland). For a long time I never returned things. If they broke, wore out quickly or did not perform as advertised, I felt like it was my bad luck as a consumer. In my mind returning something was akin to begging. I know, that is some messed up logic.
Things have changed. Now if something breaks, or wears out quickly, I send it back to get repaired or replaced. I keep receipts for all big items and for anything small I paid cash for. If I lose a receipt and paid for it with a credit card, I use a copy of the credit card statement as proof of purchase.
As I become a more conscious and savvy consumer I am also working on my negotiating skills. I’m asking more.
Recently the asking has resulted in some big savings for us.
In August we negotiated a rent reduction of 150/month ($240 USD). We initially negotiated a smaller rent reduction, found a flat next door at a better price, and served notice that we would be moving out. Our landlord eventually came back to us with a larger rent reduction.
A few weeks ago I read an article on mortgage rates and told Chris we should look into our current rate and if we could get it reduced. A few emails with our mortgage rep later and we are now paying .5% less over the next five years. It is saving us thousands of dollars.
You have to ask. Be polite, remove the emotion from the situation, but ask. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no.
We want to continue to remain consumer debt-free, accelerate our mortgage payments and give more. Living simply and with less stuff is the biggest contributor to those goals. Negotiating lower prices and reduced bills is the gravy.
If you’re in debt it’s even more important that you ask. Consolidation loans, reduced interest rates, better deals on your cable or cell phone bills. All of these money saving opportunities are out there for you. You just have to ask.
Has anyone else recently reduced a payment or negotiated a better deal on a purchase or service? Any tips?
Thank you to everyone that has supported my book project with your comments here, by sharing this blog with friends or purchasing the book – and your patience when I took a blogging break in August to work on it.
I’m very happy to announce that we’ve raised $120 for CARE! Add to that $25 that a reader donated when I sent her an advance copy. So a total of $145 was raised through book sales and the generous readers here. Thank you. I’m still surprised and honoured at the number of you that read this blog, write insightful comments and share our minimalist journey with your friends and family. It feels really good to harness the power of living with less into a monetary donation for maternal healthcare in a developing nation. Many, many thanks.
I’ve been offline a lot this week as Henry and I made a very last minute decision to fly to Vancouver for a two week visit (thank you awesome employer that pays for expat trips home!). A series of unfortunate events has conspired to keep Chris here for two weeks (or more). Luckily, it’s our hometown. We are soaking up city life and visiting friends and family as much as possible. I’ve already consumed a few checklist treats that I can’t get on the Isle of Man: sushi, nachos and a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.
This trip means that we won’t be ‘home’ for Christmas. It will be my first Christmas away from family ever. Looking forward to it as a milestone, the beginning of our little family starting our own traditions and a different holiday experience. You get lemons, make lemonade, right? And, there’s always Skype.
I’m not sure what this will mean for my posting schedule here for the next two weeks. Forgive me if I am a bit light on the words – thanks!