While haggling is a common practice across the globe, it’s something of a lost art in the United States. Today on MoneyWise, we’ll discuss how to get the very best prices on many of the things you buy regularly. Many people are reluctant to even try to talk down the price of something they’re buying. In American culture, it has become a habit to pay whatever the seller is asking. IS HAGGLING BIBLICAL? And some folks might think that it’s dishonest or unbiblical to talk someone down in price, but not so! It’s actually good stewardship, making the most of the resources God’s entrusted to us. The Bible has many examples of God’s people negotiating with others. The spies coming to terms with Rahab in Joshua 2 is just one of them So the men said to her, Our life for yours if you do not' tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you. ’" Negotiating is not at all like trying to dodge a debt or evade paying taxes, which of course would be dishonest and unbiblical. As long as the seller has the freedom to say no, there’s nothing wrong with trying to get a better deal. WHERE TO START The first thing is to determine where you can negotiate and where you can’t. There’s no sense wasting your time if you know that the offered price is absolutely firm. Here are some things you can often get a lower price on if you’re willing to negotiate: - Your cell phone plan - Your cable package (that’s truer now than ever with so many streaming apps) - Your credit card interest rate - Your gym membership. With those, sometimes all you have to do is ask and you’ll get a better deal. Some others that’ll require more work might include your rent and car insurance. (Caution: Make sure you maintain adequate insurance coverage!) HOW TO NEGOTIATE Now for the nuts and bolts of how to negotiate. Let’s say you’ve decided to negotiate your rent. Start by doing your homework. Use Zillow or Craigslist to find out what others are paying for comparable units in your area. Make a list of a few with lower rents that you can cite in your negotiation. Then be ready to offer something in return for a lower price. Maybe you can pay a few months in advance. Or maybe you’d be willing to sign a longer lease or increase the termination notice from 30 to 60 or even 90 days. Those are things all landlords love. But you can also offer things that won’t cost you anything. For example, if you don’t have a car, offer your parking space. Or promise not to smoke in the unit. That could save the landlord money. Or not to keep a pet even if they’re allowed. The secret to successful negotiating is working toward both parties getting something out of it. You want to make it a win-win. You can also negotiate for a higher salary. A lot of folks are shy about asking for a raise, but right now you’ve got tremendous leverage. Employers are still desperate to attract and retain good workers, so the market’s in your favor. Start by making a list of problems you’ve solved for the company. Maybe you’ve decreased the accounts receivable balance or your ideas and suggestions eliminated certain expenses. That’s a great start. Then, make a separate list of problems you will solve going forward. Finally, determine your asking salary. You can visit Salary.comor PayScale.com to get an idea of what others are paid for similar work in your area. Now you’re ready to negotiate. Make an appointment with your boss to talk about your salary. During that discussion, show your lists of problems solved and problems you’ll address. The worst that can happen is the boss says no, and if that happens, hang on to the lists you’ve made, if you decide to move on, they’ll be a big help when you nail your next job interview. If you’re buying something, usually a bigger ticket item like an appliance, simply ask, Is that the best you can do? In some cases, the salesperson will bend over backwards to give you a better price or throw in something to sweeten the deal. Bottom line: asking for a better price never hurts. You just might get it. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● Would it make sense to draw money from a credit account to pay off a car loan? ● Should you tithe off of money from a consolidation loan? ● How should you invest when nearing retirement?