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Pay Less for Anything

Fork over full price? Never.

5. HAIR SALONS

A Chicago Miser Adviser who prefers to go nameless confessed to her hairstylist that money was a little tight after she retired. She now gets her do done for half price. How? She agreed to schedule her appointments when the shop wasn't busy. Another tip: Stylists who move to other salons are often willing to give discounted fees to loyal customers who follow them.

6. INSURANCE

Every April 1 (a.k.a. "I Ain't No Fool Day") I call my insurance company and ask for lower premiums on my package policy, which includes home, auto, and other coverage. And almost without fail, I get it. I may agree to some adjustments, like a higher deductible for property damage, or collision-only coverage for an aging car. And sometimes the agent discovers a new discount I just became eligible for (no traffic tickets, new car alarm, etc). The key is to keep your agent alert by regularly asking about discounts. And check with other insurers to compare. If you do find less-expensive coverage, let your agent know.

7. RENT

I'm a landlord, and I can tell you from experience that landlords hate vacancies almost as much as they hate tenants who don't pay their rent. If you can move into a property right away or prepay your rent for a couple of months, use that to bargain for a cheaper rent.

8. SUBSCRIPTIONS

"It's simple," says John L. Hoh Jr. from Milwaukee. "Publishers don't normally make money on subscriptions. They make money on ads, which are based on subscription numbers. They need you more than you need them." Hoh says he regularly negotiates two thirds or more off normal renewal offers on newspapers and magazines by calling their circulation departments and telling them he's going to cancel unless they can give him a discount.Membership – Join, renew, or learn about exclusive AARP member benefits.

9. REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS

If you want to haggle for automotive repairs, a new roof, plumbing work, or the like, always choose independent businesses over national chains. They have more flexibility to negotiate. First, get several estimates. Then let the haggling begin. Brandan DuChateau, who lives in Scandinavia, Wisconsin, started a bidding war between three auto shops in her area when she needed new tires. She ended up driving away with a savings of $100.

10. CATALOGS

Andrea Bahr of St. Louis works for a catalog company. Her advice: Always ask if there's a promotional discount on the product you're ordering. Often there's some advertised discount out there that you might not know about, she says, and operators aren't allowed to give it to you unless you ask. Also ask for a discount on shipping charges. If an item is back ordered and you're not in a hurry to get it, say you'd be willing to wait—if you get a price cut.

Jeff Yeager (www.ultimatecheapskate.com) wrote The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches (Broadway, 2008).

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