In the past week, one of the Smart Cookies negotiated her dentist bill (15 per cent off), while another negotiated her parking ticket from $60 down to $15. We’re not afraid to ask.

Admittedly, however, there was a time when we thought trying to negotiate a better price might make us appear cheap, rude or worse — embarrassed if we were turned down.

Now is the time though to negotiate on just about everything. To help you keep more money in your pocket, we’ve listed a few simple strategies to make the most of your negotiating:

Be Realistic
Don’t go in and ask to get something half price off up front. Let the retailer name their best offer and work from there. You might come in too high and offend or too low and leave cash on the table.

Be nice
The old adage you catch more flies with honey applies to money as well. You get more savings with a smile.

One at a time

If you’re looking to get a group discount, negotiate the price of one item down first. For example, if you were looking to get a group of dresses (for a wedding, say), first negotiate a single dress down and then explain you are interested in buying more and the price should drop even further.

Pick the best day of the week

Think about when you’re happiest and it’s probably towards the end of the week. That’s also when retailers are likely at their happiest and most accommodating as well. Thursday and Friday are often the best days to negotiate on price.

On the flipside, make an appointment for a salon or service in the first half of the week (salon’s slow days) and you may be able to negotiate a 10 to 20 per cent discount. Referring new customers could also earn you a price break.

Mom and Pop shops
Whenever you’re buying from the owner, discounts are easier to get than in chain stores. Mom and Pop shops are also more likely to work a deal with you. They want to deter you from shopping at the big box stores and will have more flexibility to make a price change.

Cash is king

Vendors typically pay a processing fee when you use your card so they are more likely to cut you a deal using cash. Many times, it’s possible to also negotiate the tax off if you are using cash.

Other free stuff

If you don’t get a discount, see if they can throw in anything additional. Free delivery, extra perks, etc.

Have a tip for the Smart Cookies? Email us at Visit or pick up Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough for more on saving and smart spending.

– Tune in Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. EST/PST on the W Network and be sure to visit for more tips.

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