Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Negotiator

There is good news about the current economy: it's a buyers market in more ways than just housing. Learning to negotiate can be as simple as asking: "Is this your best price?" Here are some ways to become "the negotiator!"

  • Negotiate -- It's a buyer's market, so feel free to negotiate on just about everything! You can even negotiate spa services (manicures, pedicures, massages, haircuts &color) by asking your service provider if they offer quantity discounts (buy 4, get one free). Service industries are hard hit and you don't have eliminate these services or pay more to keep yourself pampered in style.

  • Renegotiate - Even if you have secured a particular rate for your vacation destination, don't be afraid to renegotiate the price. One client of mine, who subscribed to in order to get the latest sales notices, found that his Bahama resort was advertising a new sale. Even though he and his wife had already booked the trip (and the reservation) for their anniversary, he called the resort, quoted the sale price and got the discount! He saved $1800 with one phone call by renegotiating!

  • Prenegotiate -- Two months before your tenant lease is renewed, ask your landlord if your current rent is "the best they can do" as you are concerned with the current economy and really need a lower rent. You'd like to stay where you are, and if they could renegotiate for a lower price on the lease, then you won't have to look elsewhere. You'll be surprised at how most landlords would rather renegotiate than lose their tenants!

Happy Negotiating!

Ellie Kay

America's Family Financial Expert (R)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Money Making Kids

"I know how I can make some extra money" read the caption on the outside of the card featuring a woman from the 1950's with a big smile. When you opened the card it read: "I'll sell one of the kids!" My son, Daniel, gave me that card, knowing how perfect it was for his mama!

Well, I learned how to save money using my kids, but in a slightly different way (rather than putting them up for sale on e-bay.) Jonathan, who prefers to remain anynomous (thus, the mask) wanted to earn money for a new electric guitar. I realized that I could turn over my "coupon job" to him and let him "earn" money by maintaining my coupon box. I've been so busy in the last few weeks, that I didn't have time to keep up with those little critters. I knew I was missing out on these savings in the grocery store.

So Jonathan began cutting, organizing and filing my coupons. The agreement was that he got the money I saved at the store from the manufacturer's coupons (including double coupons when I shopped at that kind of store) and I kept the savings from the store sales and store coupons. The first week, the total before savings was $189, the amount I paid was only $81 ($44 sale savings, $23 store coupons,and $41 in manufacturer's coupons). Jonathan bagged the $41 in cash and it was a win/win for both of us.

If you want to make money off your kids, you'd better watch it, especially if you have a really smart child! The next week, we ran to the grocery store to pick up a pharmacy prescription. Jonathan picked up a store coupon featuring sodas "four 24 packs for $7.99" with store coupon. He handed me the coupon and asked, "I know you don't usually buy us sodas because you don't think they're healthy. But do you think you could make an exception this week--especially since we have this coupon? Pleeeeze?" He batted his big brown eyes and gave me a sweet smile.

I bought the sodas, saving $10 with the store coupon.

When we took the stash to the car, Jonathan unloaded the drinks into the trunk, got into the car and turned to me, "Hey mom, do I get my $10 now?" I was incredulous, "What, Jonathan?" He grinned sheepishly, "You know... I gave you the coupon and you saved $10?" I smiled back at him, "Son, do you honestly think that I'm going to PAY you $10 for the privilege of BUYING you some soda? Besides, I used a store coupon, not a manufacturer coupon. " He was busted, "Well, it was worth a try."

Email this to your friends with teenagers and let them in on this way to make money from your kids! If you aren't familiar with ways to incorporate store sales, coupons, double coupons, store coupons, etc, then link onto the "Grocery" label and read the "how to" on my blog!

Ellie Kay
"America's Family Financial Expert" (R)