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Get it in writing!
February 3, 2018   In chapter 6 of the Budget Ninjas Study Guide, I encourage you from time to time to negotiate for a lower price on many of the products and services where you pay a monthly fee. Good examples of such services would be your internet, cell-phone, land-lines, and insurance.

Taking the time to negotiate can save you a ton of money over time. Consider the time you invest in negotiations as a part-time job. For example, if you are able to save $20 monthly on your cell-phone, and negotiations only took you an hour, that is the same as earning $240 an hour on your part-time job ($20 * 12 months). I'd take that part-time job anytime.

However, there are dangers to avoid. Recently, I was a victim of a deceptive sales practice, whereas my cell-phone provider offered to put me on a new plan and upgrade my phone, and my total monthly bill would still be less than what I was previously paying. I now realize that they twisted the language to make it sound like my total bill would be less, where in fact it was just my portion of the total bill. Once I added back all the other cell phones that were already part of my plan, I ended up paying more.

It's easy to be deceived into thinking you are getting a great deal. How could I have avoided the deception to begin with? One way is to get everything in writing first. I was so excited to finally be getting an upgrade to my phone that I allowed my emotions to make decisions without properly vetting the terms of the agreement. If I had insisted first on having something in writing, I would have noticed that the deal only applied to my portion of the phone bill, and that my total phone bill was still going to be more. If the terms in writing covered my entire plan, and they charged me differently, I would have had something to go back on and argue my case.

If I would have exercised patience and a little more self-control (chapter 2 of the study guide), I would not have been so easily deceived. So, learn from my mistakes - get it in writing, be patient, and exercise some self-control as you practice your art of negotiations!

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