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The Payoff: There are 5 things you should always negotiate

There are some things in life you would be crazy not to negotiate. I’ll tell you when it’s worth it right now on The Payoff.

Your job benefits. Your salary is just the starting point when you are negotiating a job offer. If you don’t settle on a number you like, see if they can make up for it with other benefits like a signing bonus, extra time off or the flexibility to work from home. Some jobs might be willing to pay for your cell phone, internet bill and even buy you a computer just for work. Those little bonuses add up.

Your credit card fees. The key to getting credit card companies to drop fees is having an account in good standing. They should be fine waiving a late fee or interest charges if you’re making payments on time most of the time. You can even try getting them to waive your annual fee or lower your interest rate if you’ve been a good customer all year.

Your rent.  If you’re renting at an unpopular time of year – like winter – your landlord might be willing to knock a few bucks off your monthly rent. If that doesn’t work, see if they’ll lower the rent if you agree to a two- or three-year lease. It never hurts to ask.

Your bills — all of them! Don’t appreciate that new cable bill increase? Call up your provider and see if they’ll give you a break, and throw in a line about how good a competitor’s pricing looks. If you’re paying out of pocket for a medical procedure, ask your doctor’s billing department if they offer a discount for paying in cash. At least once a year, shop around for lower auto insurance rates. Your insurer just might match them.

Any large purchase. Any time you’re plunking down more than a couple grand on one item, you should negotiate. That wad of cash in your hand is all the leverage you need. It can be a new bedroom set, a wedding venue, or a home renovation. Never take the first offer and always ask if there is room to negotiate.

More money questions? Check out Ask Yahoo Finance on Tumblr.

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Mandi Woodruff is a reporter for Yahoo Finance and host of Brown Ambition, a weekly podcast about life, love and money.

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