HOW I MADE $500.00 IN TEN MINUTES-and you can too!

A version of this article was originally published on April 10, 2010
  “I’d like to add that negotiating is not something to be avoided or feared – it’s an everyday part of life.” Leigh Steinberg

American businessman and author summarized the importance of negotiation beautifully. Learn to negotiate, embrace it, and up your wealth and life satisfaction. Through negotiation you get more of what you want out of life!

MAIN TOPIC; My Timing Belt Needs Replacing Again?

There is hardly a consumer situation I’ve encountered that wouldn’t benefit from a little negotiation. Just got a call from the mechanic looking at my 1998 SUV with 100k miles. He had the nerve to tell me that my timing belt needed replacing. On an old car, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, unless- I had recently replaced the timing belt.

I went to my records and found that I replaced the belt 10,000 miles ago.

I didn’t remember the manual suggesting that the timing belt needed replacing  every 10,000 miles.  So, I asked the mechanic, “How long is the timing belt supposed to last?” 

He replied, “About 60K miles.”

In a matter of fact and cordial tone I stated, “You just installed a new timing belt about 10,000 miles ago; since the average life span is about 60,000 miles; I’m unwilling to pay for a new one. As you know, I have used your company exclusively for the past 6 years. What can you do for me?”

Barb’s tip: Keep a word document with every repair on every car; include, date, cost, mileage, mechanic shop, and repair completed.

Negotiating 101

Consider what an acceptable outcome is. I decided that I would be willing to split the cost of the repair with the company. Additionally, I was also willing to go to another mechanic if they would not stand by their work. I had nothing to loose.

As expected, the auto repair company agreed to cover the cost of parts, about $500.00 for the timing belt and accompanying parts, and I paid about $350.00 for the labor.

$500.00 savings, not bad for 10 minutes of my time!

PRACTICAL APPLICATION; Anything is negotiable.

The absolute worst result is “NO.”

The best result is free.

Somewhere in between is frequently where you end up.

The best negotiation is one in which both parties leave satisfied! Consider a reasonable outcome and work towards that outcome. The more you negotiate the more money you have to spend on other things or save!


Use these steps as a blueprint for your negotiations.

Negotiating Steps:                         

  1. Gather information first.
  2. Set acceptable outcomes in your mind.
  3. Let the company know what a loyal customer you are.
  4. Use the information and integrate it into a request. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
  5. If necessary, state your other options to the vendor.


Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it to keep all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.

  • Negotiate something today. Practice with your son, daughter, husband, wife, boss, co-worker, or anyone you are dealing with.
  • Then practice again tomorrow. The more you negotiate, the more you get what you want!

image credit; sky competition

What are your negotiating experiences? What about your negotiating successes and failures? Any negotiating tips? 

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