Is It Necessary?
In today’s economy, I’ve gotten tighter and tougher. Tighter in my budget and tougher in how I spend my money. As a single mom, I try to use logically thought-out spending plans instead of impulse buying. I also keep an eye on my budget when debating possibly adding expenses to it. As an example, try answering these questions:
- Do you really need this added expense? (Need verses Want)
- Is there a cheaper yet trustworthy alternative? (Cost comparison)
- What will you truly benefit from doing this – and from doing it right now? (Immediate need?)
- Can it wait a few months to initiate the expense?
- If the answer is “I need it right now”: How will you plan to modify your current budget to make allowance for this? What will be eliminated? (Be specific)
Within Your Means
If it’s a necessary expense, I configure the best way to manage it (within my means). Then it’s a matter of putting the strategy into action: Set up the payment plan and eliminate the other expense(s) found in number 5.
I know you are getting tired of hearing about the braces but I think it is a good example of those larger expenses that can pop up and become a required budget modifier. With modifying my budget, I cut out a few things to prepare for the down payment (i.e. eating out and unnecessary purchases) as well as cut some things from my monthly expenses to prepare for the on-going monthly payment. But I knew I would be more comfortable if I could pay for the remaining balance due over 36 months instead of the 24 or 30 month options they gave me. This would make the payment smaller and was especially viable since they were not going to charge me interest over the payment period.
Be Bold - Negotiate
Never underestimate negotiations. Here is the conversation as it occurred Tuesday at the orthodontist:
Front Desk Receptionist: Ma’am, we need to do some paperwork.
FDR: How did you plan to pay for this, 24 month plan or 30?
me: Oh, I would like to pay over 36 months, but I didn’t get a printout for that option.
FDR: We don’t offer a 36 month payment plan. How much do you plan to pay for the deposit?
me: I am paying down $1000 today and then needed to pay the balance over a 36 month plan.
FDR: We don’t normally do that.
me: Ok… but I have a tight budget… so I am going to need to pay the balance over 36 months.
FDR: I don’t know. We don’t normally do 36 months.
me: Yes…I understand… but I need to do this over 36 months.
(Note: Both of us are still being very calm and kind through all of this going back and forth.)
FDR: Well I will check with Dr. Ortho to see what he says.
me: Ok, thanks. (smiling)
(I wait at the desk while she goes to the back.)
FDR: Dr. Ortho said he would be glad to set up your payments for 36 months.
me: Thank you so much.
FDR: You do realize you may still be paying after she is using only a retainer?
me: Yes, and if I can pay it off sooner, my game-plan is to do that. The 36 month setup is to simply assist with my monthly expectations for payments.
I knew they could not argue with my willingness to have the procedure done for what they quoted me in price… just because I simply wanted to cushion my own monthly budget expenses. My next offer if she came back insisting on 30 months, was going to be pay less down and keep that other part of the deposit to assist my monthly payout amounts or to take Kass and her records to another orthodontist.
In today’s economy you must be bold when it comes to paying for services with businesses. They need your business and if they are reputable they will work with customers that are simply being ethical but intend to pay overall. If you have a thought-out negotiation that benefits both the seller and you-the payer, then ask. If they don’t want to listen? They aren’t worth your time – or your money!
What do you think?
Was my banter (though kind and mild) worth the end result?
Are you being bold with your money?
Find yourself… keeping it real.