May is synonymous with college graduations. But since the unemployment rate now stands at 9%, 2011 is a tough year to graduate in. Whether you have a job or not, learning how to become a clever negotiator will help you throughout your entire career. And if you’re trying to get a better deal on a gym membership or persuade your boss to give you a raise, there are basic fundamentals and principles of negotiation to abide by. Read on as negotiation experts share their top tips with MainStreet. Photo Credit: Thirty30 Photography
Successful negotiators know their stuff. According to Kerry Patterson, co-author of Crucial Conversations, if you want a raise, you need to “show evidence why you merit a higher salary. Also, have well-researched salary survey data documenting what other people get paid for similar roles, in similar companies and in the same geographic region.” Think of it this way: If you’re in a store and you show the manager an advertisement from a competitor store selling the same item for a lower price, that manager will most likely match the price. You’re showing proof and tangible evidence, which strengthens your case. If you think you’re underpaid at work, prove it! HR Specialist and founder of Push Consultant Group, LLC, Joey Price, urges recent graduates to remember, “Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither are cushy salaries. Understand that regardless of experience, an entry-level position is still an entry-level position and therefore can only be paid so much.” Photo Credit: Kristian D.
If you plan on buying or leasing a car after graduation, you’ll need to tack on the hefty car insurance expense, in addition to the cost of the car and gasoline.
After all those hours spent studying for finals and living on coffee, you have to get into shape, right? But why overpay for a gym membership? “Sales reps at the gym typically work off of monthly commissions and may be willing to give you a better deal at the end of the month because they are trying to meet their quota. Ask for initiation fees to be waived or reduced,” suggests Linda Swindling, J.D., and author of Get What You Want: Harness the Power of Positive Influence, Persuasion. As with any purchase, do your research and compare the prices of the different gyms in your neighborhood. Swindling also suggests finding an apartment complex with a gym in the building. Photo Credit: Mimar Sinan
Typically, May and June are the busiest and most expensive months for the rental market, since rentals are in high demand due to the hectic college graduation season. If possible, wait until August or the September following your graduation to rent an apartment, when the demand will be down. Some buildings in large cities will offer a month’s free rent as an incentive to lure renters. If your landlord is not offering this, ask for a month or a half a month of free rent. See if you can get a free membership to the building’s gym, if it has one. And consider apartments on the lower floors of the building, which are typically cheaper. Sure, you may have a view of a brick wall, but at least you'll be in the building you like. Also, if you had a roommate in college, why not have a roommate after college? Splitting the rent obviously makes post-college life a lot easier. Photo Credit: petrr
You have your apartment, but now you have to furnish it. Chances are the apartment is on the smaller side, so there’s not much room for furniture (don’t worry, that’s good for your wallet). Check eBay and Craigslist to purchase used furniture. Also consider buying the floor models in the furniture stores, which are usually offered at deep discounts. Even if the table has a scratch or the leather couch has a small tear, these minor imperfections will be worth the savings. And remember shopping at IKEA for dorm room furniture? Take a stroll through that store again – you’ll find deals. Don’t think you’re too cool for IKEA just because you have your own apartment. Photo Credit: TheLivingRoominKenmore
In college did you ever receive a discount at area restaurants, movies or museums by showing your college ID? It doesn’t hurt to ask the retailer if they offer a student discount. According to Stella Fayman of FeeFighters.com, “As long as you still have your student ID, merchants will give you the student discount since you’re an early graduate. Many people will sympathize with new grads not magically making a ton of money out of school.” Also, magazines and newspapers typically offer students a hefty discount. Scott Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com http://helpsavemydollars.com/. He has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, Fox News, ABC News and CBS. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter. Photo Credit: o5com