Take time to teach day to day life lessons

I am blessed to have good friendly neighbors who go out of their way to help others. In a day and age where most people do not  know their neighbors or worse dislike them I am truly fortunate. Sometimes the benefit manifests itself in unexpected ways.

After returning from work last night I had my next door neighbor flag me down that they were having a few beers in the garage. The conversation was light and after the second Dos Equis he mentioned that he was now saving $30 per quarterly billing cycle on his trash service. He managed to snag the discount without changing companies by calling our existing company and giving them an opportunity to match the lower price of the new company’s offer before switching. I made the identical call today and managed to gain the same discount so my net benefit of the evening was 3 Dos Equis’ and 120$ in annualized savings (expense avoidance). The new rate is good for a year at which time I will attempt a similar play unless costs are held in check.

My daughter is home from school today and was in the basement watching tv while I was negotiating the discounted rate. I decided to use the encounter as a lesson to help teach her the value of negotiation. I explained the situation to her in a way she could understand taking it from the top:

  • Our neighbor told me he was able to get a discount on trash removal by asking for a lower price that another company offered him (I mentioned its important to get along with your neighbors so you can help each other)
  • I told her negotiation is a good thing and the worse thing that can happen is they will say no. I want her to understand that no price is absolutely set in stone and that negotiation is a healthy part of life. I want her to begin harness her negotiation skills even at the age of 7. She is already pretty good at negotiating and loves the show Pawn Stars so it was an intriguing idea for her.
  • I mentioned that this will help save me 120$ a year which is a ton of money to a kid. Her eyes lit up bright so I was trying to reinforce the point that by lower your expenses it can help lead to building your savings. She may be expecting a better Christmas since she now knows she has a money savvy dad so hopefully I have not built up the expectations any higher.
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