Negotiate a Better Deal

The very thought of haggling, no matter what you’re haggling for, creates a crushing wave of anxiety in a surprising number of people. And while some personality types jump at the chance of striking a deal, many of us avoid negotiating at all costs.

But negotiating skills can be learned. And knowing how to negotiate when you’re buying a new car, making an offer on a house, asking for a cheaper cable or internet bill, or planning a wedding can save you a lot of money.

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Money: Talk Your Way to a Better Raise

Another year, another piddling pay raise? For some, sure. The average increase is expected to be just 3% in 2012, up a hair from last year’s 2.9%, according to human resources consulting firm Mercer. Still, managers are concerned about retaining top talent, which explains why the best performers will see a brighter 4.6% (while the weakest links will get 0.4%).

For a Money magazine story, I talked with career coaches, management professors, and psychology experts to determine several strategies for talking your way to a raise. For starters, you’ll want to avoid beginning the conversation with money talk. Instead, emphasize your level of worth by writing on the left side of a piece of paper the things you were hired to do, and on the right, what you’re doing — then provide this as evidence of your growing role at the company. Learn more about these negotiation tactics in this month’s issue of Money.