We live in a very competitive world where people are constantly pitting themselves against others in a race to be the best. Be it in running or the climb up the corporate ladder, the quest to be the best parents, the prettiest person or the richest; people are always comparing themselves to one another and hoping to come out tops. But there are some things that are some areas of life that we take for granted and where we assume that competition doesn’t exist. But more likely than not, it does, and knowing that there are competing options is important. Because as soon as companies or people are competing it means that you are likely to get a better deal. So here are a few things to switch on to and use in your favour.

Power, gas and energy are all important commodities that every house needs. But there are options available and generally you have a number of suppliers to choose from. It is also very easy to switch from one supplier to another so this is something that you should be alert to. For instance if you want to hook yourself up with the cheapest electricity Melbourne has to offer, do some research, get some quotes and then start negotiating. Anybody who finds themselves with a couple of competing quotes in a competitive market is in the pound seats. Don’t just assume that your current deal is unbeatable.

There is nothing quite like an auction to ensure that the competitive juices get flowing. Without a doubt auctions are gambles – but the beauty is that they can provide real value for both the seller and the buyer. Ask anybody who has been to a real auction and they will almost certainly tell you stories of bargains that they picked up, or of items they sold that fetched far more than they ever thought possible. If nothing else the experience of an auction is also great fun.

Don’t fall for marketing
So many companies try to lure you in with loyalty programmes. The old buy ten and get one free mentality gets so many people, because let’s face it, who doesn’t like something for free. The only problem is that in most instances it isn’t for free. Do a little price comparison and you might find that the companies offering a buy ten get one free scheme are actually ten percent, or more, expensive than those without the ‘loyalty programme’. So the truth is that while they make it look like they are giving you a great deal, unless you are actually genuinely committed to lots of return visits, then you are just being charged more.

Don’t be shy to ask
Professionals like doctors, lawyers, therapists, architects etcetera all have their advertised rate cards. So do hotels. But the reality is, unless they are fully booked and not able to take any more business, they tend to be open to a chat about property power rates. Don’t be shy to ask. It is a competitive market and as a consumer you have as much right to set your acceptable fee as they do to state theirs. If you are prepared to walk away from the transaction if and when they don’t budge on the price, you will be very surprised at how quickly they are prepared to change their tune and adjust the cost downwards – a win for everyone.