Yesterday I was reminded of one of the effects of being in a down economy, prices are much more negotiable. Our car was in for repairs and we really had a very limited amount we could spend. Knowing this we told the mechanic not to do any work without speaking to us first. When my husband got the call with the quote it was more than we could do. My husband, my father and my father in law have all worked on our cars at some point or other to help save money so my husband called them to consult on whether anything could be done ourselves. Sadly the verdict was no they were all things a mechanic must do. So my husband called back and told the guy the truth we could not pay that much and asked what could be done. To make a long story short the mechanic shaved off $150 since we said we would pay cash and he switched to used parts and reduced his labor price.
The reason I am telling you this is that we are all hurting from the low economy so often times things can be worked out, you just have to ask. Now I am not advocating cheating anyone out of fair payment, I always think you should pay what something is worth, but sometimes the value is negotiable. It never hurts to ask.