How to negotiate...that is more extensive than figuring out how much you ask for.
One of the other responses tells how to figure out what you need dollar-wise. I would add that you probably are neglecting something that will become apparently important AFTER you have committed to the job. Do you want children? Do you want pets of your own? Do you want to save up for retirement and how soon before you retire? Do you want to save for vacations?
Now, negotiating your price.
1. What the customer plans on spending matters nothing.
2. What you think you are worth is what matters.
If you were selling furniture, and say you have a couch that is extremely collectible...$11,000 (I have a friend in that very situation). You have a customer come in who is in the market for a couch. He is planning on spending $350. ($350 is reasonable for a generic couch bought at a furniture store, but not for a collectible.) You would never sell the $11,000 couch for $350.
In the same manner, you should not sell your time and labor for less than you desire.
- The way you get what you want in salary is first, ask for it. So many people never ask for the job, never ask for the pay they want, and never get the job at the pay they want. You cannot read the mind of your potential employer; he just might be willing to pay more, but...NEVER ask what he is planning on spending...tell him what you plan on charging.
If the client pushes back with a lower offer, do not lower your amount. Instead, remind him what he said he wanted and assure him, best done by showing an example of previous work you have done that proves you can do the same for him. If he continues to offer lower, ask him, "It is apparent that we are missing something. Can you tell me what else you need done that I haven't been able to show that I can do?"
He will either tell you of some misgiving, in which case you will have the opportunity to show how you can meet that need, but before you answer that, ask him, "is there anything else?" and keep asking that until he says, "No, that's all." Then answer those things. What this does is increase your value to him, making your price seem even more reasonable. He might mention something that you hadn't planned on doing, that means a greater investment of talent and time, for which you are justified in charging more, such as, he might want you to remove his back hair...after you swallow the bile, figure out how much more you would charge to deal with another man's backhair.
Now, if he does not have additional concerns, but focuses on the cost, either he hasn't been sold on your ability being worth what you ask, or he cannot imagine paying that much for the work. In that case, resell your ability to do the job, and remain firm on your price, but if he remains immovable, be prepared to walk away.
By lowering your price, you show him that you are untrustworthy, because you told him a lie about what you want. However, the job market being what it is currently, if you are desperate for a job, when you lower your price, provide an explanation...such as: "I really think we can get along, so I will work for $X", "The lawn equipment is far better than I expected so it will make me more productive, so I will work for $X", or "If you are willing to keep an open mind, I am willing to work for $X, but after a review of 6 months, we revisit how much I charge." (That last one is difficult to pull off, because it tells the guy he will pay more soon.
BUT--if you do not HAVE to take the job, don't lower your price. Give him a few days to weigh his options. I can almost guarantee no one else talked to him with the goal of selling himself, and chances are he will be willing to pay more for you...unless someone is willing to work outside the legal guidelines, which you have little defense against, because those outside the guidelines don't have unemployment taxes, SSI taken out...no health insurance benefits to pay for.