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July 28, 2010


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Sometimes if it's a seasonal item you can just joke with the sales people. Tell them they won't have to put the snow shovel in the warehouse until next winter if they'd be willing to knock $5 off the price. Make sure you're asking someone who can make a decision. Most clerks don't have that leeway.

I've been most successful when I've been able to identify the manager and ask for a discount in private. I think sometimes the worse thing you can do is ask for a discount in a store full of shoppers. The manager knows if he gives a discount all of the other shoppers antennas will go up.

If you are buying a high priced item, especially electronics, you can ask if the store will price match. A lot of times Amazon has good prices but it might be more convenient to purchase an item in store. That was the case for the camera my wife and I recently bought and the store matched the price on Amazon.

We have saved literally thousands of dollars simply by asking--home appliances, exercise equipment, home theater and electronics, and more. Generally, I just say something like, "This is more than we planned to spend. Do you have any specials or discounts that are available?" It's low-key and almost always works. Another thing to bargain for, even if a merchant won't discount the item, is free delivery. You can also try free assembly or a free service warranty. Don't be a wimp! It's your money. We've gotten substantial discounts at major chain stores like Best Buy. Ask, ask, ask!

Be wary of getting open box items, especially at electronics stores. Websites like Consumerist often have folks write in about how they got ripped off in situations like that.

So much so that they wrote an article:

Why in Heaven's name should someone be embaraced for trying to get a better price?

What's the worst to happen - they say no??

Generally, it can only help to ask. What is there to lose? In addition to asking for an up front discount, it's a good idea to consider offering an immediate cash payment. For contract work, plumbing, medical, etc this can be a very good way to score significant savings. Many of these folks have been burned by people who drag out payment or try not to pay at all. Cash is King, and can be used to get discounts with such businesses.

Especially in this economy, you really have leverage over retailers like never before. Consider asking for discounts everywhere, think outside the box and you would be surprised how much money you can save.

I also take a low key method of "Oh, this is more than I thought. Is there some way to bring it down?".

For example, one of my tires blew out yesterday on my way home and I had been putting off buying a whole new set for a few months (they were wearing down to the metal...I know, I know, I suck). Anyway, 4 new cheap Barum tires came to $322, but the nice ones came to $450. I asked the Discount Tire guy if $450 was the best that they could do since that seemed too expensive, and he dropped off $108 by crediting me about $28 a tire for my really crappy ones. I have 4 new Yokohama tires that are actually wider and will last at least 80,000 miles (supposedly) for $350. :-)

I also check online first so I know how much I'm willing to pay before I'm even in the store. That has saved me hundreds at least.

Write down the make and product code then go home and shop online, chances are it's cheaper there.

I ask for discounts on almost everything I buy. My friends make fun of me, but that's OK. I sometimes wait for them to buy the item and then I'll buy it right after them for less. That's when I start making fun...

This weekend I was in BuyBuyBaby with my wife. We were looking at carseats. The saleswoman showed us one for $99. She said it was basic, but had all the safety features. We were on the fence about buying it (and didn't ultimately), but with one simple question - put very bluntly - the saleswoman cut the price by about 30%. At the end of the short presentation she said it was $99, but she could give it to us for $89. Then I asked (almost verbatim): If I really haggle with you aggressively, how low can you get the price?

$79 and I have a 20% off coupon that you could use. In the end she went from $89 to under $65 (she already cut from $99 to $89) with one question. I think you're crazy if you don't ask for discounts.

I usually am not that blunt with asking for discounts. I try to play it cool (i.e. can you do any better with the price?), but I like this way. It was fun. I may use it more.

I read that only 1 in 8 shoppers are "brave" enough to ask for a discount and out of the ones that do half of them will get it! My wife refuses to stand beside me when I ask for a discount, but seems to be happy when we get it!

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