Ultimate Blog Swap: In Today’s Economy It Pays to Ask For a Discount

by Elizabeth on May 24, 2011 · 0 comments

in Frugality, guest post

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Dillon Bailey about setting SMART goals, and I’m excited to welcome Kristia from Family Balance Sheet to my humble blog.

Asking for a discount can be intimidating for many people.  We worry, “what if they say  no?”.

What if that is the worst that could happen?

In my previous career, I would negotiate with vendors for better pricing and deliveries to help my company’s bottom line. Currently the bottom line that I am responsible for is my family’s, which is more precious to me than my previous employer.

Even with experience in negotiation, I can get intimidated at times, but just asking a simple question, “is that the best you can do?” has saved me and my husband a lot of money.

Some examples:
1. Three years ago, we were searching for a new vehicle. We had a budget, a trade-in vehicle, a down payment and a goal to get as much vehicle as we could for our buck. We test drove many vehicles over the span of a month and spent our evenings researching and reading Kelly’s Blue Book online.

After much thought, we decided on a particular brand and model and had a price in mind that we were willing to pay. We visited a local dealer and met with a sales person. He explained the price of the vehicle and the promotions that were happening at that time and we listened intently. And then we asked, “Is that the best you can do on the price?”. The sales person brought his boss over and he explained the promotion again. The particular promotions for the model that we were interested in were FREE oil changes for the first 50,000 miles and FREE state inspections. Sounded good, but another model’s promotion included those things, PLUS FREE brakes, if needed, and 4 FREE tires, if needed, within the first 50,000 miles. That promotion sounded better to us, but it wasn’t included with the model we wanted.

The price of the vehicle was within the number my husband and I had talked about, but we held firm; we wanted some kind of additional discount. After talking privately, the salesman and his boss came back with a final offer. They offered more than we anticipated with our trade-in, they gave us the free oil changes, tires and brakes for the first 50,000 miles plus free yearly state inspections, they took off the price of the Rear Entertainment System, and they gave us crossbars for our car carrier. We were pleased and accepted the offer. Our persistence paid off, and the fact that it was the last day of July and the dealer was looking to unload some vehicles might have helped too.

2. We recently re-carpeted our business office. We received several quotes, but there was one particular style/brand of carpet that we really wanted. When the salesman submitted his bid, we were glad that it came within our budget, but my husband simply asked, “is that the best you can do?”. The salesman knocked another $200 off the bid and we were thrilled!

3. We are avid newspaper readers and usually pre-pay our 7 day subscription every year to save a little bit of money. But this year, when I received the bill, the yearly fee went up by $100. Ouch. I know the newspaper business is tough, but that price hike was a little hard to swallow. I called the customer service number and inquired about the price hike. She confirmed the increase, but told me that if I pre-paid a year’s subscription right then, she would charge me the previous year’s price.

4. Recently, I was shopping for a bridal shower gift from a store registry. My budget was $25, but since the registry was pretty much filled I settled on a gift that was $30. This particular store runs occasional coupons in the Sunday paper, but unfortunately I didn’t have one with me. When I got to the register I asked the sales person if she knew if there would be a coupon in the next day’s paper and if so could I bring it in for a price adjustment. She wasn’t sure but told me that she would give me the 20% discount on my purchase. I was thrilled that I saved $6.00 by simply asking a question and my gift ended up being within my budget.

Some things to consider when asking for a discount:

  • Be courteous and respectful. Rudeness will get you nowhere
  • Be prepared with knowledge and information. We went into the car dealership with information from Kelly Blue Book about what was a fair price to pay.
  • Be reasonable. Businesses and people are trying to make a living. For bigger items, your research will tell you what is fair. Try to get the best price possible, but don’t go overboard.
  • Be prepared to walk away.  We have asked many times for a discount and been denied.  Know where your line in the sand is.

In today’s economy people are more choosy on where they are spending and placing their money. Companies know this and in many cases are willing to work with you to get your business. Many every day purchases can be negotiated. Food items close to expiration date, damaged, yet wearable clothing, new flooring for your family room. There are discounts to be found, sometimes you just have to ask.

Have you asked for a discount lately? Where was it and how much did you save? Let us know in the comments.  

Kristia writes about family finances, frugal living, and food at Family Balance Sheet.

Visit Life…Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

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