Smart Spending

Bargaining – When to Ask for a Discount

Saving money is a top priority for many individuals and families in this day-and-age, and fortunately there are deals to be had out there. The key to making your dollar stretch further and to being able to save a little extra cash is often to shop around and to ask for bargains.  Businesses who want to keep you as a customer may be willing to offer you special deals and good prices on products that you might be willing to buy anyway.

When to Ask for a Deal

While you may not be comfortable haggling or asking for a discount in every situation, there are a number of times when it just makes sense to ask for a bargain. Here are some tips on situations where you should definitely considering asking for a discount.

  • When signing up for cable service. Cable companies are notorious for offering great deals to lure new customers in. You may be able to take advantage of special introductory offers, get premium channels for free or bundle your services to save on costs.  New customers should definitely get a deal on their initial sign-up, but existing customers can also consider regularly calling their cable provider to ask about bargains. If you get a no from the first customer service rep that you speak to, consider asking for the cancellation or customer retention department. Often, the cancellation department reps will have the authority to agree to deals that the other customer service representatives don’t.
  • When you have gone over budget on your cell phone bill. Getting a big bill is an unpleasant surprise and one that no one wants to be faced with.  If you get a large cell phone bill, you should strongly consider contacting a customer service representative and asking what they can do for you. Often, the provider will be able to sign you up retroactively for a higher-service limit for the month that you went over. You can thus save money by just paying for the plan that provides the additional minutes or text, rather than paying the overage charges for each minute you went over.
  • When you are buying in bulk. If you are buying large quantities or large volumes of an item, you should strongly consider asking for a discount for buying in bulk. Most stores will be happy to be getting rid of a lot of their product all at once and will be eager to offer you a deal.
  • When you are paying cash. A cash purchaser always has a little bit of extra power in many different transactions, from buying a home to buying furniture or small appliances. Paying in cash allows the store to avoid paying fees to a credit card processor and eliminates worries about financing the purchase, so you may be able to get a better price or get some of the savings from the credit card fees passed on to you.

In all of these situations, you may be able to save money on items you would have bought anyway. Remember, it never hurts to ask and the worst that can happen is you end up paying full price, which you would have anyway.