A grad-student blogger conducted a discount experiment. For a whole year, at least once a day, she would ask shopkeepers, waiters, flight attendants – pretty much anyone she saw if they could give her discounts, upgrades, freebies, or any other extras.
It turns out that just asking can get you great perks.
At first, it may take a little practice working up to it. What’s the worse that can happen? They could say no, but you could also score a great deal.
So, what types of businesses are most likely to bargain or give out extras? She almost always got a deal at Craigslist, estate sales, farmers’ markets. Stores like Macy’s, Best Buy, Fry’s, Ikea, Cost Plus, and Pier One were not flexible, but smaller stores gave more extras.
If you want to read more about this experiment, check out this article on Time, Want a Discount? Just Use the Obvious But Magic Words
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How To Ask For A Discount, And Get It
- Research the retailer’s policies and average prices to give yourself an edge.
- Don’t be afraid to ask – retailers have discounts available, so it’s worth a shot!
- Be friendly and courteous when you ask for a discount, as this will often create a more positive environment for negotiation.
- If you are shopping in person, be sure to smile and make polite conversation with the store clerk or salesperson; this can help make them more willing to give you a deal.
- Don’t ask for something too unreasonable; if you know what the item typically costs, be sure not to request something too far below that amount.
- Offer to buy multiple items at once; bulk purchases may qualify you for better discounts than single purchases would offer.
- Ask about special offers or promotions the retailer may have; these can sometimes include additional savings if qualifying criteria are met.
- Ask about any upcoming sales events that may offer extra discounts; these typically come along during holidays or other times of the year when retailers want to generate more business and attract customers by lowering prices.
- Check out customer loyalty programs; many retailers have loyalty programs where members get access to exclusive discounts on certain items or services throughout the year which non-members don’t get access too (or not as readily).
- Try bartering with the store owner/clerk; sometimes they might be willing to let go of an item at a discounted price just so they don’t have to store it anymore – especially if it’s been sitting there awhile but still has value!
- Make sure you know exactly what type of discount you are requesting beforehand so there isn’t any confusion when talking with the retailer/salesperson about what is being offered/requested from each side (e.g., percentage off, free shipping etc.).
- Know your limits when negotiating. Don’t push too hard as this could damage your relationship with the retailer in future dealings (or even get yourself blacklisted).
- If possible, try bargaining through email (if applicable) as this allows both parties time to negotiate without feeling rushed or pressured by one another face-to-face in person regularly during negotiations may come across as demanding or pushy in some cases).
- Be prepared with alternative payment methods if needed. Some retailers offer additional discounts if payments are made via cash instead of credit card etc.
- Remember that getting a discount doesn’t always mean getting the lowest price available. Sometimes having good customer service & a relationship with the retailer is just as important!
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.