Most people are aware of the conventional ways to save money with coupons and posted sales, but there may be other easy ways to get a deal and save some of your hard earned cash. Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people are unaware of discounts they qualify for. Below are some tips to help you keep your wallet a little fatter.
(Please note that these are subject to change and it is always up to the retailer or business to determine eligibility. Be prepared to provide documentation to prove your status to receive the discount.)
If you are in the military, a military spouse or dependent, retired, or have disabled-veteran status, you may be eligible for a discount at many retailers and other venues. During Memorial and Veteran’s day weekends, all veterans may be eligible for discounts at select retailers as well. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a military discount. Be prepared to show a military ID, Veteran’s ID, or DD214.
If you are a member of AAA or similar program there are often discounts available for hotels, car rentals, event tickets, etc. Most members are aware of these discounts, but it always is a good idea to ask if you aren’t sure. If you are a member of another organization such as the American Legion or PTA, you may be entitled to discounts as well – again, just ask. Many health clubs have partnerships with local businesses to offer discounts on services and products. Again, provide proper proof of membership to obtain the discount.
If you are a student or educator, you may be eligible for discounts on software or computers and accessories. For example, Apple states on their website that they offer special Education pricing for some of their products. It’s definitely worth asking if you are planning to make a purchase. Valid student ID or other documentation is usually required.
If you work for certain companies or even in certain industries, you may be entitled to a discount. Government employees may obtain special pricing on anything from hotel rooms to cell phone plans. Proper identification or pay stubs are typically required.
While insurance plans offer a discount, they don’t always cover everything. If you do not have insurance (though you should with the recent changes to healthcare laws), let your doctor’s office know of your situation and they may offer a discount or payment plan to help you afford the service. This happened to me after an unfortunate lapse in coverage during which I was unaware and had some blood tests done. The doctor and lab worked with me to obtain a reduced rate based on the reduced income due to a layoff, and I only was responsible for what I could reasonably afford. Additionally, many health insurance plans offer discounts for services such as weight loss programs, acupuncture or smoking cessation programs that may not fall under the actual medical plan. You can save a percentage of the cost and even get additional services at no charge in many cases. Your health insurance website is a great place to start when researching these options.
It never hurts to look at the competition before making a purchase. I use the Red Laser App on my phone to scan items and see what the competition is selling the product for. Many times if you show it to the cashier or customer service desk they will match the price. Be careful about using discount or auction sites as those are typically not valid, but most major retailers will match direct competitor. If planning to make a large purchase like a new car or have a home project completed, it’s a good idea to shop around and get some different quotes. You can then present those quotes to the location where you feel the most comfortable and see if they will match or beat the price.
Look at coupon policies or ask at customer service and see if they will honor a competitor’s coupon. Instead of driving all around town, see if you can get it all in one trip using one coupon. Again, check first since policies can change without notice.
Ask around and see if anyone knows someone that will give you a good deal. It never hurts to see if someone knows a professional that is looking for business and will give you a “friends and family discount”. Also, if you are willing to work with someone with a little less experience, see about using a new company and offer to pass out business cards to your neighbors, friends, etc. or put a sign in your yard in return for a discount.
If you are purchasing a lot of items, ask if you can get a discount. You may be only a few off from a great deal so see where that threshold is. If it’s something that may keep for awhile and be used later, you could save money now rather than re-buying at a higher cost down the road. This would work for something like HVAC filters that drop in price for a quantity of 10 or more at online retailers with free shipping.
Good Old Friendliness
Sometimes if you just ask nicely, you may be able to negotiate a discount. If none of the above have worked, it never hurts to ask if there are any other discounts or coupons you were unaware of. If you are celebrating something special, you may be able to get an upgrade or extra just by being friendly. My husband and I went on a quick weekend trip for our 6th wedding anniversary and when we checked into the hotel, we asked if they were full for the night. When the clerk responded no, we explained that we were celebrating our anniversary and asked if there was any way to get a free upgrade to a nicer room since they weren’t busy. She was able to get us a small suite with a fireplace! We thanked her and put in a good word for her on the website as well for taking care of us.
You don’t have to be an “Extreme Couponer” to save money and get a deal. Put on your best smile and ask some basic question to see if you qualify for a discount. Do your research in advance to make sure you know what documentation is required or to make sure you are purchasing at the best retailer for a specific discount. Don’t be shy about asking for a discount, because every dollar counts!