Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In today's economy, it pays to ask for a discount.

Asking for a discount can be intimidating for many people. In my past life 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. I have a Family Balance Sheet to maintain and by simply asking for a discount or price adjustment I can help my family's finances.

Some recent examples:

1. I was at a big box store to purchase a bridal shower gift from a 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 very kindly 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.

2. We use credit cards on a lot of our purchases to earn points and to get coupons in the mail from certain stores. We pay our cards off every month. Recently, one day after a store credit bill was due I realized that I never mailed the bill. So with two kids in tow I went to the store to pay off my bill. When I got my next statement I had incurred about $30.00 in late fees. I immediately called the credit company and pleaded my case. Again in a kind manner, I told them that I was only one day late and I had paid off the balance. I also told them that this was my first offense. The customer service person had no problem reversing the $30.00.

3. We recently refinanced our mortgage and will save about $9000 over the remainder of the loan. What I failed to do when we switched companies was close our checking account with the original bank. The mortgage payment was automatically withdrawn every month and there was about $100 left in the account. When I received my statement at the end of February, I noticed that a $20 bank fee was deducted. Again with two kids in tow I went to the bank to close out the account and ask about this $20. I opened the account so long ago that I couldn't remember what the minimum rules were. The customer service person was sorry that I was closing my account and had no problem giving us back the $20. Now that is customer service!

4. Recently, my hubby received a parking ticket outside of our house. His car was parked behind our van in our driveway and the tail end was blocking part of the sidewalk. At 2:20 AM, an officer cruising our neighborhood gave him a ticket. He noticed the ticket on his way to work that morning and went to the police station over his lunch break. The officer told him that people do walk their dogs through out the night and the car cannot block the sidewalk. But he did reverse the ticket and my hubby was very grateful. (I am also grateful knowing that the police cruise our neighborhood in the middle of the night.)

The moral of these stories is to simply ask. In a nice, respectful manner you might receive an additional discount, fee reversal and maybe even a ticket reversal. Although you probably only get one chance to reverse some of these offenses. In today's economy people are more choosy on where they are spending and placing their money. They want your business and in many cases are willing to work with you to get your business.

Have you had success recently by simply asking or negotiating for a discount?

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