10 Questions that Save You Money
It Pays to Ask
We all know people who seem to get deals and discounts everywhere they go. They get money off, special bundles, free services – are they just lucky? What’s their secret? Well, when it comes to getting great savings, one of the most valuable things you can do is actually pretty simple…ask questions.
Asking questions is a way to start a conversation with shop and restaurant owners or service providers. Not only will you learn more about their products and services, but you can ask about the price and any savings opportunities.
If you aren’t used to asking questions, it can feel a little uncomfortable at first. Just remember, you deserve to make informed decisions and you owe it to your budget to give it a try. In the end, the worst that can happen is you pay what you would have in the first place. You never know until you ask!
10 Questions to Ask that May Save You Money
Is this your best/lowest price?
If this one feels pretty daring, hear us out. A quick moment of bravery may bring you a lot of savings. Pricing is often set by shop owners and it’s in their power to make adjustments based on sales and market interest. They may offer a discount to help move product or free up display space.
In situations where haggling is common – think craft fairs and markets – retailers actually build in a significantly larger markup on products than they expect someone to pay. In these cases, if you don’t ask for a better price you are actually paying more than you need to and more than even the merchant expects.
Even if the answer is, “Yes, this is our best price,” asking this question still opens a discussion about other possible deals. Perhaps they can offer free delivery, an extended warranty, or waive an installation or activation fee.
Do you have any current deals or promotions?
Have you ever bought something only to realize later there was a special that could have saved you money or changed your mind? That’s why you should ask what deals or promotions are available before you make your decisions.
This isn’t just for restaurants and retailers, remember to ask service providers like your cable, insurance, cell phone, internet, and utilities if they have any promotions. Some providers will even give you the “introductory rate” even if you’re an established customer – all because you asked!
Do you have any coupons I can look up on my phone?
Lots of stores have discounts and coupons available through their website, social media, and email lists. When you walk into the store or before you check out, ask if there are any codes you can look up on your phone. A quick search can often save you big.
Ask the cashier if they have any coupons or discounts they can apply. Some retailers give their cashiers a barcode sheet with discounts and current offers that they can scan for customers. This also works for grocery stores where you don’t have a loyalty card. Just ask the cashier if they have a store card they can scan for you. If they do, you’ll unlock instant savings!
Will this be on sale anytime soon?
You may get a lower price if the item you’re considering buying will be part of an upcoming sale. This is especially good to ask at the end of each season when items are about to be marked down.
If I pay cash or the full amount now can you give me a better price?
Sometimes retailers are willing to give you a discount if you pay the full price upfront or pay in cash. This often works best for large ticket items like furniture.
If I buy more than one can you give me a bulk discount?
We all know about bulk warehouse discounts (the kind where you save money on 40 rolls of toilet paper or 15 pounds of cheese), but smaller stores are often willing to give you a price break when you buy a larger quantity too. If you are buying a lot of the same thing ask if there’s a price break available. This is great when you are shopping for corporate gifts, party favors, and more.
Do you have a repeat customer discount?
Return customers at stores or restaurants may have had the good fortune of getting a “friendly faces” discount or comped dessert. Always ask if there are any deals or specials for repeat customers. You may discover that your favorite ice-cream shop offers a frequent buyer punch card and that you’ve been missing out on free scoops.
Do you price match?
If you’ve ever thought, “I bet I can find that cheaper online” ask if the store is willing to price match. Price matching comes in a few flavors so be sure to understand each store's policy. Some stores only price match items on their own website (yes, in-store and online prices at the same retailer often vary so it’s worth a check), others price match local competitors, and some even price match any online retailer.
Do you offer a student, veteran, teacher, health care worker, or nonprofit discount? How about an AAA, AARP, Chamber of Commerce, or another membership discount?
There are plenty of stores, restaurants, and service providers that want to give back to those serving our community or living the student life. Be ready to show your ID or proof of employment.
If I __________, can you __________?
The possibilities are endless with this one and it’s up to you how bold and creative you want to be. This formula works in part because you are offering something before you ask for something. For example, “If I sign up for two years of service instead of one, can you waive the annual fee?” Remember you can ask for discounts in exchange for saving the seller money. For example: “If I decline the free delivery, can you take 5% off the sale price?”
Final Thoughts: You Never Know Until You Ask
When you get more comfortable asking questions, you unlock a whole new world of savings opportunities. The important thing to be polite and to accept their answers.
You know what goes with a #happybudget?
A really great bank!
Where you bank matters. When you bank locally, you are investing in the success and prosperity of our community. Just like when you shop at local stores, buy local produce and foods, and support local nonprofits, banking locally has a big impact. How does it work? Every bank invests in something. Community banks like ours invest in the local economy through small business loans and helping families.