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Friday, October 17, 2008

How to get a discount on just about anything!

My motto is "It never hurts to ask, the worse thing that someone can tell you is NO!"

Negotiations have always come fairly easy for me as long as I can remember! As a child, I use to go along with my grandfather to yard and church rummage sales as well as flea markets and thrift stores. My grandfather never paid full price for anything, if he needed it he would get it...and always at the price he wanted!

Although I wasn't taught this method directly(or was I?), I soon picked up his habits myself. The first bargain I struck up was with my mother in a furniture store! She isn't the "haggle" type and would not even think twice about paying full price for something! There was a beautiful antique chair is the used furniture section and the price was $90 plus tax. I vividly remember asking the sales person if that was the best price he could do and he said that he could give it to us for $50. I immediately told him that we could give him $40 cash and that we would lift the chair and load it ourselves into our truck! He accepted the deal and a bargain hunter was born!

Ever since then I have bought clearance items from retail stores and re-sell items from yard sales and thrift stores! Practically my entire home is furnished with yard sale treasures with exception of a few pieces. I sometimes refinish some of the pieces in order to blend in! One time I even bought a carved wooden cat for $2 at a rummage sale because I liked it and after finding out that it was a signed original I resold it on eBay for $155! A $153 profit!

Here are some tips and tricks to get a discount on almost anything!

BIGGEST TIP! CASH IS KING...it costs retailers 1.75-3% of your total to use your credit card. Checks take time to clear the bank and could possibly bounce. Your chances of finding a better deal come higher when you use cash as your negotiator!

2nd BIGGEST TIP! If the item is of questionable size and is something that normally would get delivered, you could possibly use the fact that you can take it away from the store right then and there, to your advantage! Delivery fees are usually around $70-$80 for local deliveries! OUCH!

Appliances and Electronics

  • if the item is regular price, ask if it will be going on sale in the next couple of weeks, if they say that it isn't you could ask if there are any specials that they could give you if you purchased it today!
  • many of the web sites like Lowe's and Home Depot offer 10-20% coupons that will be mailed to you for signing up with their e-newsletter or having a credit card with them!
  • ask about rebates (sometimes deliveries are free after rebate if you just ask!)
  • Each store has a manger's special/green tag/refurbished/floor model/scratch n' dent special area! Make yourself knowledgeable of these areas in stores like Home Depot, Lowe's etc. (please note that if you purchase an item on clearance like this there may not be any returns or warranties etc so check before you buy!)

Grocery Stores
  • I do not know of any grocery store that will discount an item. It is possible that if the package is damaged or opened (as long as what's inside is still sealed) you may be able to ask a manager for a discount. Most of the time the people who stock the shelves pull these items down and they are marked off and put in the clearance area
  • Always familiarize yourself with the clearance areas of grocery stores! You can usually find good deals there and when a coupon is used...the sky is the limit!

Clothing Stores

  • Overstock stores such as Ross, TJ Max, and Marshall's are all negotiable. They do not have a warehouse that will take damaged items back, therefore, they will usually discount the item. If you find a shirt that is missing a button or a plate that is chipped on the back you usually can ask for the item to be discounted...the discounts are usually only 10-15%, don't expect more than that!
  • Retail clothing stores do have warehouses that they can send items back to but they can still sometimes be negotiable on their prices. Again, if an item is damaged, you can ask and will probably get a 10-15% discount!

  • Services such as cable, phone, carpet cleaning, etc can all be negotiated! Many of the phone and cable companies offer package deals!
  • If you have been with a company for a while, go ahead, give them a call! You might find out that you can get your same service for cheaper! It may be for only a 6 or 12 month period, but who's picky, right?
  • This can be done with practically any service offered! Just ask, you never know what they might say and any discount is better than none! You can also negotiate activation and start-up fees for services, sometimes these fees can be waived!
  • You can even negotiate things like health care services! If you have a balance with a hospital or doctors office, speak to the collections manager to see if they can knock off anywhere from 10-30% of the bill! Our local hospital is set up to automatically take off 20% for those patients who will pay them directly over the phone! If you know that you are going to pay cash for a doctors visit, call ahead of time to see if you can negotiate the office visit price!
  • Have bad credit lingering on your report? Write-offs? Past Due Accounts? Collection agencies purchase debts from companies for a fraction of the debt due. For Example: If you owe $3500 to the bank for a repossessed car the agency may purchase that debt for $300-$500. Your negotiation amounts can be greatly reduced because of this. You could even possibly pay $1000 for that initial $3500 debt! MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS IS WRITING BEFORE PAYING A DIME AND NEVER GIVE ANY INFORMATION, especially bank account numbers, OVER THE PHONE! Make sure that you get written confirmation on a settlement before doing anything!

Negotiation Etiquette

  • Always be extremely friendly and polite!

  • Be firm as long as you can solidly back what you are negotiating (matching another stores sale etc)

  • Be on the pushy side for places like car dealerships who expect negotiations

  • Always stay calm, never get angry if someone tells you no!

  • Persistence pays off! You usually won't get past the 3rd attempt to negotiate, so know when to stop!

  • It's OK to smoothly threaten! For example: Store #1 is running a 10% off all appliances deal for purchases over $299. You have a coupon for #2 store for 10% off your entire purchase. Both store #1 and #2 will honor each other and therefore you can get 20% off of your purchase price! Store #3 has no sales or discounts. You can go to store #3 and let them know the deal that you can get at these other 2 stores and ask if this is something they would be willing to match. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won't! If they won't budge, politely thank the associate for their time and go to #1 or #2 to get your 20% off!

  • If you ever run into an associate that tells you they cannot offer any discounts for you, politely ask if you can speak to someone who has the ability to! Usually this will be a manager! I personally, go straight to the manager's! They have more power over this and it cuts down on your time and effort with someone who cannot do anything for you!Be persistent
  • Always say thank you! More than once!
  • Go the extra mile to make management or corporate aware of any employee who gives you a good deal! Let them know how professional and helpful they were! Most people only call when they have a problem with something and this type of call is greatly appreciated! This will work wonders the next time you need something from that store! They will remember that you gave them "Kudos" and will be more willing to help you out next time!

Key Negotiating Phrases To Use!

  • Are there any specials going on today?
  • What is your best price that you can give on that item?
  • I am really looking to purchase this item today, are there any discounts available currently?
  • This ___(item) has ____(damage) are there any discounts that can be taken off?

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