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Want to Save Money? Just Ask.

The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate: Want to Save Money? Just Ask.

Boats on Lake Superior
source: Christina Brown

Most people expect to negotiate a final price when shopping for a new car.  They don’t usually walk into the car dealership and pay whatever is on the sticker in the window.

And yet, many of us waste hundreds of dollars each year because we don’t negotiate the prices of things.  We miss out on opportunities to save money because we don’t  want to cause trouble or seem “cheap.”

It’s a shame, really, because it is really easy to ask for discounts and freebies.

For example, last spring I caught a great deal on a hotel stay at a water park about 2 hours from home.  The rate was $119 for a standard room with two queen beds. Normally this room is $179 a night at this hotel.  I booked two nights.

Then, we had our 3.5-day power outage, and we spent a lot of time together as a family. And I decided that it could very well be worth the extra money to upgrade to a two-room suite for our little staycation.

So I visited the hotel & water park’s website and started an online chat with Kevin.

Here’s how it went:

screen shot of chat

Just by asking the simple question, “Any cheaper options?” I was able to save $48.20 a night (or $96.40 for the length of our stay).  I really wanted the room upgrade, but there’s no way I would have paid the full $207 for it.  I asked politely, and guest services were extremely helpful.

If I hadn’t asked, I would have had to stick with our original reservation and feel stressed and crammed into the space, or I would have overpaid.  Instead, we kept our money in our wallets to use for other things on our trip.

I’ve had similar success in other areas of our lives.  When we bought a fridge, dishwasher, and over-the-range microwave for a new home, I asked the appliance store if they would throw in free delivery (a $50 value) because I was making such a big purchase.  They agreed.

When we found out we were having twins, I learned that many baby product and diaper companies offer freebies and special coupons for parents of multiples.  I scored a ton of stuff with just a few phone calls and e-mails – everything from free baby bottles and toys to very high-value diaper coupons – just for asking.

I’ve called companies and would just ask for coupons and samples, and they’ve sent them.  I’ve called companies and paid them a compliment and in return, they’ve sent me coupons for free products.

And if I’ve had a bad experience with a product, I do not hesitate to contact a company and ask them to make it right.  Everyone should get the customer service they deserve.

All of these strategies have helped me make the most of my money.  The worst that can happen is that the companies say, “No.”

But if you are knowledgeable about what you want, and you are friendly and polite, you’re likely to save money if you just ask.

It’s worth a try.

Have you ever asked for a discount?  How did it go?

Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas. She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 7-year-old and twin 5-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.