Everyone wants to save money, but there’s a fine line between being thrifty and being frugal. Follow the tips below to get the discounts you want – without coming off as that crazy, coupon-clipping lady.
Furniture. Don’t settle for the price tag on a display. Research competitor prices online, find a friendly salesperson and ask if the store will match it. Another approach is to see if there’s a floor model they’re willing to let you “take off their hands”.
Clothing. Always stay positive and try to be charming. If you find a damaged item, lead with a compliment such as, “I love this top, but one of the buttons seems to be missing. Is it possible to get a discount?” Once you reach the register, ask the sales associate if there are any promotions going on that you might not know about. Had a coupon but left it at home? Ask if they’ll honor it anyway.
Cable bill. After the introductory rates during the first year, your cable bill may go through the roof. Again, making sure to be nice, call customer service and tell them you’re looking to cut expenses. Say that your friend has a better plan with a competitor, but you’d prefer to stay with your current company, so you were curious if they could extend the lower rate. If you don’t have any luck, try calling back to speak with someone else.
Medical bills. A little research can go a long way. Request an itemized bill from your doctor’s office or the hospital and go to fairhealthconsumer.org, a health cost resource similar to Kelley Blue Book for car prices. Compare typical costs and treatments in your area, then call your doctor and see if they can offer a rate reduction. Just make sure you act within 90 days before the bill goes to collection, where it will be much harder to negotiate.
Real Simple, June 2015