I used to take a store’s sticker price at face value. If the product I wanted was priced at $24.99 (or whatever), I’d pay it. No qualms, no questions asked, no problem — I’d make the purchase. Sticky price tags stuck on marked up merchandise led me to believe all retail prices were firm, fixed, and immovable. Guess what? I was wrong.

The first time I dared to open my mouth and ask for a better deal I scored an instant 10% discount — a $5 savings on a pair of jeans on clearance (I’ve since distanced myself from denim, promise). I know $5 doesn’t sound like a lot of moolah, but over the years I’ve honed my haggling skills and have saved thousands of dollars on everything from housewares to travel, clothing, and even food.

The art of snagging serious savings and uncovering hidden discounts isn’t hard to master — anyone can do it by being brave and asking for a better deal. By following these 7 cost-cutting ways you too can get an instant discount on anything.

1.) Ask the question.

Is this the best price you can offer me?

It’s a simple question to ask, and politely posing it to the right person is absolutely free. The only cost to you is the possible disappointment of walking away with zero savings or leaving the store without your prospective purchase.

I ask this question all the time. At the electronics store, in the mall, and even online when shopping for used gear on Craigslist and eBay. Results can be mixed, but most sellers are happy to cut the advertised sticker price by 5% to 10% to make a fast sale to a keen, courteous buyer.

The trick to haggling is letting the seller or retailer decide the discount first, putting them in a perceived position of power. If you don’t like the deal on first offer, go ahead and ask for a deeper cut. You can always walk away from the sale if you don’t like the old or new price.

Many bashful Canadians (and Americans) blush at the thought of haggling. Why? It’s your money, so don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal.

2.) Check To See If You Qualify For Discounts.

Veterans, Seniors and many more groups of people qualify for discounts, so if you fall into any of these categorys, don’t be afraid to ask.

3.) Find The Powerful Person.

Whether you’re shopping for sensible shoes or guilty pleasure gadgets, the monied path to discount nirvana often starts with the person in charge — the manager. Most store managers or supervisors have the power to instantly discount merchandise by up to 15%, while most employees often don’t have the authority to save you a cent.
The key is to always be respectful of sales clerks since many work on commission, and kindly ask if the manager is available to answer a few questions. See #1 and #2. 🙂

4.) Time your haggle.

Timing is everything when scouting savings. Serious discount shoppers know that the best time to ask for a better deal is in the evening or early hours when stores are less busy, and when clerks have the time to chat.

If you’re in the market for big-ticket items such as cars or household appliances, look to bargain shop at the end of the month — that’s when salespeople aim to meet their quotas and may be in the mood to haggle.

5.) Be Polite.

Being an a$$hole will cost you. I can’t stress this simple fact in a nicer way. 🙂
Stamping your foot and making a pouty face won’t save you a dime, and demanding a discount just doesn’t work. Sorry. So don’t be disrespectful or difficult when you attempt to deal — smaller stores and hired help may be unable to drive a discount in your direction, and pushing the matter will likely prove useless.

Learn to smile, and a discount may smile with you.

6.) Pay in cash.

Skipping credit in favor of cash could be your ticket to debt-free savings. Merchant credit card transaction fees can range from 2% to 8%, costing retailers serious dough. Offering to pay for your purchase in cash could easily save you money if the vendor is able to slash these built-in fees from a cash-only sale.

7.) Ask about sales.

Love the dress but hate the price? Skip paying full retail by asking the salesperson or the store manager if your prized item will be going on sale. An eager commissioned salesperson may hold your item or let you buy it sooner at the lower price if you ask. Asking is free, and being polite could snag you the deal.

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