Why You Should Ask Everyone For A Discount

Recently my wife and I went shopping for clothes.

The trip was long over due and we were about to head on vacation, so we needed to make purchases that day.

Unfortunately, we had no clue what stores would have what we were looking for before we left.

That meant we couldn’t search for coupons in advance of our trip.

However, we were still able to land a discount.

I didn’t think we had a chance, but it was easier than I thought.

All we had to do was one simple thing.

Always Ask For A Discount

Asking for a discount is easy. All you have to do is utter a few words. The thing is, no one actually does it.

When we were shopping, my wife found a couple pairs of shorts she liked at the absolute last store we stopped at, Old Navy. We never shop at Old Navy, but for whatever reason they had the shorts my wife needed.

I didn’t have any coupons, but I figured the store had to have promotions on a regular basis. So, instead of simply paying full price, I did something I never really do. I asked the cashier if they had any discounts they could apply.

I had heard of the technique of asking everyone for a discount prior to purchase. I thought it was stupid and not likely to work. I was so wrong.

The cashier first offered the option of signing up for an Old Navy credit card to save 35% of our purchase, or about $16. Since I regularly earn credit card sign up bonuses of $400 or more, I kindly turned down the offer.

Instead, I asked if she had any coupons we could use. She said she didn’t. Then she said the magic words. Let me try this code for you real quick.

She entered a few numbers into her cash register and 20 percent, or $9, magically disappeared from the total. The cashier said people usually get that coupon in emails, so she thought she’d give it a shot. We were glad she did.

All it took was asking a simple question to get $9 off our purchase. So, why don’t more people do this?

Why People Are Afraid To Ask For Discounts

People don’t ask cashiers and other businesses for discounts because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of rejection. No one likes to hear no, but in this case you have nothing to lose.

Some people are afraid of looking stupid when they’re rejected. If saving money makes you look stupid, sign me up. Worst case the cashier says no. All you have to do is say thank you, pay for your purchase and leave.

Chances are you’ll be told no more than you’ll be told yes. However, over the long haul you can save a lot of money by asking a simple question while the cashier rings up your purchase.

Do you have any additional discounts you can apply?

More Examples Of Discounts We Received By Simply Asking

While I have never asked for discounts at the cash register before, I have asked for plenty of other discounts over the years. Many times I have been shot down, but I’ve saved a lot of money the times when people said yes.

Recently I had gutters installed on my home. The installer initially quoted me $1,320 for the job. However, after asking if there were any discounts he could apply, he said he’d do the job for $1,200 if I paid cash.

$120 saved in just a few seconds.

Negotiating my cable bill is a never ending adventure. The cable company raises prices then I have to call and ask for a discount. I almost always get a reduced rate. All I have to do is ask.

I’ve easily saved over $1,000 doing this over the last few years.

We leased an apartment for a few months while we were having our dream home built. When we went to sign a lease for the apartment, I asked if there were any discounts available. The leasing agent asked a few questions.

The most important question was if we were going to be buying or building a home. We were.

She stated then I could get a home purchase addendum that reduced the lease breaking fee by $1,130 and allow us to sign a 13 month lease instead of a more expensive 7 month lease.

Asking saved me at least $1,500 in reduced rent and the reduced lease break fee.

From Now On, Ask For Discounts

I asked in the above cases because they were major or recurring purchases. However, if I now start asking for discounts almost everywhere, I could save even more.

You’ll quickly learn where you can and can’t get discounts. I doubt I’ll be able to get a discount at the gas station, but I can probably get discounts at clothing stores.

Once you figure out if a store you frequent doesn’t give discounts you can stop asking.

However, make sure you ask for discounts again after a few months or so. Sometimes stores change their policies or a new employee may be more willing to hand out coupon codes.

I’m willing to ask a simple question for the potential of saving money. Are you?

Have you ever asked for a discount at a store you wouldn’t think would give discounts? Did you receive a discount or did you get rejected? Let me know in the comments!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I have a rule, if I buy something for $50 and more, I ALWAYS ask for a discount. It’s a simple question to ask, but it took me some time to get comfortable with this question. I don’t know why, but at first I didn’t want to look cheap. Now, I don’t care 🙂
    If the answer is no, not a big deal, but usually the answer is “yes”.
    Recently we were looking for a new apartment to rent and of course I asked for a discount. After some negotiation we got 2 years lease (we are planning to stay for 2 years in the area) with the fixed price and the rent dropped down by $100 per month.

  2. Even though I don’t have ‘killer’ negotiating skills, I still like to look for a good bargain if possible. Last time I did something similar was when I needed serious dental repairs. I asked my dentist if he could tweak the price, seeing how I was going to be a “long term client”, so I managed to save a few hundred bucks 🙂 It was actually a win-win situation: I got great dental work done for less money, he had a happy client who will definitely come back on a regular basis.

  3. Great work, and in the case of Old Navy or other type stores, it’s not like the money is coming out of the cashiers pocket. So they get a pleased customer which is often worth it to them. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I do this all the time! It usually happens when I’m shopping for services though – like car repairs or personal training, etc. I’ve had some luck lowering prices or making offers on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Poshmark. That’s cool that you made it happen in a major retail store! I’ll try it next time!

  5. My husband and I should get in the habit of asking now that we are both over 60. Some places have senior discounts if you are over 55 so I know it is a good idea to ask. We are also members of AAA, and our credit union has discount programs that I always forget about. I also should try calling our cable and phone company (yes I mean landline – long story). Thanks for the reminders.

  6. I never ask for discounts, unless the setting is appropriate. I have too much dignity to go ask every single place… If something’s too expensive or not worth it, i’ll simply go elsewhere.

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