Just Ask — Simple Ways To Save More

posted by Andrea | 02/1/2011

If you are anything like me, you are ALWAYS looking for ways to save a buck or two!

Now days, it seem there are hundreds of resources out there to help you save money with coupons, rebates, and in-store deals…all of which are great ways to save.

However, there are a bunch of other ways you can save on your daily living expenses — and all you have to do is ask.

No, I’m not talking about asking your friends or family for cash — although that might work too! I’m talking about retail stores, utility companies, newspaper subscriptions, and more.

Think I’m crazy? That’s fine — but it works!

I never realized how much money I could save our family by simply asking a few questions…and now I’m addicted. Keep reading and you might be too!

Newspaper Subscriptions:

We are loyal subscribers to our local newspaper. We get it daily and we pay for it in full at the beginning of the year {which, by-the-way, also saves money}. I scour all the adds, clip coupons, and test different recipes. Dave reads it cover to cover and does the logic puzzles every day!

When we first signed up we got a “special discounted rate” for being new subscribers. However, when I got our bill the following year, the price had almost doubled.

I decided to call the company and ask if we could work out a compromise. To my surprise, the customer service representative agreed to give us the “promotional rate” for another year. It’s 4 years later and we still get the promotional rate…saving us about $80 every year!

Magazine Subscriptions:

Personally, I don’t pay for any magazine subscriptions — although I do get Better Homes & Garden as a gift! From time to time, however, I will sign up for free issues of magazines that interest me. And often, these companies will send additional issues even after my free membership is over.

When they request payment for my subscription, I simply remind them that I only signed up for the free trial issues, in which case they ALWAYS offer me a ridiculously good deal, like a year subscription for only $3.99. I’m cheap {and I hate paper clutter} so I still decline their offer; however, if you’re the type of person who loves a good pile of magazines lying around, try this out sometime.


Did you know that utility companies can (sometimes) give you a non-advertised discount…just for asking? Usually this only works for for “elective” utilities like cable, internet, telephone, cellphones, etc, but these savings really add up.

PHONE: We don’t have a home phone — only cell phones — so when my husband and I went on the “Family Plan” with Verizon, we asked for the cheapest package. They gave us one with 600 minutes.
The next day, I called and asked to speak with a manager. I asked if there was anything better he could do for use…and 10 minutes later, we had a 550-minute package at a savings of $10.00 per month!

INTERNET: When I called to set up AT&T, I asked for the cheapest package. After a few minutes {and some awkward negotiation on my part} she gave me the information I needed and we signed up for high-speed internet for only $14.99 per month. Since then, the price has gone up to $19.99, but if I call in and explain that I’m a loyal customer, they usually give me a $5.00 credit!

CABLE: It took us nearly 3 years to get cable, and that was only because we couldn’t get the digital converter box to work with our antenna. We signed up with the basic package from Comcast for only $16.99 per month. This packages is not even offered on their website, and they’ll try to pretend they don’t know what your talking about…but keep asking and you might get this deal too!

Retail Stores:

Sure you can shop the sale racks to save on your favorite brand-name clothing, but have you ever tried simply asking the manager for a discount? You might think I am totally crazy, but you might be surprised how often this actually works!

If you are a loyal shopper, feel free to casually explain to the manager (not the cashier) that you love the store and have shopped with them for years — and then go ahead as ask if he or she could give you a discount on your purchase that day.

It might not work every time, but I’ve definitely had success with this method in the past. However, don’t expect this to work in a store you’ve never shopped at before or if you are already purchasing deeply discounted or clearance items.

Of course, you can always save more by simply not shopping in the first place!

Furniture, Jewelry, and Appliances:

Please promise me that you will NEVER pay full price for furniture, jewelry, or appliances. These products have enormous mark-ups just so the sales people can make it look like they are giving you a deal. They might offer you $100, or even $200 off the sale price to make you think you’re getting a deal. However, most of the time…it’s still not a deal.

Also, don’t ever commit to buying a high-end piece until you’ve checked a few other stores for their prices. Often you can get a deeper discount just by casually mentioning that you would like to “shop around” before you make your final decision! And if all else fails, simply throw out a number in your price range and see if they bite!

NOTE: I have limited experience purchasing high-end items…I usually stick to bartering at garage sales!

These are a FEW of the many ways I have saved our family money…just by asking! You should give it a try.

Have you had any luck with this in the past? Let me know…so I don’t feel like the only crazy one!


Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

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  1. Betsy (Eco-novice)


    I believe in ALWAYS asking. The worst that can happen is that the person will say no. Today I showed up at Target with a receipt for the shoes my son was wearing. I bought them about a month ago — no tag, no box, just the receipt, and a very dirty pair of shoes. The velcro fastener was already falling apart on one shoe. I asked if I could exchange them for a new pair. They said they no longer carried the shoe, but would give me store credit. So while my 3-year-old stood by in his socks, they took his dirty shoes and exchanged them for a (better) pair of new shoes. My husband was thrilled. You can’t always get this kind of service, but, heck, you might as well ask!


    Andrea Reply:

    That’s great — I can’t believe Target took those shoes back!

    We save SO much money just by asking. And you’re right, it can’t hurt.


  2. Tammie Smith


    Absolutely have!! My family thinks I am crazy also but hey whats the harm in asking??! I also have a history of getting my way when it comes to store policies as well! Esp. with returns. Explaining the “I have been a valued customer and/or if I am not satisfied, I will just take my business elseware” definitely works. If there are other circumstances that arise, esp. with returns and I have my receipt, I will go through several managers till I get the top guy to get what I need! Esp. with places like “BEST BUY”. I have always shopped there for my eletronics, phone cards, etc.however, recently I was given the wrong info. buy one store vs. another and ended up not being able to return a product that I did not like “With my Receipt” and because I was past the ??? 30days for a return and the ??? 45days for a store credit !! THIS PRODUCT WAS A PLASTIC PHONE CASE THAT I NOW AM STUCK WITH DEPENDING ON WHAT CORPORATE SAYS AFTER I WRITE THEM ABOUT THE SITUATION!!! Now because of this situation?? I wil probably never shop at their location again esp. knowing now, about their restocking fee!! MY FEELING IS, I THINK IF YOU HAVE YOUR REC EIPT WHICH IS PROOF OF THE PURCHASE, THERE SHOULD BE NOW RETURN LIMIT ON THAT PRODCUT. ESP. IF IT IS NOT USED ETC..