I’ve been preparing materials for a few summer classes I’m teaching, beginning today, and realized that it never hurts to ask if there is a discount that can be applied to a purchase. Just yesterday I went to OfficeMax to make some copies since the school I’m teaching at is scrambling to begin this summer session. Since I hate opening a class unprepared, I wanted to copy the first day or two’s materials. When I went to pay, my husband blurted out, “Is there a discount for teachers?” (I’m not sure why I didn’t think to ask, but thank goodness for thoughtful husbands!) Well, of course there was; $10 off my $40 purchase!

My husband’s reminder made me realize that I should be asking for discounts whenever we purchase something. It doesn’t have to be a teacher’s discount, it can be any kind of promotional discount or coupon, especially at stores that frequently offer rewards cards. Here are just a few reasons to ask:

  • Department store coupons – I don’t get the paper on a regular basis which is where many stores promote their sales and coupons. Asking at the register if there’s a coupon they can scan before checking out can save a bundle.
  • Rewards discounts – For some reason, I can’t ever find my office store rewards cards. I’m sure I’ve signed up multiple times, but at the register it’s always a good idea to ask them to look up my phone number or sign up again to receive the discount.
  • Large purchases – My husband has been drooling over big screen TV’s for a while, but wanted to wait for the prices to come down and the quality to improve. Now, that this has essentially happened, we’ll be making sure we ask for any promotional discounts before plunking down a wad of cash.

Since I have trouble remembering to ask for discounts, I need to carry a small reminder in my wallet – preferably one that’s taped to my debit card. As I see it, any savings is money that can stay in my account a little longer.

Do you ask for discounts before checking out? How do you make sure you’re getting the best price?