Ask a question, save some money!

Now that our new privacy fence is up, I’d like to put up a good quality swing set for the kids.  On Monday evening we purchased a used one from someone on Craigs List who made his tools available to take it apart (and was really a pleasure to deal with).  But in order to put it back together at home, I needed to buy a new ratchet set, since the one we have is too small for the bolt sizes of the swing set.

When I headed into Home Depot yesterday, I noticed that the packaging for the set I wanted was open, though all of the pieces were there.  So I asked an associate what the discount would be if I purchased it.  I was told I could get it for 20% off of the listed price since all of the pieces were there.  Whether that sounds significant or not, the fact is I would have discarded the packaging as soon as we got home, so I essentially earned several dollars for what would have gone directly into the garbage in any case.

If you’re at a store and see something has been opened or damaged, ask a manager what discount you’ll receive if you purchase it.  Sometimes you’ll be told there’s no discount (the Walmart here stopped discounting opened packaging since apparently people were purposely opening items so they could claim it was damaged and get a discount :( ), but often it will be worth the 20 seconds it takes you to ask the question.

Along the same lines, when you’re buying something used, it’s often appropriate to make an offer that is below the listed price.  The swing set we went to look at was listed at $100, but I asked the seller if he was flexible on the price, and offered $80, which he immediately accepted.  $100 was the total amount I had allotted to purchasing a swing set, and I knew that I’d need to buy more supplies (new screws, some replacement boards), which would bring up the total price.  I also had seen similar swing sets listed for about $75, so my offer seemed to me to be reflective of fair market value.

If you were to compare how these savings stack up if they would be based on an hourly rate, it helps put into perspective the savings value of just one question!  Of course, how much you save in each instance will differ, but in this case, $20 saved with a thirty second question equals $240 an hour.  Not bad, is it?!


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