Blog - How To Cut Expenses By Asking For Discounts

How To Cut Expenses By Simply Asking For Discounts

One of the easiest ways to increase your financial stability is to avoid spending money you don’t have to. It sounds pretty simple, but so many of us struggle to accomplish this.

Over the last few years I’ve made it a habit to ask for discounts for most everyday purchases. If I’m buying a new belt, I ask the check-out person if they have any deals going on, or if they can give me a discount.

More times than you’d think I end up getting anywhere from 10 – 30% off for nothing more than simply asking for it.

I first heard the idea while listening to an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show.


The Coffee Challenge is a part of what Noah Kagan calls his “Stranger Challenges.”

Kagan is an American entrepreneur and one of the founders of AppSumo. He was employee #30 at Facebook, Director of marketing at, and has a popular blog and podcast called OKdork, where he writes about lessons he’s learned in business and his personal life.

The “Stranger Challenges” are a series of “failure games” that Kagan came up with to encourage people to do things they wouldn’t normally do to help them learn more about themselves.

In the Coffee Challenge you ask for a 10% discount off your order at any coffee store you go to. It can be a local mom-and-pop store in your neighborhood or one of the Starbucks located on every corner, everywhere…

The idea behind the challenge is to break out of your comfort zone and to increase your confidence to ask for more. The importance of this cannot be understated.

It can help you with anything from asking for a raise at work to becoming a better all-around negotiator.


Like many, my first thought was “This can’t be that hard. You’re just asking for a measly 10% discount.” But it turns out that it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Coffee shops just aren’t a place you typically expect people to be bargaining. We aren’t programmed to see this as an ideal situation to ask for a discount, so when we go to do it our brains start to fight back and tell us something is “off.”

Basically, the little voice in your head is telling you that you’re about to do something you shouldn’t be, and that you need to stop.

Once I got over this speed bump, everything changed.


The first time I asked for a discount at a coffee shop and received one, a lightbulb went off in my head. I thought, “If I can do this here, where else can I be getting discounts that I’m not already?”

I began asking for discounts all over the place!


So where else can you ask for discounts and continue racking up savings?

Here is a list of some of the other areas I’ve been able to save money by simply asking.

Clothing Stores

This is an easy one.

Clothing and other retail stores are always offering some type of discount or sale that they are running. Even if you haven’t seen an advertisement for a sale, there is a high probability that if you ask, they have one going on.

My go to question is usually something like, “Hey, do you have any specials or discounts you are currently running?”

If they say no, I just ask “Well, is there any type of discount you can give me for my purchase today?”

This usually does the trick, and provides at least a 10-20% discount.

Sporting Goods Stores

This is similar to the clothing stores, and I use the exact same questions.

I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods a few months ago and had a pile of stuff that rung up to over $200.

I asked the manager for a discount and she gave me a 20% off my entire purchase. Boom!


This one is a bit trickier.

You typically can’t ask for a discount after you’ve already ordered your food. And I personally don’t want to be the person who is fictitiously putting hair in my food to get a discount. (Who does that?)

But, you can call ahead to many chain-style restaurants and ask if they are offering any type of promotion, like a fee appetizer or entrée.


If you are on vacation, or even doing something fun in your own city, it’s very possible to get discounts on certain recreation activities.

I know people who have called around to indoor rock-climbing facilities and have asked if they bring a certain number of people with them can they receive a free entry.

Many businesses are happy to offer some form of incentive to get you and a large party go come spend money at their establishment.


The point is to push your mind to think about additional ways for you to receive discounts on items or activities that people don’t normally think to ask for. Don’t just look for coupons in the local paper, create your own!

By doing this over and over, you won’t only get to experience the financial gains through savings, you’ll be increasing your own self confidence and negotiating abilities.

And after all, who doesn’t like a two-for-one deal?

Capably Yours,

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10 Tools to Simplify Your Financial Life
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