It Costs Nothing to Ask

As the household budget get's stretched by cost of living pressures, you can make substantial savings with a few words and a little leg work.

It Costs Nothing to Ask
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

It's amazing what happens when you ask.

That's what I've discovered this month as I try to extract better deals from some of my regular service suppliers.

I'll go through those in a moment but the 'ask and you shall receive' mantra is something my wife has been practicing since I've known here.

She has always had a very good eye for value and never hesitates to make a polite enquiry if the price asked could better reflect the value of the item.

More often than not, she receives a price reduction.

I don't know why but I've never been as good as her at that process but I am trying.

Recently I have had some success.

My first target was our electricity provider. The introductory sign-up discount had expired and they informed me that regular pricing would apply from now on.

I called their 'hotline' and after 20 minutes on hold, I decided to try somewhere else.

That led me to signing up with a new provider offering a 20 per cent reduction from the regular tariff and a saving on the daily charge too.

The moment the agreement was implemented, my original provider suddenly became very attentive (again). They rang multiple times offering ever better deals.

These were the deals that were 'unavailable' when I was an existing customer.

I still made the change and the few minutes it took promises to save me many as much as one thousand dollars this year.

There was an even better result when I decided I was getting a raw deal from my bank.

For years I've been asking for a better rate on my commercial loans from a big-four bank I've dealt with for decades.

The response from my banker was always that you need to borrow more money to get better pricing.

Eventually I told him I know I am being ripped off and I am going to other banks to seek a better deal. That delivered an immediate half percent decrease in rates.

After that, I did go bank shopping and got a much better rate from a new bank.

As these are commercial loans the savings are significant but it did prompt me to tell my banker that the clear rip-off from the past few years had left a terrible taste in my mouth.

In any event, the negotiation hasn't run its course yet but wherever it ends, I'll be financially much better off than I was before - all because I asked and was prepared to take action.

In times past, people could count on the strength of the business relationship to keep things fair for both parties.

But the business 'relationship' seems to have given way to a more transactional way of doing things. In those transactions, the major motive is maximising profit.

Understanding that might help you overcome any hesitation you might have in asking for a better deal.

Generally it costs nothing and, when asked in a polite and friendly manner, it causes no offence.

Of course, you also have to be prepared for a 'no' to your polite inquiry and if that's the case, you should accept it with good grace or try somewhere else.

Then you can make a decision as to where to spend your money for maximum value.

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