Get a good deal just by asking for it

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Who doesn't love a good deal? If given the choice, would you rather pay more or less for an item or a meal? I'd venture to guess that you're like me and you'd rather pay less. One simple secret to getting a better deal on your food or purchase is simply by asking for it.

I'm notorious for asking a cashier if there's currently any coupon or other special deal that I might be missing out on. I've been known to point out to stores that I'm a loyal customer and would love to have a 5% discount as a thank you. I'm not afraid to ask a restaurant for free or reduced price food, not just when I have poor service or some other problem.

Case in point: I like a particular salad at a chain restaurant, but I like it without chicken. Why should I pay the full price when I'm not getting the most expensive ingredient? So I order the salad the way I like it, and ask if they can just charge me for a regular meatless salad. And I haven't been turned down.I can't tell you how often I've asked if a store has a coupon or a special discount, and I've gotten it. The cashiers often have extra coupons behind the register, and they're happy to give them to you if you just ask. Sometimes there's a frequent shopper event or a discount for store credit card holders, but the cashier can give you the discount if they choose to.

Don't be afraid to ask for a discount or deal. The worst they can do is say no, and if you're like me, you'll probably be successful about 50% of the time and save a fair amount of money.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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