It never hurts to ask, right?
That’s never more true than with two examples in the past week that have saved me $62.
First stop: The vet
If you haven’t been able to tell, we’ve been getting good use out of our new (to us) camper over the summer. We’ve taken ‘The Bird’ (as we affectionately have nicknamed it) for two trips over four days, and have one additional one planned later in the month. In addition, we’re doing a weeklong trip with my in-laws around Labor Day to cap off the summer.
As any cat owner knows, cats generally don’t vacation well. Dogs, you can take them on a trip and they’ll love it. Not so much. Add to this the fact that I have two old cats, both of whom need medicine and special food served to them at set intervals of the day, and leaving them home for more than a couple of days isn’t an option (and even then, we have to rely on the generosity of family or neighbors). This means we have to board the cats.
I’ve been using the same vet for sixteen years. I know this because I started going when the sixteen year old cat was a kitten. They’ve taken care of all of my pets exams, medical issues, and boarding needs for that entire time. They take our cheap cat insurance plan so it just works out well.
And with all the trips this summer, the boarding costs added up quick. I also purchase all of the special food that they get, as well as most of the medicine. Between exams, food, medicine, and boarding, I shudder to add up the costs except to know it’s ‘A Lot’.
So, I sent an e-mail to the office manager asking for a courtesy discount. I politely outlined the length of time that I’ve been a customer as well as pointing out the services and goods we purchase from them and how they add up to what has to be good revenue for them throughout the year. I asked for a 5% reduction on everything moving forward.
I knew perfectly well that they were going to say no.
And they did.
But they offered me two free nights of boarding costs for the cats. We have two more boarding visits left this year, so that’s one night off each one. They charge $25 per night for the two cats, including their food and special medicine and all that. This will save me $50.
Actually, I think this works out almost as good as the 5% I asked for, especially if I ask (and I will) again next summer for another discount.
Next stop: The Newspaper
I get the paper delivered to our door. Well, actually the bottom of our driveway, but you get the point.
The Detroit papers now only do home delivery three times per week as a cost-saving measure. Along with that, you can’t really get a ‘Sunday only’ option as you could in the past. You pretty much have to get all three days.
I signed up a couple of years ago at a really good price. I think it was around $25 for a six month subscription. Every six months they automatically renew you, and they bump up the price so that the promotional rate gets smaller and smaller. The increases went up around $10 per six months.
Even with the raises, it was still a pretty good deal considering that the Sunday paper alone was $1.75. This was recently raised to $2 about a year ago. Meaning that anything over $52 for a six month period was ‘costing’ me money, but anything under that was a savings to me (this works if you value the non-Sunday papers at $0, which I do). So when the price went up to $54 last time, I called and inquired if they would reduce the price.
At that time, they wouldn’t. I figured an extra $2 on top of the $52 was worth it for the fact that I wouldn’t have to go out every Sunday and get the paper.
So, it worked.
Until the last bill, when they raised it again and it was $66. This time I called and once again asked for the price to be lowered.
She told me, no, that the ‘regular’ rate was $90 so I was still getting a discount.
Fine, I said, then go ahead and cancel my subscription and refund the money (they charge in advance). I can just go down the street and get the paper for what amounts to $52 a period.
With a $14 difference, I actually was prepared to do so this time.
Hold on, she said.
Two minutes later, she came back on the line and said that they would do the next six months at $54. Actually longer, because I just let them extend the subscription to cover the extra $12. So I have about eight months before I have to deal with it again.
All told, that adds up to $62 in ‘savings’ just by asking.
When was the last time you saved money just by asking?