Sick and tired of reaping little to no rewards with your credit card?
Then try cash.
The price of nearly everything is on the rise. But there’s good news – recent surveys overwhelmingly suggest you can reduce your costs by implementing one simple change – ask for a cash discount.
Once you start doing this, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of merchants and service providers that reduce your bill – just for asking!
The Little Purchases
The next time you’re tempted to swipe your card at the gas pump – think again. A credit card is fast and easy, but using cash might score you a larger discount, especially if you don’t have a credit card designed specifically for gas rewards.
Expect to save about 2 percent, reports Bankrate.com in a recent survey of randomly selected gas stations throughout the country. This has the potential of adding up to 5 cents or more per gallon in savings!
Also, check with restaurants. An informal restaurant survey found that at least 10 percent offer a cash discount, according to Bankrate. You’ll have the best luck, however, with restaurants with a large delivery or take-out business. Expect to save as much as 15 percent off your total bill.
Other places to request a cash discount include: computer repair shops, jewelry purchases and even service items, like visiting the salon.
[Here's a checking account that gives you cash back on every purchase!]
An Unlikely Place…
The next time you visit the doctor, without insurance, pay cash. This could save you up to 50 percent. Cash paying patients typically receive a 20 percent discount. Also, request an additional discount for paying your bill fast; typically within 30 to 60 days. This can save you an additional 20 percent, for a 40 percent total discount.
But, what if you have insurance? Can you still negotiate a discount? The answer: yes! Talk with your doctor’s office manager, before your procedure. There’s more negotiating room, then most patients think.
The BIG Ticket Items
Paying cash for big-ticket purchases saves you fees and interests. Plus, you can score even deeper discounts. Offer to pay cash, and ask for a lower base price. This is especially true for auto purchases, which have taken a huge hit, through the economic downturn. Request a cash discount on home purchases – and even renting an apartment.
Cash discounts are available right now! Taking advantage of the savings is easy: just ask. Plus, there’s another hidden perk to paying cash. You’ll only spend what you have – reducing risk for debt accumulation.
Why Merchants are Willing to Negotiate for Cash?
The answer to this question may not or not be a tad shady depending on the merchant. The shadier answer is that cash can be easily hidden when it comes time for merchants to report income to the IRS. Transactions using any sort of bank card (be it credit, debit or prepaid) inevitably leave a paper trail making it more difficult to hide come tax season.
The less shady answer though is that credit/debit card processing can be quite expensive especially for merchants with lower sales volumes. A merchant will likely be more than willing to split the cost of this processing fee with the customer in the form of a cash discount when offered.