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Discounts You Might Be Missing

If you are reading this, you are probably either one of my employees or someone who likes to save money. Kyle has been doing a wonderful job here of sharing discounts, but here are some money saving options you might be eligible for but don’t know about.

Cell Phones

If you’re like me and live in a place where no contract phone service just doesn’t work, you might be shelling out a ton of money for your cell phone. When we recently switched to smartphones, I searched the two local carriers websites to see if there was a discount to be had. I found out that you can get discounts if you have a government email address, which I do for my work on the reservation. I also found out that Jim’s school district employees get 10% off their entire bill each month.

If you work for any sort of large employer, it’s worth looking into. HR never mentioned discounts to either of us.

Hotel Stays

I decided to attend a continuing education meeting this weekend in  a town that’s 3 hours away. All the hotel rates were $140 or more a night, even for somewhere like La Quinta. Knowing that my government ID snagged a cell phone discount, I looked for government rates on the hotel websites. I found one for $85 instead of the regular $160. Half price!

Since I only work part time, I called the hotel to make sure that I qualified. As long as I have a valid government ID, I’m golden. I can’t believe I never knew this.

Adaptive Ski Passes

If you ski, you know annual passes are almost as expensive as building Versailles. Handicapped skiers are eligible for a reduced rate adaptive ski pass, buy you don’t have to have an ADA approved condition. If  you don’t see well out of one eye for something as simple as having a lazy eye, you can get an adaptive ski pass.

I’m not saying to go gouge out an eye to get a cheap ski pass, but if genetics or the environment didn’t give the best hand, you might as well take advantage.

Free Contact Lenses

Certain vision insurance plans will pay the entire cost of your contact lenses if they are deemed medically necessary, regardless of the price. That usually means you are over ten units of correction or have more than three units of difference between your two eyes. The plan doesn’t always make this obvious to doctors, so check your vision plan for coverage of medically necessary contact lenses.

Discounts For Not Being Shy

If you don’t work for the government or have poor eyesight, you might feel left out, but there are other ways to get a discount. I am not the best at asking, but when I can shake off my shyness, I’m surprised at how well it works.

Just by asking, I’ve been able to get 5% off a new TV, free labor for a fireplace repair when the technician failed to show up at the first scheduled appointment, and a free salad bar trip for my daughter when we went out to eat recently.

If you are asking for a discount on something at the same time you set up payment arrangements, I wouldn’t expect much. If you have cash, the ability to pay the bill all at once, or are a regular customer, there is a good chance that you might be rewarded for your good behavior. It never hurts to ask. All they can say is no.

What strange discounts have you received? Do you commonly ask for discounts on big purchases?


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Just a heads up, HR’s purpose isn’t to tell you benefits or may not have existed at the time of your hire. Check your intraweb or just ask. It’s not everyone else’s job to tell you everything (Particularly non-job related).

  2. When my mother bought LED TV last year surprisingly we received a gift check worth $20 and %5 discount. It was free delivery too and 1 year free service charge.

  3. My husband was making a large purchase at a large home improvement store and asked the cashier if she had a ‘nice guy’ discount. She looked through the coupons in front of her and his purchase qualified for 10% off. Now he asks every time we go in there.

  4. I definitely need to be more aggressive in asking for discounts. I’m reserved by nature so this does not come easy for me.

  5. Free contact lens is a big one! I think a lot of people miss this one, especially if you order from a site like 1800 Contacts because you need to actually submit the receipt once you purchase them, and I think it’s very easy to just be lazy and not go through the submission process.

  6. The last time I bought a TV I went for the floor model to get 10%. It was either that or wait until they got new ones. I would take the 10% any day. I can’t think of any unusual discounts I’ve gotten. I let the shyness get to me and I don’t ask!

  7. I definitely ask for discounts, especially on expensive items. We actually get a nice discount from the furniture store Buffett runs the weekend of the Berkshire convention and well be taking advantage next year to get some new couches as you can save a pretty nice penny with it.

  8. I almost ALWAYS ask for discounts. W used to be embarrassed, but now he thinks it’s awesome.

  9. I get the government discount too…it is pretty valuable. I’ve also gotten the AAA discount at hotels. I’m not sure if the hotel has ever asked for the government ID or my AAA card. Another discount that some people overlook is the cash discount. As much as I like to rack up credit card rewards, sometimes you save even more by paying with cash.

  10. Something that has save me lots of money – whenever you make any kind of purchase online, do a quick google search for discount codes. Retail stores almost always have something!

  11. I ask for discounts all the time! All it takes is asking a question.

  12. Love these tips and thanks for the shout out! I didn’t know about the teachers discount at Verizon until a couple months ago. My wife is a teacher and it was to nice get the extra discount, after all, every $ counts.

  13. I’m really shy and it’s difficult for me to outright ask for discounts, but that’s another reason why discount sites and online shopping have become my favorite way to save in the last year or so. I’m definitely still learning, but this blog inspires me to look a little harder!

    There are plenty of sites that post discounts and give cash back for purchasing through them from sites all over, and then there are “Hot Deal” sites that aggregate good deals and have search functions to help you find what you’re looking for. Plenty of things are already discounted, or will be. In August I booked a four night hotel stay for a convention I was attending for $45 a night, in downtown Indianapolis using an online deal site.

  14. I ask for “educator discounts” all the time. I say educator because I’m not a teacher – but I do work for a university and thus have a university staff id badge to show if asked. Lots of places give discounts – especially retail stores.

  15. I have worked for the government and I got quite a hefty phone discount with my employee ID. I saved almost $50/month, which was great. We also get hotel discounts and many of the other ones that you’ve mentioned. It’s wonderful. Sometimes, you just have to ask!

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