• Try asking, “Do you have a coupon for this?” It usually works.
• When you pay with a credit card, it costs the merchant as much as 3.5 percent of the price. Ask for a similar discount if you pay cash.
• Get a salesperson from one car dealership on your cell phone while you’re standing next to the car you want (and a salesperson) at another dealership. See who goes lower.
• If you ever decide to buy a nice watch, try one of these questions, tested by “mystery shopper” Jane Boon in 26 transactions. “Is there something more you can do for me?” “Is there any further consideration you can offer?” “Would your boss consider X?” The average discount Boon cadged? Eighteen percent.
Sources: Robert Frick in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Jane Boon in Bloomberg Business Week.