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Asking for Discounts Is One of the Stupidest Financial Decisions You Can Ever Make

by | Nov 27, 2023 | Money, Personal Finance

Grandma cut up her wedding dress to make an outfit for my mom.

It’s the only outfit my mom had. Whenever I mention this story in front mom, she gets emotional. It’s a painful reminder of poverty.

Grandma grew up in The Great Depression. Grandpa was a potato farmer and they didn’t have much. This level of poverty trained grandma to ask for discounts and collect coupons.

She did it right up until the day she died.

The habit stuck and infected the next generation — me. In my early years, I was the biggest tight-arse known to humankind. On the outside people thought I was thrifty and financially savvy.

But on the inside I had a scarcity mindset. This lifestyle made me hate charity. “Why should I give those bastards my money?” I’d say quietly to myself.

Now I despise this person. I’ve changed.

The discount culture that silently ruins people’s lives

Now I run an online business.

Every day I get asked for discounts or coupon codes. When you’re on the other side your philosophy changes.

Asking for discounts is offensive. It’s like saying “f*ck you.”

Asking for a discount questions a person’s value. It tells them they’re stupid and don’t know how to price fairly. It assumes that the business owner didn’t do their research or check out the competition’s pricing.

If you ask me for a discount, sorry, we can’t be friends.

Discounting is what’s wrong with the world

Here’s what most people won’t say. So I will.

Discounts are a lie.

No one is really discounting. They’re just marking up to mark down. It’s what’s taught in business degrees at Harvard. Discounting makes people believe they are getting something for nothing when they’re not.

Discounting exists because it manipulates human psychology — not because it’s a real strategy that only thrifty, financially savvy people do.

What I’ve found is when I pay full price for something I value it more. And if it’s educational in any way, I’m more likely to take action if there’s a bit of financial pain attached to it.

Discounts repel powerful friends

My friend Dakota has made a lot of money.

The kid is like 23 and failed college. He has no special friends and he shared the story of how his mother was a crack addict and died of an overdose. This isn’t a sad story though.

A few years back Dakota wanted to start a marketing agency. He couldn’t be bothered with free Youtube videos and 5 years’ worth of work.

So he paid a successful agency owner $10,000 for a few Zoom calls. It was all the money he had at the time. Within a few months he started to make $30,000 a month. Now he makes north of 7 figures.

And he’s a kid.

The person he gave the $10K to became one of his close friends. They now do business together and share resources.

Let’s flip the switch. Let’s pretend he asked this same person for free advice. Or he offered them $50 instead of $10,000 to get a massive discount. What would’ve happened?

I’ll tell you…nothing.

The people who can truly help you in life have limited time because they’re already successful and are drowning in opportunities. So the only money hack here is to go the opposite direction and pay big dollars to save time and skip the line.

My mentor wanted to be a professional speaker and run live events.

The best in the business is John DeMartini (most of you have never heard of him). He knew if he sent John an email his assistant would see it. So he had to get past them. How?

He emailed the assistant and told her he wanted to pay $5000 to have lunch with John and needed his bank details. He got a reply in 5 minutes.

They had lunch and became lifelong friends. They even did some collaborations. If my mentor had offered to take him out for a $4 coffee, what would have happened? Nothing.

He probably would’ve been ghosted.

Let’s go the other way. If he had of asked John’s assistant how much a lunch is with him, and she said $1000, and he replied “Can you do it for $500 and throw in a ticket to his next event?” then what would’ve been the result?

Same as before. Ghosted. She probably would’ve been offended, or used her time to help other people who weren’t asking for discounts and saw value in John’s experience.

Asking for discounts is offensive.

It’s what kills hidden opportunities, yet it’s what society is taught to do from an early age. And we reward discounters and thrifty people with compliments like “great negotiating” when we should curse them forever.

Don’t ask for discounts, just flip the switch and do this

When my wife wants to buy a bigger house I tell her we can’t yet.

Then I give her the same pop quiz: “how do we afford the house, honey?” She looks at me with a screwed-up face because she knows what’s coming.

“Make more money.”

Asking for discounts is hard work and it pisses people off, which means it rarely works. All the effort wasted on this pursuit is better spent investing in new skills that make you more money.

If you’re connected to the internet then your annual income is technically uncapped. It’s just the majority of people don’t realize this. They aren’t aware of the millions of ways to make extra cash on the internet.

This is an even greater sin that should be illegal

Let’s go another layer deep.

In my 20s, I started a new business. I was so excited. We were selling appliances like TVs and aircons. When we opened the doors and got our first shipment, we put them up on eBay.

I was so excited. Grandma came to the grand opening. We invited a few friends to celebrate with some wine and snacks.

One friend came. He inspected our air conditioners and then said something I will never forget:

“Can I take one of these home for free?”

I was deeply offended. We’d spent our life savings to save up for the first order. We’d rented a small warehouse. We’d hired a part-time driver to do deliveries. I’d turned down a job in banking to pursue this business.

And instead of supporting my business as a friend and buying one of our air conditioners, this son of a gun wanted one for free.

He wanted to see us at negative profit on our first day. All so he could get a free air conditioner that, by the way, he could easily afford. In contrast to that, one of my family members bought an air conditioner at full price and referred other people to us.

They loved seeing our little business thrive.

The discount friend is no longer my friend. We never spoke again. He saw an opportunity to exploit us and I said no.

Lesson: real friends pay full price & can’t wait to support your little business.

This simple 5-second approach will get you more results than a discount ever will

Around this time of year people lose their minds for Black Friday.

It’s my job to warn you what a discount mindset can do to your life (ruin it). When you buy a product/service to solve a problem what you really want deep down isn’t to get the cheapest product or the highest discount.

You want a solution that works, saves you time, and gets you results ASAP.

Because if you buy a heavily discounted air conditioner and it blows up in three months and destroys a family business in the process … was it worth it? Are you really a good human being?

I’d argue discounters are monsters.

Stop getting lied to. Price is forgotten long after a solution is gotten.

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