I love to save money for the person I'm assisting. Not only does it help their bank account or their company's, it increases my value as their employee.
Here are a few best practices I recommend trying:
I never make a purchase online without doing a quick search to see if there are any coupon codes. I'll google "coupon code [store name]" or "promo code [store name]" and sometimes that's all it takes.
If nothing pops up in a search I will go to a few of my favorite coupon sites:
I also recommend storing coupons you get via email into a folder in your inbox so you have those coupon codes handy as well.
We all know about the usual coupons that come in the mail or that come with the Sunday paper, but did you know that you can buy coupons online? One website that sells paper coupons is eBay. If you know you will be spending a huge sum at Bed Bath & Beyond, for example, it might be worth it to bid on a 20% off everything coupon.
Also, email companies whose products you love. They usually will email or mail you a coupon as gratitude for your feedback.
Know what memberships your executive has and know the perks. For example, if your executive is a member of YPO or WPO, there are all sorts of deals, especially at great high-end resorts around the world. Another example would be AAA, which has discounts at places you wouldn't expect, such as Macy's and Sephora.
Also, check for memberships that would save money in the long run. For example, if your executive is constantly having you book last minute first class flights, look into Airpass. Notice trends and see if there are programs that exist that could save money overall.
Ask for Specials
You would be surprised at how many things can be negotiated if you just ask. Try asking, "Do you have any specials?" and see what happens. For example, I have negotiated with restaurants to slash costs at events I needed to be catered by simply asking. Hotels have also given me better rates when I used that phrase. I also have gotten discounts at regular stores that I wouldn't have thought would give a discount, such as a local wine shop.
Sometimes stores also keep discounted merchandise off the floor, which you will never know about if you don't ask. A friend of mine recently went into West Elm looking for large area rugs. She asked the rep in the store if there were any kept in the back, and surely enough, they had some beautiful ones that were recently displayed at an event that they had marked down 75%. She would have never found that great steal if she never asked!
If an item you paid for or a service you paid for was sub par, be sure to speak up. Just remember that it's important to be polite, even if you are frustrated or disappointed. No one wants to go out of their way to help someone being negative and/or confrontational. As an article in Psychology Today states, "Be friendly, explain the situation objectively, and have a good idea in mind of a fair resolution."
If you are unable to come up with a possible solution for the subpar purchase, try asking "How will this be made right?" Asking what will be done, instead of if something can be done, increases results since you are not acknowledging the possibility of there not being a solution. Just remember to maintain your polite tone.
Check for a Warranty or Guarantee
Sometimes a purchase will come with a warranty or guarantee. The company might be able to ship you a replacement or be able to fix a defect instead of you having to purchase a replacement. This goes across the board, so do a quick search online or simply call the company to ask. For example, one person I assisted had a nice set of flatware but over the years the tines on the forks had become bent. The company offered to replace the entire set with a new one since they had a lifetime guarantee.
If you are diligent in saving your executive money, you could go a step beyond and track everything you saved during a specific time period.
A lot of executives have an accountant or finance team, so your executive might not be aware of the savings unless it's pointed out or tracked. It could be a great demonstration of the value you have added, especially when it's time for your review. For example, saying "I saved you $22,471 over the past 12 month period by using coupons codes and negotiating lower rates" is a lot more powerful than saying something without figures such as "I use coupon codes to save money."
What are your favorite ways to save money? Please share in the comments below!