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Always Ask for a Discount


One of the many good things about writing a blog is you get to read many other blogs as you network. Even when I don’t learn something new, some posts help me stick to my frugal ways. Barbara Friedberg wrote a post on how to negotiate for a better price and it popped in my mind when we went to the farmers market to buy some plants for our condo’s community garden and our balcony.

9 basil – $2.50 each or 3 for $5

1 hot chili – $5

1 Jasmine – $16

Total – $36

always ask for a discount

When I went to pay, I asked the seller if he could make us a deal and he gave me a $1 discount to $35 and threw in a couple of extra basil plants. OK, that’s not a big discount, but it was great anyway. Mrs. RB40 will probably make fresh pesto at least once a week all summer. If I just paid $36 like I usually do, I wouldn’t have received any discount. This goes to show – you should always ask for a discount! It’s easy and you never know what you can get. Next time I’ll have a better target price in mind before I start the negotiation. πŸ˜‰


The rest of this post is inspired by 101 Centavos’ gardening posts. He always writes about his great garden so I thought I would share some pictures from our community garden.

We have a great community garden at the ground floor of our building. Quite a few people who had downsized from large properties missed gardening and playing in the dirt, so a few years ago, the residents voted to put in a community garden instead of the usual unsustainable, thirsty, decorative plants.Β  Here are some sugar snap peas. I love these and will also be using the pea tips for stir fry dishes.

sugar snap peas in community garden

The chives have beautiful purple flowers. I think chives are great for beginner gardeners, they are so easy to grow and need minimal care. They are great on bagels with cream cheese and can be used instead of green onions in any recipe.

chives in community garden

When we first moved in, we brought our rosemary from our old house and put it in a pot on the balcony, but it didn’t do too well there. We moved it down to the community garden and it is doing great now and even going over the wall. We also have fresh thyme, marjoram, sage, and oregano. Fresh herbs are great! I hate paying $2 or $3 for a few sprigs of herbs.

rosemary in community garden

That’s it for now, the garden will fill in over the next few months and maybe we’ll have more pictures to share by August.


Here is a great picture of some beautiful peonies from the farmers market. We can’t buy any flowers though because the cats will wreak havoc on them. πŸ™

cardinals from farmer market

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • LifeAndMyFinances June 8, 2011, 3:53 am

    Nice shots of that garden! I have never had the pleasure of growing a garden of my own. We’ve been renting for the past 3 years. But, we are now looking at buying our very first house and I think there’s a great spot for a garden in the back! πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2011, 7:15 pm

      Good luck with your first house! It looks like you’ll get a great deal in MI.

  • krantcents June 8, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Too many people never ask! To me it is like leaving money on the table. Negotiating is as simple as asking a question.

  • Niki June 8, 2011, 2:56 pm

    That rosemary is enormous. I just found sugar snap peas growing on my plants and was jumping up and down. I am excited to grow something. I am a complete beginner.

    ‘It never hurts to ask’ is one of my mantras for frugal living.

    • retirebyforty June 8, 2011, 7:16 pm

      The rosemary is doing so great, I love it!
      Gardening is a lot of fun when it turns out well. πŸ™‚

  • Miss T June 8, 2011, 8:55 pm

    Hey, the garden is looking FAB. Your’s is way ahead of mine. Glad to see someone else taking the time to grow their own. Trust me it is well worth it.

  • Financial Samurai June 8, 2011, 9:45 pm

    Nice pretty flowers πŸ™‚ My fav is pink jasmine vines and flowers.

  • Squirrelers June 9, 2011, 10:58 pm

    It rarely hurts to ask for a discount. In most cases, there’s little downside. Just ask and ye shall receive, many times!

    By the way, even if it’s just $1, it’s still savings and must get you some satisfaction!

    • retirebyforty June 10, 2011, 8:12 am

      I also counted the two extra basil plants so the discount is actually $1 + $4 = $5. Yeah! πŸ™‚

  • youngandthrifty June 10, 2011, 1:17 am

    Beautiful pictures!!! Are the snap peas easy to grow? They are pretty cheap to buy here (usually $1) so I haven’t been bothering.

    Those basil plants look so robust and strong! The one I bought was small and 75% of it died already, I don’t know what I did to it! πŸ™

    • retirebyforty June 10, 2011, 8:14 am

      I didn’t plant the snap peas, but it seems to do pretty well every year. Those snap peas are $3/pint at the farmer market. The farmer market pricing is getting out of hand…
      Sorry about your basil. I think they need a lot of sun and good drainage/soil. Keep trying! Or you can try chives, they are pretty easy. πŸ™‚

  • Ginger June 10, 2011, 10:26 am

    I went in to home depot and found 2 basil plants that had lost their containers and were both growing in the main container. I asked I could have both for the price of one, because getting one out would be a pain and surprisingly they had no problem with that idea. I saved $3 because I was planning on buying two anyway.

    • retirebyforty June 10, 2011, 3:28 pm

      Cool! I never ask for discount from a retail store. I’ll try that next time I see something.

  • OneCentsibleLady June 10, 2011, 12:16 pm

    I have to admit, I do not ask for deals near enough – but I have in the past and it seems to work pretty well. I bought a sweater with a hole in the stitching – which took about 2 minutes and 10 cents to mend – and I was granted a 25% discount. It really never hurts to ask, and while saving $2 or $3 may not seem like much, added up over a year it can be tremendous savings. Now, think about all of that saved money compounding in a high interest account. Every time you ask for a deal, you may add another week onto your retirement πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty June 10, 2011, 3:31 pm

      πŸ˜€ haha, yeap! Once I retire, I’ll really ask everyone for deals because I won’t have any spending money then.

  • MoneyCone June 10, 2011, 2:24 pm

    Loved the last pic! Was this from the new camera you had bought recently?

    • retirebyforty June 10, 2011, 3:32 pm

      Yes, I took these pictures with the nice lens I got earlier this year. It’s a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens. I love it!

  • Everyday Tips June 10, 2011, 4:53 pm

    What a great idea, I don’t know that I would have ever asked for a discount. I love getting even a little extra, like the dollar and the plants. That would make my day. Like you said, those plants will feed your family all summer.

    Have a great first Father’s Day!!

  • My Own Advisor June 11, 2011, 3:52 am

    Nice pics! You’ve inspired me to get our garden going πŸ™‚

    Yeah, 101 Centavos knows his stuff.

  • Barb Friedberg June 11, 2011, 5:53 pm

    You did great! It’s not the amount of the discount, but the process of attempting to negotiate. Sometimes you get a big one, sometimes a small discount, and sometimes nothing. But if you don’t ask you won’t get anything. You are inspiring me to try cooking with fresh herbs!

  • 101 Centavos June 14, 2011, 3:56 am

    LOVE the community garden and the snap peas! It is with a heavy heart that last night I pulled up all the sugar snap peas planted along the fence in containers, and consigned them to the compost pile. The recent heat wave just absolutely fried the little guys past the point of recovery (indifferent watering by #1 Son during my absence didn’t help either). I had to call up some reserve troops, Gypsy peppers and tomatillos, to fill the holes in the front line.
    Nice roundup of herbs. I completely agree that it makes little sense to pay exorbitant amounts for plants that take little effort to grow in containers or raised beds.
    Also, thanks for the link ( I didn’t get a pingback notice on that….)

    • retirebyforty June 14, 2011, 9:49 pm

      Did you notice the urban backgrounds? πŸ™‚
      I love the peas too. I can’t wait for them to pod(?). Tomatillos would be cool, but I’m not sure if we have enough sun for them. Our tomatoes never do that well.

      • 101 Centavos June 15, 2011, 3:04 am

        I did notice the urban setting, that’s what makes the garden so cool. And the bamboo trellising is a nice contrast.

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