Earn/Save Money

Playing Poor: Because rich people don’t get deals

I’m not an actress. I know there’s a lot of model/actresses out there, but I can’t act worth shit. Somehow, though, when the opportunity comes around to save some money, I can act poor better than that homeless person who sits outside of Starbucks. This skill has saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars in my life, and I will tell you why. People simply do not feel sympathetic for rich people, and find no reason to go out of their way to give them deals. From everything to getting my doctor to lower my medical bill, to a better price at the mechanic and getting myself out of a traffic ticket – when you’re able to make a really strong case for being poor – people will generally give you a break.

Is this unethical? No way. It’s always worth asking for a better price, because there is always wiggle room for negotiation. People wouldn’t offer a deal if they themselves couldn’t afford to give it. Plus, we have all been in a place where we really needed to watch our spending, and people are generally sympathetic to that and can relate to your story. The key here is to leave your coveted Chanel purse at home when you’re arguing your case for why you should get a break – you need to make sure you’re believable here.

Final thought: Just because you can afford to pay full price for something doesn’t mean you automatically should. When it comes to services, telling someone you can’t really afford the full price can often open the door to negotiations so that the sale isn’t lost. The next time you see the opportunity to save some money, get your puppy dog eyes ready and put on an oscar worthy performance.

act poor save money


  1. Haha… Work it, girl.

    I do this same thing at yard sales btw. Everything for sale is *already* crazy discounted, but why not put the ask out there and get it for even cheaper? Either they say no way Jose and you’re left to pay “full” price, or you get a discount and it’s win-win. And the beauty here is that you don’t even have to act poor to do it – they’ll probably assume you are if you’re negotiating for something that’s $3 bucks 😉

  2. I love this but I hate it when my BF does it. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t look good when men do it

  3. I’m up for getting a deal, always. I do hope that folks choose to bargain everywhere…not just with the small businesses, but at big box stores too…for their sake and the sake of the “little guy”.

    Nice post.

  4. I’m confused by this article… how exactly does one act “poor”? And if its simply by saying that you are poor and cannot afford an item, then I do believe that is pretty unethical.

    • Hey Samantha – the point is that it’s easy to get deals if you let salespeople know that something is out of your budget. When you’re acting like you have all the money in the world (even if you don’t) then people are not going to be flexible with your price on things. So why not try to negotiate the price down? I’ve saved a ton with this method, and don’t see how it’s unethical. Like I mentioned, if they couldn’t afford to lower the price then they wouldn’t – and many times they will take a profit cut to make the sale. Why not.

  5. Love this. One of my financial core values is to never pay more than I have to.
    Nearly everything is negotiable.

  6. My husband will ask for a deal every time he pays for something. If they refuse a discount he starts asking for freebies or bonuses. He asks them to throw something in and you know what – they almost always offer something. He does it in a good natured, friendly way and it is amazing, he has a gift.

  7. Have you ever tried this on gym memberships? I am thinking of joining an Equinox and they are SO expensive. I make enough that I can juuuust afford it, but it’s a slight stretch. Any tips for negotiating with a gym????

    • YES I do this at the gym too. I told them I couldn’t afford it and there were other comparable gyms like crunch offering better deals. They were able to lower the fee for me, especially after I offered to pay the full year up front (worth doing if you don’t have to put it on your credit card and pay crazy interest)

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