12 Secret Discounts You’ll Be Happy to Know Exist

You may be surprised to learn that deals and steals are available if you ask for it.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Sometimes you have to search long and hard to find a good deal when shopping, but the reward is saving money so it’s often worth it. That’s why people love couponing or waiting to purchase an item until there is a big sale. But there are also retailers who may not advertise their perks and only the most savvy consumer has the intel. Not anymore!

There are plenty of secret discounts to be had if you only knew they existed. Here is the scoop on 12 deals to score for yourself.

Free makeup samples

Анна Демидова/Adobe multi-colored lipstick testers in the store

Makeup can be expensive, and anyone who has purchased a pricey foundation, perfume, or eye shadow knows how frustrating it can be when you realize it’s wrong for you. It’s been said that retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom offer samples of some of their products so you can try before you buy. There are some restrictions depending on the store, but it’s worth a shot to inquire with a sales rep on what samples they offer.

Credit card perks

VAKSMANV/Adobe hand of customer paying with contactless credit card with NFC technology

A great way to save money is with credit card perks and discounts, but are you using your rewards credit cards to the fullest? Some cards offer points that could be exchanged for gift cards to your favorite restaurants or retailers. Others have agreements with companies that allow you to get free things, like streaming service or delivery service perks. And you may even be able to use your rewards points to pay for items from online companies like Amazon or PayPal.

Birthday presents

Flamingo Images/Adobe young woman giving a friend a surprise gift

There are so many birthday freebies that it may be hard to choose just one. Retailers like Best Buy and Kohl’s may give you a discount on your purchases for your birthday. Other retailers offer discounts during your birthday month if you are signed up for their email newsletters (Sephora and Free People are two companies that do this).

Restaurant freebies may include a dessert or a discount on your meal. Denny’s offers a free Grand Slam breakfast on your day of birth. And if movies are your thing, check to see if there are discounts at your local theater like free popcorn or candy. For the animal lovers, there are places like the Denver Zoo or Georgia Aquarium that will let you visit for free on your birthday.

Photo prints

Seventyfour/Adobe male hands holding printed photographs over textured wooden desk

There are several online retailers such as Snapfish and Shutterfly who can help get the digital photos on your smartphone turned into actual printed pictures. Sign up for photo retailer newsletters or keep an eye on their websites, and you may be able to find deep discounts or even free options to print your memories.

Pro tip: If you’re trying to get discounts from popular stores, check sites like Retail Me Not. Input the retailer’s website of your choice, and Retail Me Not will give you access to promotional codes and discounts for that site if available.

Celebratory pins

SIARHEI BEZPALKA/Adobe brooch in the shape of a guitar on a denim jacket

If you’ve used your travel credit cards to whisk the family away to have the time of your lives at a Disney resort, remember to ask for free celebratory pins to wear if the visit is marked by a special occasion. There are pins to mark your first Disney visit, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and even reunions with family and friends.

Check in with Disney guest services in the parks, gift shops, or your hotel. And proudly display your pins as you may be rewarded with a special dessert or other treats from Disney employees.

Solar panels

dusanpetkovic1/Adobe handyman installing solar panels on the rooftop

Saving the environment and saving money is a win-win. If you thought about adding solar panels to your home, you may want to check with local, state, and federal agencies on possible tax credits or incentives. The federal government, for example, has a residential solar energy credit that gives homeowners a tax credit after installation. Your utility company may also give you a rebate or discount.

Post office supplies

DragonImages/Adobe courier with parcels signing document in delivery service office

The United States Postal Service has plenty of products to get your package across the country, and you may be able to get some of them for free. The post office’s website includes free products such as Priority Mail envelopes and boxes, certified mail forms, and signature confirmation receipts. You will have to pay for the postage to ship whatever is inside the box, but it’s also easier to pack items at home when you have free boxes and envelopes delivered right to your door.

Hotel deals

Have a nice day/Adobe happy young asian woman hotel receptionist

Kimpton Hotels are a chain of boutique hotels around the world that let guests get any number of secret perks with a password. Treats have included cupcakes, whiskey tastings, and even free room upgrades. But how do you know what the secret password is? One place to check out is the Kimpton Hotels Twitter page, which may help you unlock the latest hotel perks.

Amazon coupons

The Toidi/Adobe Amazon prime box delivered to residential mailbox

If you have an Amazon Prime account, you may not be aware of some of the secret Amazon shopping hacks, including coupons. Amazon Coupons allows you to save with just a click of a button on any number of items, including personal care, groceries, and electronics. You can also get coupons on “Subscribe and Save” items that you may buy on a regular basis such as laundry detergent or batteries.

Pro tip: Be aware that coupons may be labeled as a “limited-time offer,” so you may have to act quickly to lock in a discount with an online Amazon coupon.

Car insurance discount

BBbirdZ/Adobe asian woman driver giving keys to the mechanic

Drivers may know about safe driver discounts for their car insurance, but there are also discounts for high school and college students with good grades. Good student discount offers vary depending on the insurance company with some stipulations like the student must be in school full time or be under 25 years old. The definition of a “good student” could be different for each policy. So give your car insurance provider a call and see what it may take to have you qualify.

Pro tip: It’s always a smart move to comparison shop among the best car insurance companies to see how their discounts may differ.


avtk/Adobe a pack of diapers in baby room

Babies can go through so many diapers, which can make a real dent in your budget. Thankfully, there are rewards programs that try to help parents out. Some favorite diaper makers such as Huggies and Pampers offer programs through their apps where families can earn points for items bought from their brand. These purchases may accrue points that translate to rewards for future purchases.


Paolese/Adobe modern ebook reader

Voracious readers rejoice! Project Gutenberg, which includes older books that are in the public domain in several different languages, offers over 60,000 titles to feast your eyes on for free. You can also check out sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble for their free or discounted sections. BookBub grants those who sign up for their newsletters access to daily book discounts.

Bottom line

Bisual Photo/Adobe young latin woman working at home

Secret discounts exist, but you have to know how to find them. So the next time you shop at your favorite retailer or go online to order items, look into if there may be a little extra something available by being an in-the-know customer. A little research can turn into legitimate savings.

Also, don’t forget deals that may be found at your local library. In addition to books, libraries also may have DVDs, video games, and audio books to borrow provided you have a library card. Some local libraries also grant free passes to nature preserves or other attractions in the area.

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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