PHONE CALL #1- Cable Provider
Just by picking up the phone and calling your cable provider could save hundreds a year. If you have never called before, you will first need to check your current package and learn what packages your company offers. Most companies do not advertise their cheapest package, so you will need to ask a live person. Most people are paying for channels that you are not watching. Let the customer service representative know that you are looking to save money and see what they can offer you. Believe me, these companies want to retain your business and will do there best to make you happy.
If you already have the cheapest package that best fits your family don’t stop calling. Call every few months just to check in and see if they have any new deals. I always get promotional advertising in the mail from other companies trying to win my business. Every time I get these, it reminds me to pick up the phone and call my current provider. I start the conversation by telling them about the advertisement I received from their competitor. I usually say how happy I am and that I really would prefer to stay with my current company. I ask them if there is anything they can do to lower my rate in order to keep my business. To keep me from switching service providers, they almost always send me to a “Retention Specialist”. This employee can offer deals that the normal customer service representative can’t. The main goal is to get transferred to one of these representatives without flat out asking. If you are lucky, the “Retention Specialist” will offer $5-$10 off a month for six months up to an entire year without doing or changing anything. Sometimes they throw in a few movie channels too. Your thirty minute phone call could save you $120 per year. If you are not able to get the employee to offer you any savings, just ask to talk to a manager and simply express your concern. I have definitely found that being polite, and persistent, is the best way. It really works. My family has the “basic” channel package, two receivers, DVR, HD channels and Cinemax. Our last bill was $17.64.
PHONE CALL #2- Internet Provider
Most people bundle their cable and internet together, but I have found that having them separate is more economical. It could be a option for you if you have never though of splitting the two services. Wether you have them bundled, or separate, there are a few ways to save on your internet. The easiest and quickest way is to just lower your speed. Most companies have different speed options, and will offer you the higher speed, and higher cost, without you even knowing. If your bill goes up, you could just wright it off as a rate increase, but really they are “upgrading” your package. You also might not even realize you are paying for the highest speed they offer and not be using the internet often. Ask the company to lower your speed and see if you can even tell a difference. You have nothing to lose. If you notice, just increase the speed back. It really is that simple. I have also heard of some people splitting their internet service and bill with a neighbor. This option is definitely not for everyone, but it may be something to consider.
PHONE CALL #3- Insurance Agent
Call your insurance agent to review your coverage. Make sure what you are paying for best fits your family and wallet. You might be able to save by increasing your deductible. Take the money you save and set it aside. If you have an accident use the money set aside and if you are lucky then you get to keep it. It also can’t hurt to shop around once every couple years to see if you are getting the best deal from your current company. I called USAA six months ago and they were not able to save me any money. The time was well spent because now I know I am getting a good deal.
PHONE CALL #4- Cell Phone Company
Talk to your cell phone provider and review your usage and current plan. There might be a plan that would better suit your needs, based on your last few months of use. Your company can easy check your data usage, minutes, and text messages sent. Just by asking, you could save you big. We happen to use Verizon, and I sometimes prefer to talk to someone face to face. So every once in awhile, I will go to the local Verizon store and have them review my plan. Also, make sure you are getting the best deal possible when you upgrade. The local stores are always in competition with the online service, and each other. Sometimes one store will offer a significant savings over another, for the same phone. Each store has quotes to meet, so use this to your advantage. Ask the representative, “what is the benefit of upgrading here rather than online or over the phone”. In the past, they have offered me free accessories just by upgrading in person. It can’t hurt to ask.