This post will show you that it is possible to lower your bills — quite a few of them — simply by asking service providers for better rates.
I’ve done this many times over the years and have usually been pleasantly surprised with the results. Who knew you could call up your cell phone provider and ask for their latest promotion?
Hard circumstances can lead to great money lessons
After a divorce several years ago, I became a single mom of four and decided to go back to school and finish my degree. Our budget became a primary source of stress for me as we lived from the proceeds of our house that we sold.
I didn’t want to deny my kids (or me) watching our favorite shows together in the evenings, or cell phone privileges etc.
Cable service had always been expensive, and TV streaming was in its early stages, so I had no idea about that option at the time.
Our cell phone and internet providers charged an arm and a leg also. I needed to save money, but I also wanted to keep up our previous standard of living. I had no idea I could lower my bills by asking.
Lowering your cell phone bill
We hadn’t been living a fancy life by any means. I had been a stay-at-home mom for years and we’d perfected the art of living on one income.
We chose the least expensive cell phone provider at the time, had only the very basic of cable packages, bought generic at the grocery store, and implemented other ways of budgeting to stretch those dollars.
When my daughters and I moved into a rental house and began life over again, it was up to me to stretch our money while maintaining our familiar lifestyle.
The fact that our cell phones no longer got adequate reception prompted me to call other cell phone providers to check out their plans and prices. That’s when I learned something new.
The customer service person I spoke with shared an invaluable tip with me that I still use to this day. She encouraged me to call their company every six months to ask what promotions they’re currently running.
Almost every time I have called my cell phone provider since then, I’ve received better pricing (or at very least, more data for the same price I was paying).
Better pricing for internet service
I applied this tip to my internet service as well. After most of them stopped forcing people into contracts, I made a lot of headway in lowering my bill by asking for their periodic promotions.
Most of the promotional pricing lasts for six months to a year and they’ll lock you in for that amount of time. After that, it’s good to call again and ask what their new deals are. Recently, I was offered faster internet speed for the same price I was paying. Not bad.
As for Comcast, I was glad to finally let them go once streaming became more popular. I did love the convenience of their On Demand programming, and the live and local TV viewing, but the pricing rarely adjusted to my liking.
They were always helpful in downgrading my package to save a little here and there, and they offered some small discounts every so often, but that wasn’t enough to stay. We now have Sling TV through a Roku box, and love it.
Lower car insurance bills
Car insurance is another biggie. I always ask what discounts they give and how to qualify for them. There are usually good driver discounts and lower rates for good grades, etc. So be sure to ask about any discounts that could apply to your family.
Another option is to weigh the costs of having collision coverage on each car you’re insuring. If you have teenagers whose cars are worth $4000 or less, you may consider dropping that expensive add-on. It could make a big difference in the monthly payment.
Bundling our various insurance together really helped lower our bill. We combined renters insurance, my life insurance, and multiple cars, and it was much cheaper than simply insuring four cars.
Most of the time, my monthly bill was around $380 for the four cars plus the other two types of insurance.
After we no longer had kids at home, and couldn’t bundle multiple cars, we started shopping around again. That’s when we switched to Geico; it was a better deal for insuring only two cars.
Let someone else do the asking
**If you’re uncomfortable calling your providers for discounts, BillFixers offers their expertise in negotiating with internet, cell phone, cable, and even newspaper providers in order to lower your monthly bills.
You don’t pay them anything unless they’re able to save you money. This service saves you time on phone calls and hold times as well as the hassle of trying to ask for lower prices.
Peter, the head of operations over at BillFixers, was kind enough to share some tips with us for negotiating down your bills. If you choose to call the service providers yourself, here are some things he suggests:
- Speak directly with someone in the cancellation department.
- Be nice, and don’t lose your cool.
- Make sure to call back and confirm the savings after you’ve negotiated a lower rate.
Thank you, Peter, for those great suggestions!
There you have it — a great way to lower your bills is sometimes just a matter of asking. That would never have occurred to me five years ago, but I’m very grateful for the cell phone provider who gave me that tip. I’ve saved a bundle over these past several years, and I’ll bet you can too!
Head over to FITnancials for 15+ Finance Bloggers Share Their Top Money Saving Tips. My bill-lowering tip is one of the features — thank you to Alexis for mentioning me!
For more FREE financial tools, I love using Credit Sesame for help with credit scores, debt, loans, and a FREE customized financial profile. You get a free credit score without having to enter your credit card number.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any luck lowering bills this way or if you have other great tips!