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How to Lower Your Bills by Asking
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.
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).
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.
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.
Car insurance is another biggie. I stayed in constant contact with my agent to make sure there weren’t additional good driver/good student discounts etc. that could be applied. Imagine having to insure up to 5 drivers — all of them, until recently, under 25! Really, really expensive. However, by bundling our renters insurance, my life insurance, and multiple cars, it was actually doable. Most of the time my monthly bill was around $380 for all of those cars and the other insurance — not bad.
Later, as kids began to leave my nest, I realized that insurance company no longer fit our needs. As we insured less cars, my bill stayed high. Multiple cars lead to better discounts. That’s when we switched to Geico; it was a better deal for insuring only two cars. Always ask if there are discounts that can be applied for your particular household, and be willing to switch to a cheaper insurer if they no longer fit your needs.
Finally, if you’re uncomfortable calling your providers for discounts, there are some companies that will do it for you. BillFixers offers their expertise in negotiating with internet, cell phone, cable, and even newspaper providers (and more) 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 (once you’ve negotiated a lower price)
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!
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Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any luck lowering bills this way. I’d love to know about your tips and successes!
Pin this post to remember these great tips…thanks!!