One of the easiest ways you can save money for things like paying off your debts faster is to cut the costs of things you already pay for. You can save hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of dollars a year just by making a few phone calls.
Saving money can be just a few minutes away by simply asking for a discount.
If you own a small business, the savings can get even bigger. Many years ago when I first learned about this technique, I saved nearly $1,000 per month on services I was already using. And all I had to do was ask!
Cutting your monthly expenses is simple and will only take a few minutes of your time. If you put off trying these step-by-step instructions (all scripts included!) you could be costing yourself thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
Step 1: Find all the companies that bill you
So you can save the most money, you’ll need to figure out every company you do business. Dig through your paper pile. Check your bank and credit card statements. Make a big ol’ list of everyone.
- natural gas/oil
- credit card interest and fees
- bank fees
- insurance (home, auto)
- magazine subscriptions
- gym memberships
- lawn/HVAC/pest control/home services
Step 2: Do your homework
You’ll be in a much better position to get a deal and save money if you know there is a deal to be had.
Check the company’s website to see what offers and deals they have going on. Many times new customers get better rates than existing customers. No company notifies existing customers like you that prices just dropped. You’ll have to find out for yourself.
Don’t spend too long, but surf the company’s website for a couple of minutes to see what current prices are.
Step 3: Call each company
Start dialing! To save you time you can try the free service Fast Customer
Fast Customer lets you select the company you want to speak with.
- Enter in your phone #
- A customer service agent will call you
No more wasted time on hold!
Step 3: Ask for discounts
Here it is, the step-by-step conversation. I’ve tried it, and it works!
Please note to be nice to the person on the phone. Chances are they have no authority to give discounts. All they are going to do is answer your question from a pre-written script. It might take 10–30 minutes to get through to someone that has the power to make a deal. Be polite but firm.
YOU: Hi, I’ve been a customer for X years, and I’m calling to see what plans are available that will save me money.
THEM: Let me check…
You’ll have to wait to see what they come back with.
If they offer you a better deal – WooHoo!
If not, you’ll have to keep digging.
Step 4: Keep asking
YOU: What about plans not mentioned on your website?
THEM: “No, what we have is listed on the website. ”
Leverage competitor offers
Most companies have to compete for your dollars. If you have options available to you that you know are better, give your current company a chance to keep your business.
YOU: [COMPETITOR NAME] is offering a better deal on service. I’m thinking about changing services to save some money. What can you do for me?
If you get a discount, awesome. If you’re not satisfied and they can’t help you, it’s time to move up the food chain.
THEM: I’m sorry we’re not able to do that.
YOU: I’d like to cancel my service then.
Up until know, you’ve probably spoken with the entry-level customer support people. They are powerless for the most part. If you can’t get a deal, it’s more than likely the customer retention department can.
Once you get to someone that has the power to give you a better deal, you ask the same questions. Tell them you found better pricing on their website or a competitor website and want to see what they can do to help you save money.
Leverage your walk-away power
If you are truly willing to leave the company you currently do business with, you have absolute control. But if you’re just playing them to save money and aren’t willing to go, you’re less likely to get a deal.
NOTE: They can’t cancel your account without your written or verbal permission. Saying ‘I’d like to cancel my service’ doesn’t mean you’ll get cut off instantly. If you’re making a threat to leave, you don’t have to follow through.
Step 5: If you don’t get a deal get something
Years ago I called Verizon to get them to lower our TV/Internet/Phone bill. However, I wasn’t willing to leave them because they had the best Internet service. After 30-minutes on the phone, I managed to get them to give me $30 off one-time.
Get free trials
If you like TV your cable provider might be willing to give you a free trial of HBO, Showtime, or another movie channel.
Get free add-ons
If you have a DVR or Internet modem, you’re probably being charged a hefty fee each month to ‘rent’ the hardware. An Internet modem can run $10/month or $120/year.
Ask what they can do for you to get some savings on hardware rentals.
Step 6: Ask for credit for previous months
If you do get a discount or a new pricing plan, ask if you can have the discount applied retroactively to the previous month or even past several months.
Your savings can multiply quickly as you work through all the company’s you do business. Here are a few more money saving tips:
Consider a cable company where there might be an opportunity to get a cheaper plan, discounted hardware rental rate (or a few free months), and some trial offers.
Take them One. At. A. Time.
- First, work the cheaper plan, and get to a yes or no.
- Then move on to asking about hardware rental, and get to a yes or no.
- Then move on to discussing trial offers.
If you go in guns blazing and ask for everything at once, you might get one thing. Yes, you’ll be happy, but you may miss out on getting so much more.
Follow the scripts.
See if early cancellation is worth it
Once I had to break a lease on an apartment (after the cockroach crawled over me in the middle of the night I was out of there). Paying the penalty to break the lease and move into a cheaper place saved me money.
I’ve also canceled my Internet service to switch to a lower cost plan and came out ahead as well.
You’ll have to weigh if paying the early termination fee and getting into a lower priced plan makes sense.
Make sure you only get what you need
With cable, Internet, or landlines, and cell phones, all the stupid taxes and fees can add up to an extra $20-$30/month. If you don’t need a landline with your Internet service, don’t get it.
For example, we have Verizon blazing fast internet for only $40/month with no extras. I’ve gotta tell you that’s cheap for Internet service.
Consider pre-paying to save money
You can save a lot of money by pre-paying for services.
Some online services will give you a deep discount if you pre-pay 3/6/12 months in advance. Gyms do this a lot too. My advice is to try the service for 3–6 months first on a month-to-month plan before committing long term.
I’ve found that sometimes I think I’ll use a service and then stop after a couple of months (I’ve learned this lesson the expensive way). Once I’m sure I’ll continue to use a service I sign-up long term. A good example is this new gym I’ve been using for a few months. My old gym closed down so right now I’m on the month-to-month plan at 24-Hour Fitness. I’ve been going there consistently four months, so I’ll sign up for a 12-month plan to save money.
Always pre-pay your insurance if you can afford it
Car insurance, home insurance, and renters insurance are all types of insurance that you’ll likely get a discount for if you pay the policy in full (12-months) or in-part (6-months).
Many insurers will hit you with a $1-$2 extra each month for monthly payments. Plus you might get charged a fee for paying with a credit card or mailing in your payment.
With insurance, you have no fear of losing money if you cancel your policy before the expiration date. You’ll get a refund for the unused balance. If you haven’t shopped around for insurance in a while now is the time. There is no need to wait until your renewal date.
Do you have missing money waiting for you?
After you’ve finished finding out if you can get your monthly bills and services reduced, you’ve got to check if you have missing money waiting for you. It’s the next best thing to free money!
Use these steps to cut your monthly bills
Companies know it’s cheaper to keep you as a customer by giving you a discount or helping you save money than it is to pay to get new customers. They want to keep you.
Spend an hour making some phone calls and see what savings you can get. I’ve saved thousands of dollars doing this on all kinds of services.