stretchingcents

How to save bunches on your phone/cable/internet bills

on February 6, 2012

There are plenty of websites and lists of ways to save on your bills, but I decided to write a list of tips that will actually save you money.  They are all things I have learned from experience and have saved us bunches of money.  I understand every situation is different, and each family has their own needs, but here is some things that have worked for us.

1) Do you really need it?

  • Phone– If you have a cell phone, do you really need a land-line phone?  We kept one for several years because we didn’t want to give out our cell phone to businesses or  to my students.  When we kept track of how many people actually called our home phone, we realized what a waste of money it was!  We saved about $17 a month by canceling. So far, I haven’t had that many extra calls on my cell phone, so no regrets there.
  • TV- This can be a touchy subject!  Totally getting rid of the TV is not an option right now for our family, but we have learned to live with very few channels.  About  a year ago we were looking for ways to cut our bills and decided it was time to cut the TV package we had.  All we watch are the local channels and a few like TLC, DIY, FOOD, and HGTV.  When I called to say we wanted fewer channels they said there was no such package, but when I said I would be canceling, they told me about an unadvertised “Family” package.  We decided to try it for a month, and if we REALLY missed our channels we would switch back.  We did miss our channels but realized it was only because we were watching way to much TV to start with, and decided to just watch less TV.  I would challenge you to cut the TV totally off for one week….you’ll be amazed at how much you will get done!

2)  Ask about unadvertised deals

  • Companies always have unadvertised bundling packages.  Like I mentioned above, until I threatened to cancel with direct TV they said they didn’t have what I wanted.  Be  sure to make it very clear what you want, and let them know you will change companies if they can’t give you what you want.

3) Compare Companies

  • If you are stuck in a contract, it usually will not make sense to switch companies, but as soon as you can, you should shop around.  We used to have Direct TV, and had really poor reception at our house, so as soon as we could, I called comcast to see what kind of deal I could get.  Everyone likes honesty, so I was honest with them and said basically “this is what I have with Direct TV, I pay ____ each month, can you do better?”  Of course they wanted my business and gave me a better deal. I then called Direct TV, and said “Comcast can offer me _____ for ___ price.  Can you do better?”  And again…of course they could!  They offered to take  about $40 off my bill each month for 3 months, which was an amazing deal!  I kept Direct TV for 3 extra months, then called Comcast again and said the same thing.  Direct TV couldn’t match Comcast’s price, so we switched!

4) Check your bill EVERY month!

  • This seems like an obvious tip, but I’m sure people miss mistakes companies make on their bills ALL the time.  For the past year, I think we have had a mistake on at least one bill every month.  These mistakes I usually find are weird charges on my cell phone bill, charges for extra cable boxes, late charges when we paid early, being taxed extra because we were listed as living in the wrong county, not getting discounts I was promised, and the list goes on.  Last month I found over $25 in errors on my cell phone bill!

5) Remember no one likes a grouchy person- and ask for discounts!

  • If something is wrong, its up to the company to make it right.  The biggest thing to remember is that no one wants to help a grouchy person though!  No matter how mean and rude the person on the other end of the phone is, be nice and I promise you will get what you want!  Here is how a recent conversation went with Comcast:

Me: I called 3 weeks ago to get our new cable box and it still hasn’t arrived.  Can you check to see when it will come?
Comcast: I see you called last month, it was never ordered.
 Me: I understand this is not your fault, could you please re-order it?
Comcast: Yes (with a sigh that made me feel like I was asking for a HUGE favor)
Me: Since we have been without TV in that room for 3 months while we have been waiting for our box to be repaired, and then a new one sent, could you give me a discount?
 Comcast: No we don’t do that kind of thing.
Me: Thank you for being so helpful already, are you sure there isn’t anything you can do for me?
Comcast: Actually, I can go ahead and credit you $20, will that make things right?

See how easy that is!  Throw in a few compliments, and ask more than once in a very nice way, and you can almost always get $$ taken off your bill.  I never ask for anything outrageous, only what I think is fair.

6) Ask for Job related discounts

  • Teachers get 15% off with Verizon.  I think nurses can also get this discount, and a few other professions.  It never hurts to ask!
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