stretchingcents

How to save on your phone, cable & internet

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. At the end, I’ll show a breakdown of my current bills.

1) Do you really need it?

  • Home 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 at the time.  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.
  • Cell Phone- How much data do you really need? There are 4 people sharing our plan (3 smartphones) and we share 6 GB of data a month.  We have never ever gone over.  In fact, there are 5 days left in this billing cycle and we have only used 3.85 GB. Yes, there are MANY unlimited plans, but do you REALLY need that much? Could you connect to wifi? Could you use your phone less?
  • 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.  A few years ago we were looking for ways to cut our bills and decided it was time to cut the TV package we had.   I “need” (ok not really) the local news and weather and we really like having a few kid choices. When I called to say we wanted only the local channels they said there was no such package, but when I said I would be canceling, they told me about a few unadvertised  packages.  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, 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.
  • Comcast also offers a few random discounts if you talk to the right person.  We currently have a discount of $10 a month simply because I talked to the right person and they said they could give me a discount because we used such a small tv package (???). It is listed on the bill as an extra “Bundled Services” discount.

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.   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.  One 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 conversation went with Comcast once:

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!

Here is what we are currently paying:

Verizon (cell phone): I share a phone plan with my husband, Mom and Dad.  We have been sharing a plan for year because for a long time it didn’t financially make sense for my Mom to have her own plan when she didn’t use her cell phone much.  Now all of us except for my Dad has smart phones, but we still come out ahead sharing a plan. Here’s the  breakdown of a typical monthly bill:

  • Plan for 4 phones: $59.50
  • Smartphone 1 (device, access fee, taxes, warranty): $35.58
  • Smartphone 2 (device, access fee, taxes, warranty): $37.92
  • Smartphone 3( device, access fee, taxes, total equipment coverage*): $48.69
  • Phone 4 (access fee, taxes): $24.18

Cell phone bill total: 209.87 (Split 4 ways so we only pay about $120 a month)

*We pay for full coverage on my husbands phone because after hitting it with the lawn mower, bulldozing it at the dump, and just this month dropping it down a chimney….its totally worth it 🙂

Cable/Internet Bill:

  • TV (Limited Basic Service): $15.31
  • Internet (Performance Internet): $61.95
  • Taxes and other charges: $9.19
  • Discounts: -$10.00

Total: $76.45

 

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