Cut Monthly Costs, Easily

by Dave Miller

Every month we shell out money to a number of people. Do we stop and question these bills?

You can hire professional negotiators that help you reduce those monthly bills. They work on a commission basis. Their take is one half of your yearly savings. If they cut $25 off your phone bill per month it saves you $300 per year. You then pay them $150. If you appreciate that, they then work on other monthly bills such as cable bill, internet, et cetera.

They also proclaim the ability to decrease your costs without cutting features. If you are willing to be more frugal and do with fewer features, you can really capitalize.

Negotiating, I admit, is something I enjoy. When buying a new item I tend to over-analyze. But like most people, once I am paying the bills regularly I do not stop to question them.  

My dad always said, “It’s either my money or it’s theirs”. I prefer it to be mine. I decided I have nothing to lose other than time. The potential of money to gain is very tempting. After reviewing one of the websites, which gave only a few tips, I went to work.

I decide to call AT&T first. After connecting to customer service I told the lady I needed to reduce my monthly bills. She reviewed my account and said currently there is a $90 credit on the account. I explained how I mistakenly paid last month twice. She then replied sarcastically, “Well, that would be nice”.  Intuition told me this was not going very well. Ten minutes later and no reduction, my time is lost, but nothing more.

We will get back to AT&T later.

Frontier Communication is dubbed my next victim. My phone, internet and online backup are consolidated. I inform the need to terminate my internet service. Earlier I had looked at some alternatives, which were not nearly as appealing as my current service. I intentionally failed to mention this little detail. The mention of termination gets me to a termination specialist. This is good news.

The retention department has more highly trained personnel with added authority. Their goal is to keep you as a customer. A good one is worth a bundle to the company. The retention specialist lost no time. She said she could save me money. We looked at a few new plans. A savings of around $13 was possible with no loss in features. She then pointed out a feature, inside wire maintenance, that was of little use to me. The benefit to cost ratio was tipping the wrong way. She compared it to buying insurance on something that seldom fails. We cut that also. My savings leapt to $20 a month. I am grinning now, but not stopping. When someone sets food in front of me, I eat and may even ask for dessert. The question that followed was about a onetime credit. She inquired the reason for my request. I said for a whole year I’ve been paying more than I should have been. To my glee, she said she can give me a $25 credit. I accepted. Why wouldn’t I? Only a fool would stop to ask questions at this point. I thanked her pleasantly and went on my merry way, still grinning.

 A year ago I went from a two-yard dumpster to a three-yard due to producing more refuse. My monthly bill increased from $65 to $85. After noticing it being only partially filled on pick up day, I requested a smaller, two-yard dumpster again. The lady asked if they could start coming only every other week and keep the 3 yarder in place. I didn’t like the idea as this was more of a cut than I was comfortable with. But one must step outside one’s comfort zone periodically. So I asked for prices. She quickly replied that she could probably reduce it to the $65 rate if they only pick up every other week. I thought she spoke a little too quickly and apprehensively. I asked her to check and see what their best price was. She came back with a rate of $45. Twenty whole dollars less than she so anxiously offered only 90 seconds ago. A grin emerges. I was skeptical of this being enough dumpster space, but after four weeks it has worked perfectly. I now grin every two weeks on pickup day.

My AT&T bill arrived using the credit previously mentioned for this month’s costs. Now there is no credit to hinder my plan. I call again. This time I am adamant about my need to cut costs. I am transferred to my favorite department – customer retention. He quickly offers me a plan with 300 minutes rather than 450. I tell him I was hoping to cut costs not features or minutes. He offers me 1000 rollover minutes to carry me through the months I go over 300 minutes. This plan would save me $10. I ask about other options. There are few. This seems to be the best. I ask him for a onetime credit to help defray my costs. He tells me sympathetically how he only gets $25 per shift to hand out and is only able to offer $5 to me. I accept with a tinge of a grin.

I feel high. The rush of conquering rages through my veins. After resting a few days I tell my wife I need my fix. I am now prepared to cut things of little use or just plain frivolous. I charge after Netflix. I cancel. Cha-ching. $9.53 per month saved. I feel better.

For a few years I have been getting a financial newsletter that has since lost its luster. It is on auto renew yearly for $59. I finally take the time to find the phone number and call to cancel. The lady asked if I want to cancel or just stop auto renew. I state “cancel” hoping for a prorated refund of around $20. I ask for the refund and she says she will refund the entire year’s worth – $59. This ignites a grin just shy of exploding.

I was successful and had a ball in the process. I cut my monthly bills $84.44 for a yearly savings of over one thousand dollars! Plus, I received $30 in immediate credit. This is nothing to sneeze at. One Thousand Buckaroos. It was easy and took little time. I say to you “Go thou and do likewise”.

 Please post comments, whether positive of negative, of your attempts. I would love to learn of more areas to save money and techniques that pay off.

For more tips click here.

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 12:22 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Looks like we will be switching to Comcast. However I am a little nervous due to only ever using Frontier. It may save us as much as $800.00/per Year.

  2. Very interesting article! Truely!

  3. If only more people would hear this.

  4. You have done it again! Incredible writing.

  5. Very great post! Really!

  6. I have been more ruthless than you. I cut my software support contract, let my term insurance expire, got a huge discount on car insurance by telling them my mileage is 4,000 not 12,000 (I don’t go anywhere much in the car), one of the dogs died, so that’s about $20 less per month plus license, vet bills, then I joined the Grocery Game.Com and cut the begeezuz out of my grocery bill, cancelled and paid off a 22% per yr. credit card, and refi’d my house for a savings of $600 per month, started buying my gas at Costco, got the Costco Amex card with 6 months free interest plus refund that pays for the membership plus cash in your pocket, started ordering books online from the library where my bookstore bill had been $1,000 per yr. before, installed the new light bulbs, started shopping at Ross on Tuesdays for the 10% senior (over 50) discount, free checks from the credit union, their 7.99% credit card with 0% transfer balance (you pay their card, then you transfer that new balance into your checking and pay down a 15 to 18% card…it goes on and on. I am still turning over rocks. Oh, there is the trip to the Bahamas, Norwegian Cruise Line, used all my air miles from the now-cancelled card (had an $85 per yr. fee), even got my sister a free ticket, balcony cabin for $334 apiece with 50 cabin credit, free wine, only taking carry-on luggage (freestyle) 4 days, day 5 in Miami and airport in the evening. Hope some of this is helpful to somebody. I only started doing all this in February when I realized I was in trouble.

    • Great work. You are ahead of the curve.

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