so continuing the post where I talked about projects, I thought it might be a good idea to move onto a few more practical suggestions related to bills.
I live by the "you have not, because you ask not" principal.
in the past few weeks I have gotten several offers in the mail for verizon and comcast, begging me to leave directv and promising lower rates if I switch and throwing gift cards my way to incentivize it even more. a few months ago, I called directv, told them the offer, spoke to a representative and she transferred me over to another department because her options were limited, long story short, they lowered my bill $5/month and offered me a $200 credit on my account. needless to say I didn't have to think twice about staying with them. fast forward a few months down the line and here we are with more offers flooding in. I call and again the agent I first speak with only offers me $5/month off, but she transfers me and the next department again issues me a $200 credit towards my account. score.
the next day, I called verizon, requesting they lower my monthly bill, not raise it, and they gave me a $50 courtesy credit just for calling in. granted it took some persistence but it def paid off. double score.
simple principles apply to exchanges like this.
first, never take no for an answer. chances are if the person you are speaking with cant help you you can kindly ask to speak to someone who might have more authority to make changes.
second, talk to the people with courtesy and kindness, it really goes a long way and it makes them want to help you. I'm not saying don't be firm in your requests, but put the ball back in their court and see what they offer you, reminding them you like their service, but the bottom line is what matters must in your budget. in this time of financial difficulty, chances are they personally understand!
third, never pay late fees. sometimes, I space. I forget to pay a bill online every now and then (most of them auto debit, but in this case it makes it harder to remember the ones you actually have to pay), especially around vacation times. chances are, if you rarely do this and you incur a late feel call your provider or credit card and ask them to take it off, they usually do this as a courtesy, especially if you consistently pay on time! things like this will add up and can save you up to $200/year.
fourth, never pay for a checking account, be required to hold a minimum balance, or pay for overdraft protection. several banks offer this free of charge and it saves big bucks in a year. before we made the switch we had paid our bank upwards of $300 in fees and charges to our account. there is no reason to stick it out when other options exist. switching is a hassle, but after 20+ years at my old bank, I just didn't want to pay them anymore, when they should be paying me (our new checking account has a low interest rate that we earn, but its better than nothing).
fifth, if you have a mortgage, make sure you are paying the right amount. there is hardly any part of the country that has been not been hit by the crash in housing prices and finally many states are lowering property taxes (thank the Lord), thus making your payment lower. I called our lender and they informed me that our monthly payment should be significantly lower than what we were paying.
have more questions? shoot me an email, I'd love to talk.
happy money saving !