One of the easiest ways to save money is to simply call the company and ask for a better price. This is especially easy when it comes to services that are offering deep discounts to try and lure you away from their competitors. One of the best ways to do this is to use your junk mail to relate competing offers.
I was interviewed for a story about this a few weeks ago in the The Indianapolis Star. After doing the interview, my mother received her cable bill and complained about the price. I took a satellite TV offer she had received in the mail a few days earlier, made a call and reduced the price of her cable by $25 a month for three months (from $65 a month to $39.95 a month for three months). It took all of 5 minutes on the phone.
We then went through her other services. We were able to get the gardener to reduce his fee by $10 every two weeks for a total savings of $20 a month. We called the credit card company and got her interest rate reduced from 12% to 7% – there was no immediate savings here since she didn’t have a balance on the card, but if there is an emergency in the future and she does have a balance, she will reap savings there. We called the telephone company and although we didn’t get a discount per se, the customer representative steered us to a package deal that cut her phone bill by about $15 a month over what she was paying. We called the newspaper and received a $5 a month discount (in this case we didn’t have a competing offer, but simply asked if they had any discounts they were offering to current customers) Total savings: $65 a month for about 45 minutes on the phone.
When I have talked to others about this, most who don’t do it say that the reason they don’t is because they feel uncomfortable. Many seem worried about what will happen if the they don’t get offered a better price and wouldn’t know what do do from that point. So instead of being put in an uncomfortable position, they simply pay the higher price.
I fully understand being uncomfortable when doing this, especially for the first few times. As with anything new, there is always some apprehension and uncertainty of what to do if it doesn’t go as you expect. It does become much easier the more you do it and it is well worth the effort for the amount of money you can save.
There seems to be a misunderstanding among many who I suggest this idea to that there must be an ultimatum involved in the negotiations. “Either give me a better price or I will leave.” I never use an ultimatum when asking for a discount because most of the time I really don’t want to leave the company that I currently use.
When you call, simply say that you received this offer in the mail and that you’re “thinking about it” and were wondering if your current company could match it. If they say yes, you’re done and you saved money. If they say “no,” simply ask what is the best price they can offer. If it is less than you are paying, then you’re done and you saved some money over what you had been paying. If they say that they can’t give a discount, then thank them for their time and say you will think about it further. Since you never made a demand that you would leave if they didn’t give a discount, you are never forced into an uncomfortable position.
I especially like this type of saving because it is what I refer to as Painless Saving – you save money without ever having to make a sacrifice. You get the exact same service at a better price.
This is a simple saving money technique that can be used for almost all services you use that have competition in your area. Check your junk mail, newspaper ads and fliers. Most people can reduce their costs by over $50 (and often much more) a month using this method.