You might be surprised how easy it can be to save money on your monthly bills and beyond! In many cases it is just a matter of asking to pay less. Here are four examples that teach four principles that you can apply to your own situation. How much money could you be saving?
Rates are Negotiable
My first experience with reducing bills was when my husband and I were first married. After being married for only four months we left the country for an international internship. We moved out of our apartment and put our things in storage. Naturally we called to cancel our utilities, including our land line phone.
My husband explained to the phone company representative that we were moving out of the country so we needed to cancel our phone service. As soon as the representative heard “cancel” he kept lowering the price to entice us to stay with their company!
We though it was pretty funny because it wasn’t about money. We were leaving the country! No great deal on our monthly phone bill was going to change our mind. We learned something though, which we stored away for when we came back to the states: rates are actually negotiable!
Customer Loyalty Pays
My dear friend wanted to get an iPhone but couldn’t see adding the data plan to her monthly bills. She decided that if she could get her other monthly bills lowered enough to cover the cost of a new phone plan then she would go for it. I was impressed with her discipline to stay within her current budget.
She called her cable and internet provider and politely said,
“I have been a loyal customer for X years and really like your service, but I feel like I am paying too much. I get offers in the mail about signing up for other providers at much cheaper rates. I am willing to switch to get a better price, but I would like to stay with you if it’s possible. Is there anything you can do to lower our rate?”
Both companies were willing to lower their rates and she got her iPhone without increasing her monthly bills. As loyal customers, we have more power than we think.
Update: If I had known then, what I know now, I would have told her all about Republic Wireless and she would have saved way more!
Have a Creative Alternative
Another close friend was tired of paying for expensive trash pick-up in her rural area, especially since her family didn’t generate very much garbage each week. Her husband had just moved his small business to a new office in a newly developed business area. He was the first one to sign on with the builder/landlord. Noticing the large dumpsters were never full since the office space wasn’t yet all rented out, she asked the landlord if it was okay if she brought the family’s trash up to the dumpster each week. He agreed, which completely eliminated the monthly garbage bill!
I’ve also heard of neighbors sharing trash service. It just serves as an example of what a little thinking outside the box can do for you. Of course every situation is different and will require its own custom solution. By thinking creatively about lowering your monthly bills, you may be able to come up with a solution that will save you.
Look Beyond the Bills
While tuition is not a monthly bill, this example teaches the same principle. When he decided to return to school and applied to J.D and M.B.A programs, he received a scholarship offer from both the law school and the business school at the university he ultimately selected. The law school offer was more generous than we expected. The business school offer was much smaller. A few days after receiving the offer from the business school, he contacted the dean of admissions and explained that while he would love to attend, he wasn’t sure we could justify the added cost over an already expensive law school education. Fifteen minutes later, the scholarship offer was doubled and our tuition cost was down by ten thousand dollars– just for asking!
This seemed like a novel idea to us at the time, but talking with other students, our experience was hardly exceptional. Many students ask for increased scholarships or other benefits, and if a school wants you to attend, they’ll often accommodate the requests. In retrospect, my husband probably should have also negotiated an increase at the law school. The lesson: A scholarship offer is usually not a take-it-or-leave it proposition. Treat the initial offer like a starting point for negotiation and you could ends up thousands of dollars ahead. This lesson applies equally well to job offers. The first offer is a starting point, and the company has illustrated by making the offer that they want you there. Don’t be afraid to ask for more.
Is it worth it?
Umm YES! The best part about saving on monthly bills or tuition (as opposed to just a purchase here and there) is that you see the savings every month! Even just a little less on a monthly bill will add up quickly over time. The savings can go straight to paying off debt or saving for the future.
Could you be a phone call away from saving hundreds of dollars a year by reducing your bills?
You’ll never know unless you ask!
- How have you experienced the power of asking?
- Have you had experience getting a monthly bill reduced by just asking?
- If you could get a bill reduced, which one would it be?