When the bills come, do you take the time to look at what you’re being charged for or do you just look at the amount due, point, click and pay? After a recent conversation with my dad about his cable bill (and finding out he was paying over $80.00 a month for it), I found myself kind of pissed at Time Warner for taking advantage of him. The truth is, I have always been one to speak up to get the best deal on cable, internet and cell service. My friends are often shocked when they find out I pay less than $25.00 a month for both cable ($8) and internet ($15). Sure, I don’t have the fancy DVR, but I do get all of the basic channels (in HD as well), along with my favorites like FOOD, TLC, HGTV, FOX News and CNN.
How did I do it? The answer is simple. I know what Time Warner is offering to new customers. Recently I received a postcard from TWC offering Internet for $15.00 a month. When I called, they said I didn’t qualify since I already had service. I then told the representative that I wanted to cancel my service. When she asked why, I told her it made no since for me to pay $30.00 a month for the same service they were now offering to what she said were “new customers” for $15.00. There wasn’t any arguing or fighting. I simply had to speak up, state my point, and eventually I got the deal.
I’ve put the same to practice in negotiating a better price with my cellphone provider, Verizon. I’ve been with Verizon since 2000, and I let them know it. I have a data package for my BlackBerry and a secondary line for my mom. When I negotiated my monthly price, I reminded the representative how long I have been with their company and that I have multiple services/lines. Just because their website stays the price is one thing, doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions or additional discounts that are never disclosed, but you won’t know unless you ask. Since I am a Wachovia/Wells Fargo employee, I also get a considerable corporate discount. It never hurts to check with your employer to see what discounts might be available to you.
So, the lesson here? In this economy, better yet, in life, you have to speak up. It could mean a considerable monthly savings on your bills, meaning more to save and give!
- Check the grocery ads. Most grocery stores publish a weekly sale ad, normally available online on Wednesday. Plan your meals around what’s on sale.
- When something’s on sale, stock up. This is very true with fresh meats that can be frozen and used later. Be sure to place meats in an airtight freezer bag to avoid freezer-burn.
- Never go grocery shopping hungry and plan your meals/make a list. If you’re like me, you’ll end up buying everything, since it all looks incredibly yummy. To avoid this, shop after you’ve had a good meal. I also make a menu for the following two weeks. I list each ingredient, checking off what I already have and what I need. Making a list keeps me on track and helps me budget.
- Write companies you love, tell them you love them, and ask for coupons. I’ve done this for Ruby Tuesday (received a coupon for half off my next meal), Archer Farms (Target’s Premium Brand) Blue Corn Chips (received coupons for two free bags of chips), and Firestone (they sent me coupon for a free oil change).
- Save your receipt. Did you know that if an item goes on sale within two weeks of your purchase at Target, you can take your receipt in and get the difference of what you paid and the sale price? This works on ANY item in the store. I saved well over $1000.00 last year just by checking Target’s sale ad and comparing it with my recent receipts. (Ex: Bought $300.00 in clothes. They were 30% off the following week. Took my receipt in and got my $90.00 back!) Sears and Best Buy also have similar policies.
Let me know what tricks you’ve found to save money.