That’s right, it’s time to get your butt on the phone and start calling your car insurance company, cable/internet company, cell phone provider, credit card companies, electric company, etc and play some hardball. I do it every year, and I often walk away with a better deal than I had before. Here’s a real example of a conversation I had with a former cable provide…
Me: Hi, I’ve been pretty satisfied with my cable service over the last year, but have received a pretty enticing offer from one of your competitors.
Them: And what offer is that?
Me: Basically everything you guys offer me, plus a few extra movie channels.
Them: And how much is their service expected to cost?
Me: The same price as my current plan with you guys.
Them: Well it looks like we can offer you six months of HBO and Showtime for free.
Me: Hellz Yeah! Sign me up.
Sure, the phone call didn’t save me any money, but it sure as heck made my existing service exponentially more awesome. I encourage you to do the same. Hop on the phone with a competing car insurance company and talk to them about your current plan. I guarantee the new company will do everything they can to provide you a lower payment and win your service. A few minutes on the phone could literally save you hundreds of dollars a year. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a freak, but I definitely get some kind of sick pleasure when trying to finagle a deal. I love negotiating!!!! Let me give you another example of what a phone conversation with a competing car insurance company could look like…
You: Hi, I’ve been paying $200 a month on car insurance for the last six months, and I’m kind of sick of it. How about lowering my bill to $30/month instead? And throw in a warm apple pie while you are it.
Them: Let me see here. Well, you’re in luck. It looks like you called right in time to take part in our newest promotional offer. I’m just gonna run a few numbers real quick.
You: Sounds great, but make it quick. Oprah’s about to start.
Them: Alright sir/madam, it looks we can drop your payment from $200/month to the $30/month as requested, but unfortunately we are all out of apple pie. Would you be okay with banana cream?
Alright, maybe the last example is slightly ridiculous, but so is being a lazy a$$ and not trying to get the best deal out there. Grab your phone and make a few calls. You won’t regret it.
Here’s a list of some of the services you should try and negotiate with…
Car Insurance: Call competitors. tell them your current plan coverage and price and ask if they can beat it. If they can’t, you know you got a good deal. If they can, you just saved yourself some dough.
Cable: Again call the local competitor to see what their current price plans and promotions are. If you don’t have luck with them call your current provider and ask if they have any specials running. Pretty often they can give you access to HBO or other premium channels for a few months.
Credit Card: This is one of my favorite things to do. A few times a year, I call good ol Bank of America and ask them for a credit line increase. About 50% of the time, I get it. Why ask for the increase? Assuming I don’t increase my spending habits, having a higher credit line should help my credit score. If you currently have CC debt, it doesn’t hurt to call and see if they will lower your interest. Not too sure if the banks will budge with all the craziness in the markets, but it’s worth a shot.
Cell Phone: Call current provider and notify them you are considering a switch (even if you aren’t) and ask if they have any plans or promotions that will keep you from jumping ship.
Apartment: If you are renting (on a short term lease) hop on craigslist and see if there is another apartment similar to yours for a cheaper. I’ve moved quite a few times because I found something as good (or better) than my current pad for hundreds less. Totally worth it if you don’t mind moving.
Your assignment today is to go save yourself some money. Does anyone else out there enjoy negotiating? Do you “make the rounds” and ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck? What other services allow you the freedom to shop around?