This is a public service reminder to do something that every personal finance blogger has blogged about a million times: call your service providers and negotiate better rates.
Yesterday I called my cable company to see if I could negotiate a better deal on our combined phone/internet/cable service, which was costing us $155 plus tax each month. Phillip — the customer service rep — immediately said he could reduce our bill to $118/month.
Just for asking.
I pushed a tiny bit harder and got him to reduce it to $113 and to throw in an extra premium channel.
That’s a savings of over $500 a year for a simple phone call.
Now, in case you think I”m patting myself on the back for my prudent money management, let me put your mind at ease. The last time I was in the cable company’s offices, picking up a high def box, the girl who helped me actually suggested I call and ask for a better deal. She even told me the department to ask for: Customer Retention.
So what’s the problem?
That was last December. Eight. Months. Ago. So — assuming I could have worked a similar deal back then — my procrastination cost us $336.
A couple of details:
- I had to agree to stay with our cable company for a full year, but we were planning to do that anyway. We’re pretty happy with our cable company, plus I made (another) mistake when I originally chose my email address and used the cable company’s URL. I’ve had the email address for years, so I really don’t want to go through the hassle of changing it.
- We have competing cable companies in our area, which makes negotiating deals a little easier. Although, I think there are enough non-cable options for phone, TV, and internet, this is probably becoming less of an issue.
What I want to know is: Are you ever so busy looking for new ways to save money that you ignore some of the old, boring standbys? Has your procrastination ever cost you money? Tell me I’m not alone.
P.S. Please don’t tell me to get rid of cable or — heaven forbid — TV altogether. I know it’s not very cool or enlightened of us, but we really love our TV. Sports, news, educational shows, junk shows, pay-per-view movies…we watch it all. It’s a pretty cheap source of entertainment and information for our family.
P.P.S. We could save another $23/month if we got rid of our landline, but we’re old school and haven’t done that yet. I’d love to hear from others who have. Are you glad? Do you not have anxiety issues like I do that someone will be home alone and need to call 911, but won’t be able to speak, and the emergency crews won’t be able to locate them? Because that happens all the time, doesn’t it?