Managing Money

Dialing for Dollars: Four Calls to Make Today that Will Save You Money

February 5, 2008

Want to free up some room in your budget without a lot of work? When I started overhauling our budget, I discovered that we were paying for some things month after month just out of habit and without giving them a lot of thought.

Listed below are four of phone calls I made to lower or get rid of some expenses and they are calls that almost everyone can make and benefit from. The best part is that the effect won’t be temporary…the savings will keep occurring month after month.

1. Your cable company: Competition is fierce in the pay-for-tv market. Alternatives like satellite TV, DirecTV, and, in some markets, competing cable companies mean that you can often negotiate a better deal than you’re currently getting. Many cable company’s customer service agents are authorized to negotiate with you so give them a call and let them know you’re shopping around. You can also make changes in your service that will affect your bill. Are you paying for channels that you don’t watch? Cancel them. Are you paying for local phone service, long distance, high speed internet, and cable TV with different companies? Combine some services with one company and watch your bill go down!

2. Your bank: All checking and savings accounts are not created equal. Some banks charge for services like using your debit card for a PIN transaction, paying your bills online, and even talking to customer service agents. Check your monthly statement to see what kind of services you’re being charged for and then shop around for free alternatives.

3. Your credit card company: What’s your current credit card rate? Is it the same as when you signed up or has that teaser rate expired? Maybe you were late with a payment or went over your limit and the issuer used that to tack on fees and raise your rate as well.

Like cable companies, customer service agents at credit card companies are often authorized to lower your rate when asked. They might also reverse a late or over limit fee if you’re not a frequent abuser. If they don’t, ask to speak to a supervisor. If that doesn’t get a result, start checking out the 0% balance transfer offers that no doubt fill up your mailbox weekly!

4. Dump a subscription: What product or service are you subscribing to that you’re not really taking advantage of? Magazines going unread? Gym membership going unused? Signed up for an internet site that you rarely visit? Take the time to cancel the subscription for an instant savings.

  1. Good tips. My husband just saved us about $30 each month just by calling our cable company and going over his options with a customer service rep. It never hurts to ask!

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