Lowering Your Bills In Three Phone Calls (We Saved $590!)

As we all hunt for ways to save money these days, it’s easy to overlook the fact that sometimes ya just have to ask. In fact, by making a few calls to the companies behind our three biggest monthly bills, Sherry and I managed to save $590 for the coming year. Here’s how:

It started when we got a Comcast bill that was suddenly $30 higher than before. Seems the “triple play” promotion we were on (for our internet, cable and home phone) had expired and we were now paying regular rates. But as loyal customers since 2006, I wasn’t having any of that. So I got Comcast on the horn, explained my dissatisfaction and simply asked them to help me lower my bill (oh, and I might’ve hinted that the Verizon guy was knocking on doors around here recently). Next thing I know, I’m transferred to their “Retention Department” and I’m back on the promotion for another year – I didn’t even have to put up much of a fight (which is good, ’cause Sherry’s the real negotiator in the family). And not only did I squash the $30 increase, our new monthly bill is actually $8 less than it used to be. That’s $456 that we’re not shucking out to Comcast this year. Score!

So I took my new negotiating confidence and dialed Geico to take a crack at our car insurance bill. We’ve hadn’t re-visited our coverage since enrolling in 2006 so I thought it was time to check in. And once again, I just asked the rep if she could help me find a way to save money on my bill. I thought my clean driving record would be the ticket to more savings, but it was actually our marriage license that did the trick. Apparently we had never updated our account to show that Sherry was a Petersik (she was still listed as my “friend” – ha!). With that little update, $134 magically dropped off our annual bill. If only we had done that 18 months ago when we got married…

Going for the savings hat trick, I decided to tackle our cell phone bill. I took my same, straight-forward “can you help me save money?” approach with the Sprint guy (we have to stick with Sprint to keep our pretty decent company discount) and… struck out. Apparently our two-year-old plan is pretty much the cheapest and most basic one out there. Ah well. At least I learned that we’re eligible for $300 in new phones. Not a bad consolation prize.

In total, I was probably on the phone for 30 minutes total. Certainly time well spent for saving nearly 600 buckaroos this year, especially since all I had to do was ask.

Have you guys talked your way into some savings recently? Do you have any other tricks for trimming your bills? Let us know, ’cause I for one am eager to make more calls… especially if I’m doing it from my fancy new cell phone.

For more ways to save money, check out this article from thenest.com and this article from BHG


  1. Jenny says

    I managed to save us about $200 last year by switching a prescription, and also switching our garbage collection service. I was so psyched!

  2. Melissa says

    How about your homeowner’s insurance? You can save a bundle for various upgrades around the house (locks,alarms,etc).

  3. Jessica says

    I actually had my car insurance with Allstate, and decided to see if they (or any other company could save me some money). I went to State Farm, and they were able to save me $720 a year just on my car insurance. Well, since I had just gotten married, we needed to get life insurance too. So for a life policy for each of us, I was still going to be paying $400 less a year than what I paid for just car insurance at Allstate! Pretty awesome!

  4. says

    before this “credit crisis” i would routinely call my credit card companies & ask if my APR could be lowered. i got most of my cards down to below 10% APR by doing this.

    now, though, they are raising my APR because of the economic fiasco that is occurring. oh, well. you bet i’ll be calling again once the economy is straightened out!

    additionally, by going through AAA for both my car insurance & my renters insurance, i’m saving around $500/year. not bad for a membership that costs me $48/year and has come to my rescue while on the road countless times!

  5. Shannon says

    I had great luck getting my bill dropped with Comcast when my promotion ran out too. I simply told the representative (nicely) that I couldn’t afford my bill anymore and wanted to drop my cable TV and just keep internet. She transferred me to a manager who promptly offered me the “economy tier,” something they don’t advertise. Basic cable TV plus internet is less than $40 per month, an $18 per month savings. That’s a lot of savings for a law student budget!

    I was so pleased because I HATE trying to negotiate. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!

  6. says

    One suggestion I would have would be to contact your insurance agent, if you have not reviewed all your policies with them lately. I mean like homeowners, maybe you have extra coverage there for like electronics you don’t need. Most good companies want to keep you as a customer to call them up, tell them you “in hard times” and you need their help reducing your bill or you will have to find another company, boy that hate that. Good luck trimming your bills. Check them all and see if you can save. Like my mom just saved on her trash bill buy reducing the extra pick-up day. I try to watch my bills each new year to see why they went up from last year, then get to calling if I feel like it’s wrong or I can change something. It can be hard because what can you live without, you might not be able too.

  7. says

    That is awesome! Congrats on the savings! We recently called our credit card company and got a way better rate. Since we’ve only been married a year, we’ve already phoned everyone from the insurance to the cell phones in an effort to get a better rate and most of them worked! Married life has it’s bonuses! :-)

  8. Kim says

    If you haven’t already, I would check your insurance to see if you will save by combining homeowners and car insurance. We saved big time when we combined ours.

  9. says

    We try to “bundle” as much of our services as possible – tv/internet/phone is through one provider, and home and car insurance through another that I still have an old corporate discount on.

    I’m also a big fan of simply telling companies, that the price on their service no longer works for your budget and that you’ll have to cancel it, unless they can give you a better deal.

  10. says

    We cut our insurance bill in half by switching companies. Apparently some companies use credit ratings and some don’t. By switching to one that uses credit ratings, we are paying half as much (and actually getting more coverage).

    Also, we switched to a smaller size garbage can for a savings of $8 per month. With our compost usage, the smaller one is the perfect size.

    Thanks for the reminder to make another round of calls!

  11. jbhat says

    Another great idea! And woo-hoo for you. That’s a huge chunk of change that you managed to hang onto. I wonder what sort of savings I will reap?

  12. says

    We have called a few times to ask whether our credit card APRs could be lowered. Even though we’re in the midst of a credit crisis now, chances are, this strategy will still work. Credit card companies DO NOT want you to default, and if they think lowering your APR will help you stay a viable customer, they’ll do it.

    There are lots of tips online on the best way to tackle this (http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/01/09/fiscal-fitness-09-one-phone-call-198-in-debt-savin.aspx) — you’re usually successful if you’re a customer in good standing (always pay on time, haven’t gone over your limit, that sort of thing).

    Every CC company is different — with one of my cards it was super-easy, I basically just had to ask, another card it was a more prolonged experience (they just had more questions). But it never hurts to try!

  13. says

    I just received my comcast bill this morning and was so mad that it had gone up. And then I read this post…and then I called comcast. They signed me up for a “double play” special which is only good for six months (I’ll be calling them back then for sure!) but it lowered it from $140 pretax to $90 pretax! Maybe telling them I was definitely switching to Dish TV or Direct TV had something to do with it. I have always asked for reductions from credit card and insurance companies. Wonder why it never occurred to me to call comcast. Thanks, you guys!!!

  14. says

    I wish I had as good of luck with Geico as you did. I just got my next 6 month car insurance bill and it went up $25. Now I know that is small change when you divide that over 6months but I thought as I get farther away from 25 the cheaper it gets. Well I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience but after your “new” car hits the two year mark it no longer qualifies for the 2year and under discount. After being transferred around numerous times, I am not out looking for new insurance.

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