How We’re Saving $50 Per Month on Our Bills (and it just took two simple phone calls!)

How We Negotiated Lower Monthly Bills

Guest post from Lydia of Five4FiveMeals.com

There are some bills you have no control over, like your electric bill. Yes, you can turn the air conditioner off and not use as many lights, but you are still at the mercy of what the power company charges per KWH.

However, there are some bills you can negotiate down with your service provider.

Last week, my husband called our internet service provider and cell phone carrier to see if we could lower our rates. We have been long-term customers of both and thought it wouldn’t hurt to see what they could do. Two phone calls later and we were saving a little more than $50 a month… and we could all use an extra $600 a year, right?

If you’d like to lower a few of your monthly bills, here are some of our tips:

1. Look for a cheaper package.

If you have had your same package for a long time, rates may have change. We found that was the case with our service provider, Verizon.

They had recently upgraded us to a larger data plan for free as part of a promotion to get us to buy a new phone. But we were not using the extra data and don’t need a new phone and asked to be bumped to a lower plan. That saved us about $25 a month.

2. Find where you’re wasting money.

Our internet bill was the next place we looked and we realized we were wasting money by renting our modem. We could purchase a modem for about $75, while we had been renting it for $7.95 a month for the past 26 months! If you do the math, that’s over $200!

Of course, if something happens to your modem you have to replace it on your own dime.

3. See if a long-term contract is worth the money.

We have very few internet service providers where we live. And we have had the same one for over two years. We realized it was about $15 a month cheaper to just go ahead and sign one-year contract with them.

Since I use the internet to run a business from home, I don’t see us cutting that expense within the next year — so that simply change saved us another $180 per year.

4. Ask the right questions.

My husband just flat out said, “Your competitor has a cheaper rate and we are thinking about switching, what can you do to change our minds?” That got a quick response and a small discount!

You might also ask if they have a customer appreciation discount. Some providers will knock a few dollars off your bill as a one-time discount if you ask politely. Politeness goes a long way.

These are just a few of the ways we’ve successfully lowered our monthly bills. Have you tried anything similar? Or do you have other ideas and suggestions?

Lydia Senn is a Jesus-lover, wife, Mama, blogger, writer, small business owner and reluctant domestic. She’s a former stressed out newspaper reporter who turned in her reporter’s notebook for cloth diapers and a simpler life. She lives in rural Alabama with her husband and two sons. You can visit her at Five4FiveMeals.com

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Comments

  1. Peggy says

    And if calling doesn’t work… Try social media. Certain large phone, TV and Internet providers respond very well to negative publicity on social media sites such as Twitter. When TWC raised my rates after a promotional period I called them and got nowhere, they lowered my new rate by a couple dollars only. The next day I tweeted how unimpressed I was and that I would soon be a former customer. I got an immediate direct response through Twitter, and 24 hrs. later I got a call telling me my new rate would be LOWER than the original promotion I paid AND locked in for 2 years. That’s customer service.

  2. Lana says

    We switched to AT&T’s no contract value plan several months ago for a savings of $37 per month and that included my husband upgrading to an iPhone. We purchased the phone outright; about half was paid for with Swagbucks. We are rolling over the savings in the budget category for right now until we have a nice cushion to replace a phone if need be. We do not intend to have a cell phone with a contract again.

    Cable is not available in our out of town location so we have never paid for that. We have a good antenna with a rotor and that has been enough although we do enjoy cable shows when we have access to them.

    • says

      We switched to AIO Wireless last week. It will save us over $45/month. We had to pay for the phones outright but we had saved the money for it and we plan to never have a phone contract again!

      Oh and we went from boring feature phones to smart phones and we’re still saving $45 a month!

  3. lynn m. says

    We’ve gotten the new customer discount (which in our area is a heavy one), by switching between my name and my husband’s name every year on the account. it saves us between 50-100 a month. We have Verizon if that helps anyone. They won’t pony up this information, but you can do it with no problem.

  4. Leah says

    You can also just call them and ask them to renew the new customer discount. My b-i-l told me about this and we’ve done it successfully for a few years now. It does mean that I have to call them every six months or so, but it usually only takes me about 15 minutes to save well over $40 dollars a month. (We only have internet.)

    It’s great, because we can save without having to sacrifice the quality of our package. We use Comcast, and my b-i-l uses Verizon, if that helps anyone.

  5. Sheryl says

    Would anyone chance to know if you can buy a very simple cell phone with no contract? Something you can just buy 300 minutes for (or some such number) and add on later when you’re running out. Thanks in advance!

    • says

      We have a very basic TracPhone with this type of plan since we don’t text and rarely use the cell phones for actual calls (we both have jobs where we’re rarely available during the day and when we are we have a landline readily available). People often wonder how we get by with “no cell phone” (meaning no “smart” phone) but honestly we’ve only bad two cases where it would have been handy – not necessary, just handy – to have had a smart phone in the last 4 years and I’ve never had a problem with people getting ahold of me if they need to.

      Lea

    • Maria H says

      Cheryl, I use Tracphone as well and the best deal I have found is: Shopcellphonedells on Ebay buying a new phone each year that triples the minutes and has wi-fi. In that package you also receive a year card of 400(1200) minutes. My new one just arrived today. The total package was $79.99 which is cheaper than the $99.99 refill card alone.

      I love being able to text my husband’s phone from my email account and not use of my minutes in messages. I am able to transfer my leftover minutes, days and number too.

    • Debbie says

      My hubs has service with Net10 which I believe is the same as TracFone. He paid $30 for his flip phone and pays $15 a month for 200 minutes. You can text but it costs minutes. No smart phone features. He said when this phone dies he is going to switch to Republic Wireless which is what I use. Also no contract. Phone was more expensive but they have cheaper options and their monthly plans for smart phones are the best I’ve seen. They have a $10 plan that works really well for most people, and includes unlimited talk and text on cell and unlimited talk, text, data on wifi (which most people are around all day). I myself use the $25 plan which is unlimited talk, text, data on cell and wifi. I need to be able to use internet when not on wifi, that is the only difference between the 2 plans. They also let you switch plans up to 2x per month, so if you are going to be traveling and want data on the road, you can switch for the time period you need it and then switch back to the $10 plan when you get back home. They also have a $20 discount for you and friend when friends sign up using you as a referral. I went a couple months without a phone bill as several friends signed up. I don’t think/know if I can put that link here so I won’t in case that violates anything.

      • Maria H says

        Debbie, that $10 plan sounds amazing if I didn’t have a home phone and I was a big talker or texter. We do, Straight Talk Wireless, because we still have children in the home. $22.41/mo for the first year and if the phone lasted beyond that and the deal stayed $10 even better. I pay $6.67/mo, phone included, but my text/talk is limited to 1200min/yr. I may share this with my husband because he currently uses StraightTalk for $40 month and it looks like the $25 Republic is the same. Thank you and I’ll try to remember about your referral.

        • Debbie Mahder says

          Glad I could help. I really like the built-in wifi calling. Republic is on the Sprint network and Verizon network when out of Sprint areas so I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than StraightTalk, but couple that with wifi and you have 3 avenues of coverage. I was on Virgin Mobile prior to Republic paying $35/mo for 300 minutes and unlimited text/data (well, throttled at some point) but it was ONLY Sprint network and coverage was so spotty and I could *never* make a clear call from within my own home. Now I pay less, have more (unlimited everything) have a better phone, and much better coverage.

          • Maria H says

            Thank you for the additional information! I saw Sprint, but not the Verizon. That was a total deterrent for my daughter. It looked appealing to me though, because our AT&T service doesn’t work in the county west to us.

            Tracphone also has T-Mobile, but that doesn’t work well in our hometown. :P StraightTalk’s Verizon does, but the two of us don’t need the $25/$40 service. I may consider Republic next year since I just purchased a year of service that came with an Android.

            If you’d like to email your referral code, I’d love that too. the saven maven at g mail.

    • Bryan says

      Virgin Mobile! If you’re adventurous; search eBay for a ‘grandfathered’ plan & phone, $25/mo for 300 min, ‘unlimited’ text & data (slows speeds at 2.5GB, which I never get near!)

      Or just straight up new plans are $35/mo. same 300min, limited txt & data, & I guess if you live is the right area 4G (I don’t have this). Smart phones, iphones, etc.

      Or if you don’t want a smart phone, use few min, get the paylo plan, something like $20/3mos builds in your ‘bank’ and calls are $.25/min

    • J in VA says

      We have no contract phones with Virgin Mobile. Google prepaid phones and check the coverage area where you live. Trac Fone worked well in our old city but less so where we live now so we switched to Virgin Mobile.

      I have a really old plan where I pay $10/2 months or $20/3 months if I haven’t used up my minutes and dh has a plan where he pays 5 cents a min. We could text but don’t and it is a “dumb phone” a flip phone (not a smart phone) but it makes calls and that is what we want.

  6. Wendy says

    For the most part, all of this is true, I work for one of the companies that, at some point, most everybody will call because they want to know how to lower their bill. I can honestly tell you, I love being able to save our customers money! Each time I get a call, I look to see # 1.how long the customer has been with us and #2. what plan they’re on because in my department, they usually aren’t calling about billing, but I do have the power to discuss billing with them and try to get them into a plan that will save them money. In many cases I’m able to save people anywhere from $50-$200 a month! Any good company and any good rep understands that if we aren’t money grubbing , we can keep our long time customers and those customers will in many cases refer others to us. I would rather have a lot of happy customers who are paying a fair price that they can easily afford than just a few unhappy ones who keep trying to pay a higher fee but in most cases cannot so they are consistently late with payments etc…
    The bottom line here is I know there are a few companies out there who you do have to threaten to go with someone else, but most you do not. If you simply call your company and explain to them that you need to lower your payment, they will do everything they can to help you lower it. There will always be cases where a person is already paying the rock bottom price so we can’t get their bill any lower, please understand, as reps, we do have protocols to follow and as much as we would love to be able to just give you free service, we can’t. My suggestion is this, most cable companies & cell carriers have their own web sites, use those before you call. Most of them have usage calculators to help you determine if downgrading your package is going to cause you to go over minutes/data usage or cut features out that you feel you must have. When it comes to data on cell phones, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, sure reducing that data limit to save 20 bucks might sound good right now, but when you’ve gone over your limit & been charged more than what you would have normally paid because they automatically give you more for the month, it doesn’t end up being worth it. Or cutting out certain channels on your cable, while you may think I don’t need those 25 home shopping channels, surely in that bundle of channels will be the 1 channel that you watch the most! So do your homework before you call us. It gives you more power when calling us and helps us get you the best deal that we can give to you.

  7. Jennifer says

    We are always sure to ask if their is a veteran’s discount. I know for sure verizon offers this. It’s only 10% but better than full price. Lots of stores offer these discounts also, usually covers the tax.

  8. Crissy Stout says

    I empathize with this post very much. My husband and I purchased on home in 2003, getting our 3/1 adjustable rate mortgage from a local credit union. Our credit union doesn’t participate in any of the government refinance programs, so I asked them what they could do for us since we had never walked away despite being under water. They informed me that I could “buy” a point to lock in a lower interest rate for 3 years. I also had them reevaluate our escrow account since we had found cheaper home owner’s insurance. Lastly, we just happened to have paid down our mortgage enough where we could drop our PMI. When everything was completed, we had lowered our mortgage $200 a month!!!

  9. Tami says

    “Politeness goes a long way.”

    Thank you for adding that comment! I work Customer Service for a small cable, internet and phone company and you would not believe the number of people who think they must call to scream, yell, threaten or verbally abuse the agent to get a discount.

    Honestly, all it takes is asking the agent to review your account to see where you can save some money. I am more tempted to do more for nice customers as the abusive ones I just want to get off the line. The old adage “you can draw more flies with honey than you can with vinegar” holds true. ;-) ;-) ;-)