Five calls you can make now to save hundreds to thousands of dollars
In the current economic climate, everyone is trying to save a buck. I know some families that have budgets so tight that there is no room for saving, but I think it is possible for most of us to cut our expenses by negotiating with the vendors we deal with everyday. For example, here are five places anyone could call right now to possibly save hundreds to thousands of dollars.
1. Your car insurance - Your car insurer is usually open to negotiating your insurance rates. You should definitely call your insurer if you got married recently, moved to a profession considered to be "safe" by the insurance companies, or if you moved closer to work. These lifestyle changes could potentially lower your rates by hundreds of dollars if you are a young driver. Besides reporting these changes, you could also shop around for cheaper quotes and see if your current insurance company is willing to keep your business for a lower rate.
2. Your homeowner's insurance - If you do have a homeowner's insurance policy, it is possible to raise your deductible for a lower rate or just shop around for a lower quote. Some insurance companies are willing to match a competitor's quote to keep a customer.
3. Your credit card company - If you carry a balance on your credit cards, it does not hurt to call and ask for a rate reduction. Your credit card issuers are happy to charge you the highest rate they could squeeze out of you, but a simple phone call to request a lower rate could save you a bundle in interest payments. A national survey conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in March 2002 showed that more than half of 50 consumers who called their credit card issuers for lower rates received a reduction , and their average interest rates went from 16 percent to 10.47 percent. This represents an average discount of more than 30% on interest payments and that would help anyone get out of debt faster.
4. Cancel cable or subscription TV - I still have cable tv because it is included in the condo we rent, but I rarely watch it because so many network and cable shows are legally online at websites like Hulu.com or station specific websites such as CBS.com or SciFi.com. Sure, these websites do not have every single episode of every single show on TV, but there are enough hours of entertainment to keep anyone quite busy. Basic cable costs around $40 a month, so cancelling it amounts to $480 a year. If you cannot live without your shows, then just remember that $480 is enough to purchase the full season DVDs of about 8 to 10 shows a year. So if you are a fan of just a few shows, then it may be cheaper to buy them on DVD.
5. Your cellphone company - First, you should evaluate if you need all the minutes and features in your plan. If you use only a small portion of your allowed minutes, then it is probably wise to downgrade. It is also helpful to shop around and see if your plan is more expensive than competing plans. If so, ask if your phone company will be willing to match the rate of another plan.
The bottom line is that it never hurts to ask because the worst thing that could happen is that these companies refuse your request. However in the current market, companies do not want to lose customers so chances are they will be willing to negotiate. If you do not deal with any of these companies, then I encourage you to think of the various services you use on a monthly basis and see where you could cut back or get a better deal. It could take you a couple hours to speak to all of these folks in your life, but you may be able to trim your spending by thousands of dollars a year.