(FinancialHealth.net) – Looking for ways to lower your monthly budget? While your cable, internet, and phone bills may seem static, these three utilities are often considerably easier to adjust in price than, say, power or gas. In fact, providers will often be happy to help you find a more appropriate pricing plan; all you have to do is reach out and ask.
Cable and Internet Services
Cable and internet bills tend to rise year after year; they rope you in at “introductory rates” and then increase your bill later. Start by calling customer service to explain you can no longer afford the current plan and must cancel or try to find a lower cost plan with another provider.
If they question whether you really intend to cancel, hold firm – even if you aren’t yet certain that’s your best step. The more they believe your intent to cancel, the more likely they are to find a way to work with you.
Then, ask if they have any lower cost plans to consider before you walk away. It can help to do a little shopping with other competitors beforehand. Not only will this let you know where your options lie, but you’ll also be able to ask them to price match or beat their competitors on the call.
If you don’t get anywhere with customer service, ask to speak with retention. Cable and internet companies have customer retention departments with representatives that are empowered to offer huge savings: new plans, discounts, free upgrades, and even, sometimes, a credit on your bill. These savings are almost never publicly advertised.
- Bundling services like phone, internet, and cable together (as they apply to your household needs).
- Taking advantage of a trial period of introductory offer with a new company.
- Using your own modem and router equipment instead of what the service provider sells or rents.Whether or not they offer, or you qualify for, a low-income subsidy.
- Customer loyalty programs and cheaper rates for long-standing customers.
- Downgrading your high speed internet to a lower speed.
- Cutting your cable service and using your internet to stream movies and television stations via free and low-cost apps.
Cell Phone Service
Cell phone plans vary greatly in price between providers, stores, and even, in some cases, devices. If you feel like you’re paying too much, it may be helpful to compare carriers and what they have to offer.
Start by calling your cell phone provider on the phone. Let them know you aren’t happy with the price (or even that you are struggling to afford it). Cell phone representatives have a significant amount of power to adjust pricing, but if you find they stonewall, you can ask to speak to retention here, too. Use the same process described in the previous section to request a price reduction or loyalty credit.
Phone upgrades or offers for a free phone with a new plan can be an excellent way to get into a good deal. However, you do need to be mindful that new purchases or investments in services aren’t always the right approach. As with any sale, only buy if you truly need it.
- Cutting extra services you might not need, including device insurance. This is especially important if your phone is older or out of contract.
- Excessive data usage can be decreased when you use your wifi rather than pay overages. Learn how to switch your phone to Wi-Fi only mode.
- Using prepaid phones and services. This can help prevent overages and may save your money if you’re on a limited income.
- Games and applications that slow down your speed, use your data and cost extra or may have been added on your bill without your knowledge. Ask customer service to help you remove these if you have trouble.
Whatever device plan or utility you’re struggling with, there are options to reduce your costs – often in as little as a single phone call. Don’t feel bad about speaking up and requesting a better contract. It isn’t rude; it just makes you a wise shopper.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health!
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