There is a little-known secret to saving money on almost anything. If you want to know what it is, please send a case of beer and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to my house.
In that case, I will share the secret that has been passed down from father to son since the Mesopotamians landed the Santa Maria at Plymouth Rock.
The secret is to…ask.
That’s right, just suck it up and say “Pretty Please”.
How does it work?
In the easiest version, you call up one of the companies you pay regularly and you say “How can I save some money?”
Allow me to give you some examples.
How to save money on insurance
Call up your insurance company and ask, “How can I save some money with you?” You may be offered a multi-line discount if you let them insure your home and your car or you might be told to raise your deductible. If you have a $1000 emergency fund, you can afford a $500 deductible. They may recommend that you drop some coverages that you don’t need or they may ask you some questions that will allow them to lower your rate. For many years, I lived 2 miles from work and got a discount for the low mileage.
How to save money on utilities
When you call your electric company to ask the magic question, they may offer to conduct a home energy audit to determine where you home is leaking energy. If they try to charge you for the audit, remind them how long you’ve been a customer in good standing.
Another option they may offer is to install a remotely-triggered switch on your air-conditioner. Around here, that switch is good for a 15% discount off of my bill in the summer.
How to save money on your cell phone
If you are out of a contract or near the end of your contract you have leverage. Look up the best comparable deal from another company. Then, call your cell phone provider, ask to be transferred to the retention department, then ask them to convince you to stay. They will.
If you aren’t near the end of your contract, you can still call and ask. If that doesn’t work, watch the mail and any emails from the company. If they change the terms of your contract, you can get out of it without paying a penalty. If you get that opportunity, call and ask for the retention department.
How to save money on credit cards
I am assuming you have a credit card with a balance that gets carried from month to month.
Credit card companies are competitive. Find a competing deal and call your company. Ask them to beat the deal. If the competitor is offering 9%, ask for 8%. If they refuse, call up the competitor. Tell them you will transfer your balance over if they will waive the transfer fee. A surprising number of companies will be happy to do so.
Most bills can be reduced in some way. All you have to do is ask.
Have you had any luck pointing the shrink ray at your bills?