You may not be able to do much about the rent being too damn high (cliché, yes, but I couldn’t resist a Jimmy McMillan reference), but you can do something about the cost of your cell phone, cable and Internet service. I recently had a problem with my phone. I have T-Mobile‘s HotSpot @Home, which for $10 allows you unlimited calls, texts, etc., through your Wi-Fi or any Wi-Fi connection (Starbucks included; I got it because I have no reception in my apartment). But for some reason my phone wasn’t connecting properly and I ended up going over my minutes. When I called, T-Mobile agreed to wipe out the overage and give me an extra 200 anytime minutes for the remainder of the billing cycle. But when I checked my statement the following week, I found the charges were still there. I called back and, to my surprise, T-Mobile offered me a new plan: unlimited everything for about $3 less than what I was currently paying. It even included the HotSpot service. Plus, the representative backdated it to include the last billing cycling, so I ended up saving on my last bill! (Disclaimer: You must agree to a new two-year contract.)
That’s only my first anecdote: I recently had to downgrade my cable plan. And, to my surprise, a basic package for one television with DVR plus Internet was about $120, including tax. And I didn’t even get OWN (I’m embarrassed to say that I’m loving Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals–guilty pleasure), among other channels I enjoy. So–you guessed it–I called. I asked the representative why it was so expensive. After all, if I were a new customer
I could get the $99 “Triple Play” that included phone service for an initial period (and that is one way to go). However, I didn’t get an answer. So, I threatened
to cancel and switch to
FiOS. (If you live in an
area with FiOS, your cable provider does not want
to hear that.) Well, they
said they’d transfer me to a “retention specialist.” Bottom line: When you call, just ask for a representative and ask them to transfer you to a retention specialist. Tell them what you want and what you’re willing to pay for it. They will bend over backwards to make it happen. That specialist upgraded my Internet speed, upgraded my plan to include the higher tier of channels and added three months of free DVR service. He even backdated it. Now I’m paying less than I was before. Plus, he told me to call back in a few months to ask if there are any other promotions.
So, if simply calling and asking doesn’t work, just threaten to switch providers. I even got a free phone upgrade in August using that method.
If you have a money-saving suggestion, Tweet me @SamiLiebman.