The world is in a debt crisis. Governments are bailing out the banks. But, there is no one to bail us out. So we have to cut our debts. And as I found out this week, it is possible to cut many of your blogging, office and home bills by up to 55% with as much as a phone call.
I even got a new iPhone!
In this post I am going to show you what I did this week to cut many of my home [office] bills with just a few hours work.
After that, I’d like to see as many comments as you can muster with all your debt and expense reduction tips and tactics.
They all have to be legitimate and totally legal.
If you know someone in a tricky financial situation please forward this post to them. I’d like to accumulate as much expense-reduction knowledge as possible for anyone out there who is struggling.
Why am I writing about this?
I work from home and so constantly get knocks on the door from different electricity providers trying to sell me cheaper deals. After changing providers for the third time I realized that there was something interesting going on here – almost like a silent bidding war between the different companies.
If you work for yourself you’ll know how much I hate paying bills. Electricity, blog hosting, gas, water, phone and internet rental… it all just hurts. Sure, I use it to generate a nice income and a good lifestyle but the problem is that, for a lot of them, I was paying more than I needed to.
A financial disclaimer
I am writing this post just as information. I am most definitely not a financial adviser and you might not be able to reduce your bills at all. I am simply showing you what worked for me in the hope that you might be able to do something similar for your situation.
How to cut your bills
So, as mentioned, I had changed electricity providers a bunch of times. As I was sitting on my porch with the sales guy, signing my life away, I asked him how much money I was making him in commission by giving him my electricity account. He told me it was around $50.
“You’re making me than me from this deal,” I joked.
“Actually, sir, just ring up your old company and tell them you are changing and that if they can offer you a better deal you might consider staying,” he replied.
Very interesting Kumar. Very interesting indeed.
So, I got on the phone to my electricity provider and told them that I had just been given a better deal and was going to change. Instantly I was transferred to a customer care officer who proceeded to cut my rate and offer a monthly discount of 8% if I considered staying.
Funnily enough there was no time on hold. Turns out they actually do want your business.
What next Tyrant?
Call my naive, maybe you have already thought about this, but this caused me to realize that most service providers have room to move with the rates they charge you. Its not a fixed price.
And after cutting my electricity bill I decided it was time to put my years of holidaying in India to the test and start haggling with the others. Here were some of the results:
- Electricity bill
Reduced energy rate and an 8% discount on each bill.
- Internet Service Provider
Cut bill from $59 a month to $29 a month with similar perks
- Mobile Phone
I got a new iPhone, all of my text messages for free and a reduction in my call rates. This was a good one! UPDATE: Chris Garrett just mentioned on Twitter that you should make sure you actually need a new iPhone first!
The thing you have to realize is that all of these companies have this all planned out. Its not like you are doing something new; they offer incentives to people all the time because they work in a very competitive environment and really want your business.
I imagine they have a screen in front of them that reads something like this:
Stage 1: Client voices a concern
Solution: Apologize and help them rectify issue
Stage 2: Client threatens to leave
Solution: Offer them a small discount and tell them its because they have a good, loyal history
Stage 3: Client still not happy
Solution: Give them an iPhone and/or reduction text messages depending on grievance
All I did was ring up these companies and say that I was thinking about leaving because I had found some better deals. And it was true. I was not lying. With just a few minutes prodding around I found that there were much better deals out there.
Tips for getting better results
I don’t advocate lying to get better deals; I don’t really think that is ethical. But there are some things you can do to increase your chances of success.
- Have a point of concern
Don’t ring up and demand a discount unless you have a reason. For me, the phone company was giving me terrible coverage and the electricity company was too expensive not to change.
- Be polite
Always use your manners and don’t have an entitled attitude. The guy on the phone doesn’t care either way, he’ll be more likely to give you a discount if he likes you.
- Remind them of your history
Giving something first is a good idea. Remind them that you have been a loyal customer for X period of time and always paid your bills by the due date.
As mentioned, I am not a financial adviser and all of this was just stuff that worked for me. I never lied to any of companies that I dealt with, I just informed them that I was thinking of taking my business elsewhere because I was unsatisfied with an aspect of their service.
Have you done anything like this?
I would really like to know if you have been able to cut your bills or debts or expenses by doing anything similar. Please leave me a comment and let me know. And as mentioned, if you know anyone struggling financially please forward this post on to them as it might help them catch a small break.