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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just *one* idea.....

Yesterday I went about one of my usual *chores* of trying to make sure our family gets the very best value for services we use in our home.  One overpriced drain on our family budget is our cable bill, which is also bundled to digital video recorders in the home, high-speed Internet, and telephone service.  Our Internet service provider sends us bills about twice a year raising their rates and I've always called and been very insistent about reducing the bill.  With the latest notice of increase, enough was enough, but we didn't really have good alternative options if we were to keep the same services, some of which we need for DH's business.  It's almost as if they had a monopoly in our area and it was very, very frustrating to say the least!

I called yet again yesterday, first speaking to Customer Service, then to a supervisor, and then to their "Loyalty Department."  After much polite but very, very assertive haggling, I was offered 10% off our services for 3 months.  No go!  I was furious they didn't offer this at the get-go and thought it was an insult because it barely covered the cost of next month's increase in price!  I told them we were simply going to have to look elsewhere for a collection of those services and the supervisor said she would call me back.

When she called me back she offered me $50 off our services each month for the next 6 months, plus I also dropped an unnecessary premium movie channel for an additional savings of almost $14.00 a month.  So, although not ideal and certainly not a permanent decrease, I did manage to save us nearly $400 over the span of the next 6 months.  Not bad for a half-hour's work on the phone.....although it wasn't easy! 

I'm on a roll  :eek:
 

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Wow! You go girl! I would want you to negotiate my contract if I were a big time writer or athlete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm always very polite, but there's a fine line to play because if I'm too sugary-sweet they take me for a fool. Although I realize the CSRs and even the high supervisors don't set the rates, you need to be very assertive to the point of saying you're going elsewhere.

Their first attempts to reduce my monthly bill and offset the price increase was to eliminate some of my services; I quickly replied with a stern "no" to that and repeated that I had not called to eliminate services but to reduce the overpriced bill! When I was eventually put through to the Loyalty Department (where they send all people who have probably already discontinued their services), I even argued the point of who was being "loyal" to who (whom?) ...... we'd been loyal for many years and what were we getting in return? The same overpriced services, "bundle discounts" that are nothing but marketing ploys, and twice-a-year increases. I remember asking why they even had a Loyalty Department ???

Now I'll follow up with them again in almost 6 months to do the same thing, in the meantime exploring all other options for obtaining the same services through separate providers at permanently lower prices.
 

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I love saving money like that but I am terrible at haggling or trying to get a bargain. That said, I was at LL Bean on Saturday and found a sweater I wanted to buy. It looked like the very last one of this style and color in the whole store and amazingly, it was in my size! No tag with a price and it was missing a button although the spare button was in the little plastic bag on on the label. A salesperson on the floor said it was $49.95 on sale. At the cash register they said it was $45.95 on sale and then I, being very very bold said I should get an extra discount for the missing button...they took another $5 off and then rounded it down to $40 to make it even. Regular price was $80 so now I am down to half price, but here's the kicker...I had $20 in LL Bean's bucks from Christmas shopping, so I ended up paying $20! I was thrilled.

You can bet I will be wearing that sweater until it is in shreds.

L
 

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I have a close friend who's daughter came up with a brilliant idea. She is the queen of coupon clipping. She keeps track of every penny she saves using coupons. Then she puts that amount aside. When she reaches $50.00 she buys a $100.00 bond for her son. At 6 months old he now has $800.00 in savings bonds. So now I'm doing the same thing only I'm selfish  ;D I'm using my savings for book money. If only I could find a way to double my money LOL it would be perfect.
 

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libro said:
Just *one* idea.....

Yesterday I went about one of my usual *chores* of trying to make sure our family gets the very best value for services we use in our home. One overpriced drain on our family budget is our cable bill, which is also bundled to digital video recorders in the home, high-speed Internet, and telephone service. Our Internet service provider sends us bills about twice a year raising their rates and I've always called and been very insistent about reducing the bill. With the latest notice of increase, enough was enough, but we didn't really have good alternative options if we were to keep the same services, some of which we need for DH's business. It's almost as if they had a monopoly in our area and it was very, very frustrating to say the least!

I called yet again yesterday, first speaking to Customer Service, then to a supervisor, and then to their "Loyalty Department." After much polite but very, very assertive haggling, I was offered 10% off our services for 3 months. No go! I was furious they didn't offer this at the get-go and thought it was an insult because it barely covered the cost of next month's increase in price! I told them we were simply going to have to look elsewhere for a collection of those services and the supervisor said she would call me back.

When she called me back she offered me $50 off our services each month for the next 6 months, plus I also dropped an unnecessary premium movie channel for an additional savings of almost $14.00 a month. So, although not ideal and certainly not a permanent decrease, I did manage to save us nearly $400 over the span of the next 6 months. Not bad for a half-hour's work on the phone.....although it wasn't easy!

I'm on a roll :eek:
When our local telephone company made the switch to fiber optics a few weeks ago, I began to investigate their cable and internet services and found that for $10.00 less than our current cable company (Charter), I could get pretty much the same TV channels and the cost would also include our telephone service. We decided to make the switch and have not looked back. When I called the cable service to cancel our subscription, their first question was "Can we offer you the same package at a lower cost?". I said no. If they had offered the lower price in the first place, I wouldn't have looked at the other carrier.
 

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Arrgghh, darn cable/satellite companies.

A couple of years ago we got a new HD TV.  We called Dish, our service provider at the time, to upgrade our service.  They would give us none of the deals they give to new customers because we weren't new customers even though we were upgrading.  I asked to speak to supervisors, managers, etc.  No one could help us.  We would have to pay full price!

We switched to DirectTV and we didn't want to.  We liked Dish, had been with them for 11 years, knew where the channels were, etc.  But there was no way we were paying full price.  With DirectTV we got a better product (their DVR is much better than Dish's IMO) at about half the price.  So it ended up working out for us.

About two weeks after we switched, Dish called begging us to switch back offering free this and discounted that.  Where were they when we were trying to stay with them?  Grrrr...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Another way to save money (for Kindle books) is to negotiate on any non-Kindle magazine subscriptions you have.  I've subscribed to a ton of magazines for years and it's the most loyal customers who get offered the highest-priced renewals!  It's amazing how cheap I've negotiated my subscriptions to in recent years. 
 

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Dealing with cable and phone companies is very difficult.  I hit the roof two years ago with both companies.  My daughter had been employed with the cable co, they sold to another company and of course down-sized and my daughter lost her job.  It burned me up.  I switched to the only other cable service in this area.  Of course the old company called, and I got to "vent".  That and the fact that the new cable service was $10 cheaper per month were my only consolation.

At the same time my husband I were moving to a new home.  I had made phone arrangements 3 months, that's right t-h-r-e-e months in advance.  The day after we moved I called the phone company only to learn that they had lost the order and it would be another month. . .!  The phone company refused to cooperate, even though I was unfailingly kind.  That did it.  I contacted our state's Public Utilities Commission.  They wrote a letter to the phone company.  The phone company paid for a month's service for our separate cell phones, plus they gave me a $200 credit off our phone bill (when it was finally installed).  I kept their service for 6 months and changed carriers.

And by the way, what about these cell phone companies????  We were paying through the nose and never used the minmum monthly minutes.  I did some calculations and found out that plain ole cheap Tracfones were much more cost effective for our lifestyle.  It all depends on how much you use your cell phone.
 

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libro,
I am sooo glad I read your post this morning.  For some reason I have not been receiving hard copies of my bundled cable/phone/internet bill for a couple of months.  It came at the beginning of the week and the amount had increased by about 30.00 per month.  I have left it lay on my table all week wondering if I really want to spend the time trying to sort this out.  I will today.  Thanks for the information.
debbie
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tippy -- Great moves on your part and congrats on your call to your state's Public Utilities Commission. In our area, one provider has a major monopoly if you want digital service and high-speed Internet. How this stands under the anti-trust laws is beyond me.

Drenee -- I'm glad you saw my post and it reminded you to check your bill. I was encouraged when I saw Jim Kramer (the Mad Money host) on TV saying NOW is the time to "haggle" pricing on everything (not that I needed his encouragement to haggle my cable bill!). These companies need *our* money and we need to do everything we can to demonstrate to them we will not pay these exorbitant rates. p.s. Don't be surprised if your cable company tries to get you to eliminate services to reduce your bill. I quickly pointed out to them I wanted the very same services or more at a greatly reduced price. Good luck!
 

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Congrats on the savings!  I've tried and they just tell me to go elsewhere. That's because they know I have no other place to go to get service  :mad:  I get so tired of hearing how this or that is a monopoly when they really aren't and yet my cable company is because it's the only service choice i have ;(. 

Luckily I have different choices for phone and internet and those services have been pretty decent.

theresam

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A couple years ago I surprised my family with a long weekend away with "savings" derived from transferring money from our checking to a savings account every time we elected to stay in and eat at home instead of splurging at a restaurant.  When we decided to stay in, I'd say "ching, ching" and put the approximate dollar amount we saved away for another time and place.  I started doing that not only with restaurants but other things as well.  When I told my husband I had "saved" the money, he was astounded.  He's come to love my cooking and cost-cutting ever since  :D

Now I suspect my "savings" may go toward Kindle books, although I'll try my hardest not to 1-Click. 
 

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What a great idea Libro. Now I just need to learn how to cook. I mean cook so that it's edible LOL.  :eek:

theresam
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
theresam -- Don't worry about learning to cook.  My husband doesn't loving my cooking, he loves the cook....and saving money!  Most of the time he loves to BBQ outside, so he does that well and I cook a side dish or salad and add some Italian bread from the store.  And don't forget....a good bottle of wine and candles help tremendously.
 

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libro said:
theresam -- Don't worry about learning to cook. My husband doesn't loving my cooking, he loves the cook....and saving money! And don't forget....a good bottle of wine and candles help tremendously.
LOL Libro, Maybe with a good bottle of wine and candles I won't taste or see the food! Guess I should have said it was just me and soon to be adopted little girl, seems the man of my dreams must have taken a wrong turn at the turn pike and gotten lost because I'm 40 and he's still no where to be seen! :D :eek:

But I do love BBQ it's soo much easier and I can't mess it up as bad. Pork chops are my fav next to steak! Which is much cheaper at home then eating out.

Theresam
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
bkworm8it said:
...... seems the man of my dreams must have taken a wrong turn at the turn pike and gotten lost :D :eek:
Theresam
Men always get lost, especially at turnpikes. Maybe that's a good place for single women to hang out....if they're in the market. Hang out at the turnpike with a local map, but don't say a word about directions.....

Seriously, congratulations on your soon to be adopted little girl! What FANTASTIC news! There's a great book called The Wonder of Girls, but I doubt you'll need to read it. I have it on my bookshelf, but was too busy enjoying my girls to ever read it :)
 

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Thanks Libro.

Turnpike maybe safer than the bar and I can make sure the map only has directions to my house!!

I'll check out the book and see if it's something I want to read. I think I have a month or two before actual placement so i'm trying to prepare myself but i know there really isn't such thing as being prepared becuase humans just don't always act the way the books says the should!  ;D

theresam
 

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I feel your pain.  We've called our cable company a few times about raising prices, and have gotten discounts.  We were so tired of complaining and having to fight for a decent price...we just changed to Verizon Fios.  Its being installed tomorrow and is saving us $50 a month :)  Plus we are getting more DVR boxes with the deal...crossing fingers its better than the cable company we were with.
 
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