The average American household is $137,063 in debt, according to the Federal Reserve. Factored into such a huge number are student loans, mortgages, and credit card bills. To help stave off costs, many Americans are trying to think outside of the box and leverage their dollars as best as they can. Platforms like The1HourWorkWeek.com allows users to get cash back on thousands of retail products they’re already buying; credit and debit cards are partnering with businesses to offer monetary rewards to their customers; and mobile apps are making it easier than ever for consumers to digitally coupon clip.
While technology is on our side, there are still some proactive things people can do to save money. And often, all it takes is a simple phone call to a few customer service departments. In a debt-ridden economy, there are three areas in particular that could likely benefit from some cost trimming: your auto insurance, phone bill, and cable bill. Here’s how you can get on the phone to lower these three bills:
Cell Phone Bill
Your cell phone is a product you’re most likely not willing to compromise losing. Getting rid of a few cable channels is one thing, but your cell phone is here to stay. After all, you can’t risk being unable to communicate with your family, friends, and colleagues. Unfortunately, the cell phone industry is known for being riddled with hidden fees.
First and foremost, consider getting on a family share plan. And keep in mind that you can get on a family share plan without being “family”: you can opt to get on a family plan with a few friends, for example. To save money on cell phone on data usage, you should try and operate your phone over WiFi as much as possible. Furthermore, go into your settings and check out your data usage to see which applications are pulling the most data.
If you’ve exhausted all your options, it could be time to make the phone call. You can leverage your chances of scoring a lower phone bill deal if you’re near the end of your contract. It’s a well known fact in the business world that acquiring new customers is significantly more expensive than retaining current customers, which is the primary reason why cell phone companies try to do as much as they can to keep you.
Before you get on the phone with your cell phone provider, do your research. Determine what it would cost you to switch over to their competitors. If you would incur a cancellation fee for leaving your provider early, be sure to determine whether you’d still save money considering. Relay all this to the customer service/cancellation department. Lastly, consider opting for a no-contract plan if you aren’t satisfied with your options.
According to the Leichtman Research Group, the average cable bill is $107 per month. Today, households are using various platforms for entertainment. Not only are they paying for cable, but they’re also paying for other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Before you even make the phone call to trim your cable bill, think about how often you use it and whether you need it at all.
By analyzing your current usage, you can make smart decisions about how to save. The Nielsen Group found that, although the majority of people have 200 channels on their package, they’re only using 20 on average. If you’re not using certain features, like DVR, or if you have unused cable boxed, you can eliminate them to save money.
With one phone call, you may be able to cut some costs from your auto insurance. Although there are plenty of insurance cost cutters out there, many people aren’t aware of them. To begin with, if you have multiple people on your insurance policy, you should be able to negotiate a decent bundle deal. Some insurance companies even give you discounted rates if you have teens on your insurance policy that have high grade point averages.
If you have a clean driving record and a good history with the company, they may also be willing to work with you. Some companies offer discounts to drivers who take defensive driving classes. Call your insurance company and be transparent about your mission. Let them know you’re on a tight budget and are looking for ways to cut costs.
For example, some companies will cut you some slack if you add anti-theft technology to your vehicle, or if you add Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Other companies will lower your costs if you’ve improved your credit card rating. Be sure to get all your available options while on the phone.