Many people are interested in lowering their monthly bills, but it often gets relegated to a to-do list. The reasons for hesitating to try to lower bills range from not knowing how to not wanting to hassle with paperwork and sitting on hold. However, you can actually make many changes with little or no hassles. I was surprised at how simple some of the changes actually were.
One simple change is to check websites for comparing local services. Because of deregulation in many areas you will have a choice of gas and electric providers. If you can’t find the information online for your location, you can simply call your current provider and they can give you information about other service providers. Making the call can actually get you a better deal from your current provider. If they think you are going to switch they may give you a better offer while you are on the line with them. Still call the other provider to see which works better for you though. Actually switching services can be done on the phone or by mail. You may need your signature on a form before the switch will take place. This varies by location and company.
To cut your phone bill there are several options. Many smaller providers are popping up around the country. They often have competitive offers and great customer service to woo you away from the bigger providers. I got a referral bonus from my new provider when a friend switched over to the service as well.
Voice over IP is another option. The cost for this service is lower compared to regular landlines, but if you lose power or your cable/DSL connection you’ll be left without phone service.
Cell phones with unlimited long distance are a bargain if you use lots of long distance. If you still want a land line you can opt to not have a long distance provider, saving yourself the monthly fees that are charged for the service.
If you have credit cards and the interest rate is higher than you’d like, it is possible to get it lowered. Simply call the customer service department for each of your cards and ask them to lower your rate. Many times they are more than willing to do this for you. If they say they can’t tell them that you might be interested in consolidating all your cards to one account and they may make you an offer to lower your rate or offer a new card with a lower rate if you are interested in transferring some debt from other cards. Many times you’ll get a grace period of a low rate on a new card, sometimes as low as 0%.
If your card already has a decent rate or the going rate for most cards your company isn’t likely to lower your rate further. Still, it only takes a phone call to find out.
If you have student loans to repay, there are many reputable consolidation loan companies or loans available through regular banks. If you aren’t interested in refinancing, you can still get a discount on certain government loans by having your payment automatically withdrawn from your bank account. Log onto the government website listed on your bill and you can lower your interest by .25%.
I’ve utilized all of the methods that I highlighted above. As a result: my phone bill is roughly $10 lower per month, and I received a $10 credit on my bill when I had a friend that switched and used me as her referral; my natural gas rate is several cents lower per unit; my credit card interest rates are several percentage points lower, my student loan rate is a quarter of a point lower, and I didn’t spend that much time researching and switching services.