September 16, 2009

I saved $200 with one phone call

The title of this post sounds a bit like a late night TV ad. Can you imagine it, with the huckster voice? But it's true, I really DID save $200 with one phone call. $201, to be precise. Here's the story...

When we received our home insurance bill this year, I put it aside because it seemed high to me at $984 for the year. When I looked up what we had paid last year, it was $864, or $120 less. So I called the agent and left a message. He called me back almost immediately and I asked him why our bill was so much higher this year. (Yes, all these numbers are high. We live in Southern California!)

He told me he'd look over our paperwork and get right back to me, probably later that afternoon. I said that would be great, and that my husband and I had spent a lot of time researching insurance companies and that we couldn't afford random rate hikes (that was the gist of it).

The agent called me back a few hours later and told me that they were cancelling our old policy, and issuing a new policy that would be virtually the same with a few added benefits, and that it would cost $783 for the year. That's $81 less than we paid last year, and $201 less than they originally billed us this year.

Imagine if I hadn't noticed and had just paid that bill. Remember, you can always review all your accounts and ask if you've got the best price. That's particularly true for phone and cable bills. A lot of people have essentially more service than they need, and they're paying for it.

Lesson learned: it doesn't hurt to ask. Please tell us about the deals you've gotten just by asking in the Comments section. We all love to hear a good story about saving money.


Krista said...

What a great deal! I our cable/phone bill down by about $30 a month when I called and told them I couldn't afford the current bill. It wasn't a ton, but adds up to $360 a year!

WilliamB said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It's amazing what you can get, just by noticing and then asking politely.

YearofBooks said...

Our church secretary called the phone company and saved the church $20 a month, with virtually no change in our service. It is amazing that simply asking can make such a difference.

Betsy Talbot said...

Good for you, Angela!

When we canceled our cable earlier this summer the company told us that we would lose the bundle rate for our internet service and it would go from $45 to $60/mo.

I followed the exact script that Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to be Rich uses to negotiate things like this and it worked! Not only did they not raise my rate, they gave me a discount for six months to $30/month to keep me as a customer!

It really does pay to negotiate and ask. We've done this with all kinds of fees and terms with everything from banking to utilities. It doesn't work 100% of the time, but it works often enough.

Check out Ramit's blog at to see some of his sample scripts. Lots of good info for free, and most of his tips give you savings in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per year (no nickel and dime savings here!).

Rebecca said...

It's so true that if we just get motivated and make a call, great things can happen!

Here are a few of my experiences in this arena:

Angela said...

Krista- Good job, it all adds up! And $30 a month can mean a lot: 2 or 3 lunches with friends, just for starters...

William B- Yes, I've always found that being polite works best. Then people actually want to help you.

Year of Books- Yay for the church secretary! Thanks for sharing.

Betsy- Thanks for the tip- I'll check it out.

Rebecca- Thanks for commenting and I'm going to visit your site now!