I remember that scorching hot July like it was yesterday. Money was tight, and the measly income I was bringing in barely covered the cost of part-time childcare. There were only two options to get over the hump: quit my job and desperately hope that a better opportunity surfaced, or find ways to make my money stretch.
So, out of sheer desperation, I scrutinized every dime leaving my bank account and started making phone calls to see what could be done.
Here’s who I called:
1. Cable provider
My cable bill was much higher than usual, so instead of sucking it up and forking over the cash, I picked up the phone. To my surprise, my toddler had added a set of premium channels, which triggered an automatic plan upgrade in the system. I’d also forgotten to cancel DVR service once the promotional period lapsed. Fortunately, the customer service representative was very understanding, and I was able to reduce my bill by $45.
Total monthly savings: $45
2. Utility provider
Next up were my utility bills. I was accustomed to paying well over $100 for electricity and water in such a small space, and I didn’t think twice about it. That is, until I received a flyer that recommended an energy audit to identify problematic areas in the home and potentially reduce costs. Of course, I scheduled a water consumption and energy audit right away, made the recommended adjustments, and saved our household a decent amount of cash in subsequent months.
Total monthly savings: $60
3. Cell phone provider
At the time, smartphones were beginning to surface — and I had to get my hands on one. (Now, I just need a functional device for talking and texting.) But with the new smartphones came data plans. Expensive ones. I called my cell phone provider to drastically reduce my plan until the contract lapsed, when I would switch over to a more affordable carrier with unlimited data.
Total monthly savings: $50
4. Car insurance provider
The most beneficial call was to my car insurance provider. My family’s been doing business with this particular agent for many years, so when I explained I was in dire straits and needed to cut costs, he immediately examined my plan and searched for discounts that hadn’t been applied. Long story short: I ended up with safe driver, bundle, multi-vehicle, and customer loyalty discounts. Raising my deductible by $250 also worked wonders. Not bad for a five-minute phone call!
Total monthly savings: $100
We all deserve a little pampering, but only if the bank account permits it. Well, in my case, funds were low and paying for a service I never used was pointless. So I cancelled the contract and pocketed the cash.
Total monthly savings: $45
To get my spending on track, I’d been trying to use the envelope system — but it wasn’t working out so well. That’s when I called the bank and set strict transaction limits on my debit card. Any time I exceeded the limit for a single purchase or an entire day, the system would promptly issue a denial, and I’d think twice about what I was attempting to buy.
Total monthly savings: $200
Though that was an extremely difficult time in my life, I learned how to make the most of what I had and only spend money on things that were beneficial to my family’s well-being.
Have you called any of these companies recently? Or, do you have any other recommendations for money-saving phone calls?
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