Saving money

ON YOUR CABLE BILL

It's true, and its just the way it works.  As soon as your "special rate"expires, your bill will go up. Now, what you thought was costing you more than you could afford has become downright outrageous.  What to do?  Well, the good news is that you can do something! Call them and select the prompts for cancelling your service.  Don't worry, they won't just drop you.  You will end up talking to someone in their "retention" department.

Now before that, its worth doing your homework.  Visit the phone company's website and see how much a comparable package would cost from them (its a lot of trouble to switch - email addresses, slower internet, etc. - but they sweeten it with a prepaid charge card).  Visit the cable company's site and look for "shop/upgrade", "Bundles & Deals"  and the package you currently have.  Put in the address of an empty lot (like 2029 on our street).  This will give you a ballpark idea of the lowest the "retention specialist" is likely to go.  Look at whether a "downgrade" would work for you - what channels do you usually watch?

After you've got a good idea of what you want, make the call.  Now the "retention specialists" get paid on a commission basis - they don't want you to cancel service, but they don't want to give away too much or it dings them too.  So tell them you are considering downgrading or switching to u-verse because your bill is too high and see what they will offer.  They'll give you a special for 1 or 2 years.  You can always tell them that their offer is really close to what you can afford, and can they do any better?  Be nice, be patient, and be persistent for what you want.  Write down their name and what you agree on, in detail.  You should get an email confirming it in a day or two, so its good to make sure it matches.  

Usually it won't exactly, but what it says will be generally equivalent.  Like they told me they would back-date the change to the previous month, but they actually refunded the difference for the previous month the next month. Hey - they like to remind you who's in control, I guess.

And be expecting that high bill the next time your agreement is up.  Just rinse and repeat!

ON YOUR PHONE

If you're really a glutton for punishment, you might try this with your wireless service as well.  Costs have been trending downward for quite sometime, and your "legacy" plan isn't necessarily a good deal any more.

And did you know that if you use your "home phone" only to receive messages, it could cost you $36 for the whole year from T-mobile?  After all, it's just a "pay as you go" wireless with say 30 minutes/messages a month.  If you listen to those messages from another cell and don't make calls on it, you never use any minutes.  Use one of your old cells, or if you like, you can buy a Wireless Quad Band GSM Desk Phone on ebay for under $60.