I worked really hard last year to cut our costs when I started this quest to be debt free. I actually did pretty well. We cancelled cable. We cancelled house cleaners. We got rid of a car. We reduced our insurance. We created a budget that we follow fairly well.
Still, there has to be more to cut, right? Well, there was. We decided that two cell phones and a home phone was too much, so we cancelled Vonage. Savings? About $33 per month. I also called my internet company. Cutting internet isn’t an option, it’s required for my job and they reimburse me for it. You’d think this might make me less motivated to reduce my bill. In fact, no! I still want a lower bill. We were paying $73.25, which seemed insanely high to me. Part of the reason this bill is high is that we’re not bundling any other services with it. Standalone services just cost more these days. There’s also no competition in town, so it’s hard to pit companies against each other. I wasn’t too confident, but I called anyway and was pleasantly surprised. I told them I wanted to reduce my bill, and they were able to cut it to about $42.94 per month, saving me about $30 month. Total time on the phone for both, about 30 minutes. Total savings, about $63 per month, or $756 per year. Want to try it yourself? Here are some tips from ehow: http://www.ehow.com/how_5944537_lower-cable_-cell-internet-bills.html.
So perhaps I was feeling a little empowered. I logged into my local credit union, and they’d reduced my APR from 8.5% to 7.25%. My balance is actually zero there, but still, what a delightful surprise! So naturally I called my UPromise account with Bank of America to ask them to reduce their rate (11.15%). They put me on hold and came back with a 9.9% (ok, only 1.25% but still!) and that brings all our rates below 10%. They also suggested that my account would go under review in April, and thought my rate might go down again. So I was advised to watch my April bill and if the rate *didn’t* go down, I should call and ask about it again.
So far I’ve avoided transferring balances hither and yon because I find it stressful, and it’s been hard to find an account that had enough room to transfer a balance to get a better rate. However, with my credit union balance at zero and the lowest APR there, I may well try to work this angle next.
I’m delighted at how much I’ve saved with just a few phone calls — has this worked for you?