Save Money By Asking Nicely

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in Savings

When was the last time you asked for a refund, a discount, or a fee forgiveness? I have been noticing that many companies are willing to work with you if you ask nicely. Over the course of the year, my wife and I probably saved a few hundred dollars just by calling up different people and asking for help.

Eliminate Cellphone Charges

Personally, I hate getting cellphone bills because there are always extra charges…inevitably. Ever since we switched our cellphone plan to AT&T, I’ve found AT&T representatives to be very nice, flexible, and willing to work with us to reduce our bills.

For example, a member of our family who shall remain nameless is prone to sign up to various subscription services. Sure they only cost a few dollars per month, but they do add up real quick. When we noticed these charges, I called AT&T to cancel these subscriptions and was able get these charges retroactively removed for the current and previous months. Just by asking nicely.

Another time, the same nameless family member got curious about Internet access through their cellphone — not good if you don’t have an unlimited data plan. The per Kilobyte charge is worse than highway robbery. I almost fell off the chair the first time I saw the $500 data usage fee. Luckily, we called and asked.  The AT&T representative again helped us move to an unlimited data plan for $20 per month and forgave the $500 charge.

There are more AT&T stories, but you get the idea.

Save Money On Your Insurances

About two years ago, I was forced to shop for new insurance policies when my AllState premiums kept going up. The shopping process was quite painful, but I finally ended up asking a friend for referral. He introduced us to a Liberty Mutual agent. During the application process, I asked the agent if he could help us find ways to save money on our policies. That was a good move because he helped us identify several hundred dollars worth of savings using his expert knowledge of the system.

Lower Your Interest Rate

Another example occurred when my wife and I went shopping for a minivan. We visited a dozen dealers and found noone that was professional and honest — this is one reason I can’t believe we trusted the Cash for Clunkers program with these shady dealers. Anyway, we did find a Honda dealer that is friendly and professional — again by asking someone for a referral.

But that’s not the main point of this story. If you bought a car recently, you’ll know that car dealers make most of their profit during the financing process by upselling you various bells and whistles. To avoid aggressive upselling, I asked the sales agent to help us get through financing process easier. He helped us by talking to the finance manager who in turn gave us the “nice” finance guy. During the financing process, I continued to follow the system and asked the finance guy to lower our interest rate — which he did.

The Power of Asking Nicely

I can keep going with various situations where my wife and I asked people for help and came out ahead, but I think you get the idea. So whatever the situation may be, make sure you try this approach and ask. Look through all your bills and call each company to ask how the representative can help you lower your bill. You’ll be surprised by what asking nicely will get you.

This is a guest Post by Pinyo he is the owner and primary author of Moolanomy Personal Finance Blog. Moolanomy focuses on practical money management concepts, personal finance tips, and wealth building. If you like this article, please visit his blog. When he’s not busy writing articles, you can find him on Moolanomy Answers where Pinyo and community members help each other answer financial questions.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

The Casual Observer 2009/08/07 at 8:01 am

Yikes. I understand that the cell phone companies need to create an incentive for people to purchase the unlimited plans, but it would be nice if the per use (per KB, per text message, per minute) charges had some sort of a cap. Capping them at 2-3X the cost of the unlimited plan would still give them companies a hefty profit (while encourage people to buy the unlimited plan) without being completely unreasonable. (Somewhat unreasonable? Yes. But not completely unreasonable 🙂
.-= The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Superstar =-.

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Kevin@OutOfYourRut 2009/08/07 at 10:51 am

We’ve had similar experiences on cellphone bills in the past. Twice in the past two years our teenage kids ran up texting and data usage charges–into the hundreds of dollars.

We called Verizon Wireless customer service, got future usage halted on data, unlimited texting (stupid me thinking my kids text usage would be the same as mine!), and then they rolled the charges back for the current month, saving us hundreds of dollars. And all we did was explain the situation and ask nicely.

BTW, it’s our opinion that Verizon has close the best customer service of any company in any business. Any time we call or visit a store they get things done quickly and for the lowest cost possible (often none). We’ve not been so lucky with most companies, including other cellphone providers. Verizon may not be the cheapest provider, but when you have a problem you don’t have to worry how it will turn out.

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ronel marin 2009/08/18 at 7:37 am

thanks for this tips ill try to be nice to ask..lol

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geld verdienen 2010/08/04 at 6:12 am

You have indicate all the tips very clearly.save the money by lowering the Interest Rate is an old technique.Now there are many ways to save and earn money online.

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