At 4:30 in the morning, Mark Ramsey heads to work by motorcycle. He owns a truck, but this route cuts his fuel costs. “On the bike, it only costs me $10 a day in gas,” Ramsey says.
He’s not just saving money on the road. He’s penny pinching at home as well, with his monthly bills. He started by pitting two competing cable companies against one another.
“I said, ‘I’m willing to go somewhere else.’ About the time you’re ready to hang up the phone, they go ‘Wait, wait - just hang on a second, maybe we can work something out,’” Ramsey explained.
Within a few minutes, he brokered a $10 per month discount - $120 in yearly savings. Empowered, Mark tried again with car insurance. After 15 minutes, he had saved $12 a month - $144 a year.
From price matches on products and offers to credit card rate cuts, if you’re a good customer, it may be as easy as just asking for a deal. In this economy, consumers rule.
“Consumers say, ‘Wow, maybe I can call the company and negotiate.’ And that’s what we’re seeing more of now,” says Edgar Dworsky, founder of Consumerworld.org and a veteran bargain hunter.
He says it makes sense for companies to negotiate. “It’s cheaper for them to give you a deal then to go out and fine a new customer to replace you,” Dworsky said. That goes for almost any business.
So Mark Ramsey tried again, this time with his garbage pickup. Since his town doesn’t have trash pickup, he called to switch. “They say, ‘maybe we can take off $5 a month,’ and I said, ‘OK, if you’re willing to do that, then yeah, I’m willing to stay with you.’”
Ramsey says he saved another $60 a year. Add it all up, that’s $324 a year thanks to three phone calls. So next time you pull out your checkbook to start paying those bills, realize a simple phone call could help to keep cash in your wallet for the things you want to spend it on.