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KNOW WHAT YOUR MONTHLY BILLS ARE, AND TAKE ACTION WHEN THEY ARE INCREASED

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It’s quite easy to stop your bills from creeping up each year. When your cable, Internet, or cell phone
company tells you it is increasing its rate, call up the company and say no. However, in order to do
so, you must know what the history of each bill is.
It’s amazing how many people don’t know how much they’re paying their service providers. If you
don’t know to the nearest $5 what each of your monthly bills is, then you are probably overpaying on
many of them. Simply put, you must know what each of your monthly bills is (that’s where diligently
preparing and reviewing your monthly budget will help).
There is a way to say no effectively. In all instances, ask for a detailed rationale for the price
increase. Just asking this will often immediately stop the increase. Also, make sure you’re speaking
with the decision maker, whether it’s the owner of the business (if it’s your lawn service) or the
highest-ranking manager (if it’s the cable company).
A few actual personal examples should help you see how to do this:
▪ Cable company—Call the customer service number and ask for the “retention
department.” This department aims to retain good existing customers (another reason to
pay your bills on time). Make sure you stress how loyal you’ve been. At the same time,
let the company know you have been receiving solicitations from its competitors. If
possible, use a specific mail solicitation that you have recently received. Most of the
time, this strategy will keep your rate from increasing, and sometimes, it will even
decrease your bill. If you get the “wrong” person (someone who doesn’t accommodate
you), call back the next day and speak with someone else. Every year, I spend ten
minutes on the phone with the cable company to save $200. Not a bad return on my
investment.
▪ Landlord—If your landlord raises your rent, just say no. This works if you are a good
tenant who pays your bills on time. Make sure to use that rationale when you explain
why you don’t deserve (and won’t tolerate) a rent increase. The landlord does not want
to spend the time, energy, and money to find another tenant (who may not be as good as
you). Believe me, the landlord won’t want to lose you as a tenant.
▪ Lawn service—As in the two above cases, ask the company for detailed rationale.
That may immediately stop the increase. If not, tell the company you are going to get a
couple of competitive estimates. If this strategy doesn’t work, then actually get the
estimates. You may be surprised at the amount you save.
If you effectively say no to monthly increases, you will save thousands of dollars during your lifetime.

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