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*Every Monday throughout 2014 I will be sharing Money Savings Tips to help stick to and expand your budget!

A Facebook friend of mine posted a question with her internet bill last week and asked if she was paying too much. It was her Comcast internet bill and she paid roughly $40/monthly more than I previously paid with RCN for internet. So yes, I (and the majority of her FB friends) thought she was paying too much!

Although I didn’t know her exact situation, besides her provider and bill amount, she definitely needs to negotiate a better price with either Comcast or another provider. I’m assuming she had not negotiated or called for a better rate lately, which is why she is paying $480 a year more than me for internet. $480!

And that’s just one provider; imagine if she didn’t negotiate any of her bills– cable, internet, phone, insurances, and more– imagine how much more she is paying a year than me on the same services.

So how do you actually negotiate a lower price? Here’s a few times that have worked for me and my tiny family:

  1. Call your current provider: Tell them you’d like to stay with your current provider but the price is too high and ask if there is anything they can do to help. They may be able to switch you to a current/better promotion, give some suggestions on how to lower the rate, or tell you there’s nothing they can do. Be nice and be positive, but let the know the price is above your means and ask what they can do.
  2. Speak with the right person: If the first person you spoke to couldn’t help, politely ask to speak to a supervisor or someone better fitted to help. Sometimes the first customer service person can’t do as much as a supervisor or a retention employee. Speaking with more than one person can sometimes help land a better rate.
  3. Call your current provider’s competition: If your current provider can’t help or want to get the lowest rate possible, call different providers for their current rates. Take in account different promotions and terms to find the best fit. (For example, when I was switching internet providers, Comcast actually had a lower rate for the first 6 months, but RCN was just a little more and the rate was locked in for a longer period of time, plus better speed).
  4. Threaten to leave/leave your current provider: If you find a better rate and service with another company, it may be best to move on. However, if you are happy with your current provider, minus the high rate, threaten to leave or cancel the bill. You may be switched over to a retention department or a manager who will have more moving power before or when you cancel. However, it may be best to switch providers to get a lower rate.
  5. Change/Adjust your plan: Another way to reduce the cost of your bill is to reduce services. Do you need HBO, DVR, unlimited data, special insurance, or more. Cut services that are not worth the money.

Also, make sure to watch your monthly bill to make sure the price has not risen. If you are automatically paying your bills, you may not even notice an increase. Pay attention and call when you notice the price has gone up. Don’t forget: you could be overpaying.

Do you have any tips for negotiating better rates? Do you call and negotiate rates regularly?

To find more Money Saving Tips from Boston On Budget, please head here.