Technology has provided us with so many easy ways to save money, but there’s still one very convenient low-tech savings tool: the phone call. If you’re able to get an actual human being on the other end of the phone, you can talk your way into some serious savings. Here are 10 easy ways you can save big just by picking up the phone.
Avoid late fees
So you missed your credit card or phone payment by a day or two (it happens), and now you’ve got yourself a pesky late fee, and possibly some interest. If you’ve been in good-standing with the company, it’s likely you can get them to reverse it. Just call up customer service, explain your situation, remind them of what a great customer you’ve been and see what they can do for you. In most cases, the company will waive the late fee and any interest owed as a “one-time courtesy.” Chances are this trick will only work once, so try not to make it a habit.
Get a cable bundle
Cable companies offer great deals for new customers, especially if you bundle your cable, phone and internet services together. But once you’ve been a customer for a year or so, your bill will start to skyrocket. Call up customer service, tell them you’re going to cancel your plan and switch to a cheaper competitor and see what type of deal they offer you to get you to stay. Some companies are very quick to try to please you, but if you run into some jibber-jabber or an uncaring customer service rep, be brave and schedule a cancellation! You’ll likely get routed to a “cancellation specialist” (code for “salesperson”) asking how they can keep your business. Then negotiate away! Just don’t be too overbearing. Asking for the same pricing new customers get is fair and usually works.
Adjust your auto insurance
There are all sorts of little ways to save money on your insurance premiums, especially if your circumstances have changed. Are you working closer to home than when you signed up? Have you and your spouse switched vehicles? Are you a loyal customer and safe driver? Call up your insurance company and talk about your driving lifestyle. You’ll likely find some savings.
Get online coupon codes
Online shopping is big business for most companies and they’re happy to encourage you to spend. If you don’t have a coupon code for the product or store for which you’re shopping, call up the customer service line and request one. They may offer you a generic savings code or even free shipping, and if they really don’t have anything at the time, they may give you a coupon for future purchases.
Cut down your cell phone plan
If you’re not a huge talker, you may be in line for some great savings. Most cell phone plans allot for a slew of minutes, and if you’re not using them, you may be overpaying. Call your cell phone provider’s customer service and see if you can take a cut in minutes or coverage, and find out how much you can save! Talking to a human about this can help reveal big savings.
Get rid of that pesky gym bill
Is there a gym taking $30, $60 or even $90 out of your bank account every month even though you haven’t been there since there was snow on the ground? Call and cancel! Or, if you think you’ll eventually go back, see if you can put your membership on hold. Many gyms will allow you to put a hold on your account for three months (or even more), which is better than canceling and then deciding to go back and having to pay all those sign-up fees again.
Find a scholarship 
So your kid didn’t turn out to be a Neil deGrasse Tyson-level genius or a record breaking teen athlete. That doesn’t mean you can’t save on their college education! Call up the prospective college or university’s financial aid department and see what type of smaller scholarships your son or daughter might qualify for. Even if it’s just $400 for being in the 4H Club, that’ll at least help cover the cost of books!
Lower your interest rate
If you’re a good credit card customer and have been paying your bills on time, you might qualify for a lower interest rate. Call up customer service and ask! The lower interest rate would only apply to new purchases, but that’s still a great way to save if you’re carrying around a monthly balance.
Save on your bank accounts 
In theory, savings accounts are supposed to earn you money while you’re not using it, so if yours isn’t, or if you’re paying unnecessary fees, call your bank immediately. Banks have all sorts of ways to save that they don’t always advertise. See if you can switch to a different type of savings account or if you can tie your checking and savings accounts together to cut out fees. Many banks now offer online banking, which generally pays a higher interest rate than a standard savings account does. Also speak to your banker about getting a better interest rate for your existing savings account or CDs.
Negotiate your bills 
If medical bills are starting to pile up from an illness or injury, call your doctor or insurance company and see if you can negotiate your balance. If you explain that you do indeed want to pay off as much as you can but that it’s all more than you can afford, they’ll often work to help you. Sometimes hospitals will waiver a large portion of your bill if you can pay a lump sum up front or if you’ll set up regular payments. Just call and ask!
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