Money Saving Tips: Ask and you might receive. Ask for a discount.
When was the last time you asked for something you wanted? I’m not talking about asking for more ketchup at a restaurant or for less ice in your drink. I’m talking about asking for something meaningful, something that will help you achieve your goals (financial or otherwise) sooner or more easily. When was the last time you asked for a lower rate on your cell phone bill, a better deal on your TV package, or a raise at work (I’m planning a separate post for that one in the future, so I won’t go in-depth on this today)?
Often times, the answer is we don’t ask because we’re afraid of rejection, afraid of hearing the dreaded two-letter word, “no.” In certain situations, like asking a crush out on a date, I think that is absolutely a valid fear. However, in most transactional situations, the fear of being rejected is almost irrational. If you ask for a lower bill on your cell phone plan, and the representative you’re speaking with says no, what did you actually lose? Generally, the answer is nothing more than a few minutes. Your phone provider isn’t going to raise your monthly rate because you gave them a call. There are almost never repercussions for simply asking a question.
Where Should You Be Requesting a Discount?
In my experiences and in the experiences of some friends and family members, there are a few areas where taking the time to request a discount can save some serious dough!
Cell Phone Service Provider
I think one place every single person should ask for a discount is their cell phone plan. Trust me, your current cell phone service provider doesn’t want to lose your business. From their perspective, they don’t really have to put in any additional effort to allow you to be on their network. Additionally, the cost of finding and acquiring a new customer to replace you is much more costly than giving you a slight discount or additional features on your existing account.
***If you’ve ever been curious about what I’m looking for when I make an investment, check out the What’s in Stock series. Through eight weeks, the What’s in Stock picks have increased our annual dividend income by over $575!
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A large number of geographic areas are serviced by more than one provider. Before calling your cell phone provider, do a little bit of market research to see what types of deals are being offered by the competitors. Leveraging your ability to switch to one of their competitors based on a current promotion or similar features can be a great way to have the conversation end in your favor.
Internet & TV Provider
Asking for a reduced rate for your current internet plan or TV package is another area that people often overlook when thinking about ways to reduce costs. Most of the aspects mentioned about cell phone service providers also applies to internet and TV providers.
Personally, I’ve had some meaningful results from calling our internet and TV provider. I make it a point to call at least every year (and I typically end up calling even more frequently than that) to ask if there are any promotions currently available or to request a cheaper rate on our existing plan.
Almost every time, I’ve had some amount of success when speaking with a representative. On my most recent call about our TV package, the representative cut our cost by $10/month, increased our internet speed, and included some additional channels to our existing package! Even though $10/month might not seem like a lot, the 15 minutes it took me to make the call resulted in $120 in annual savings!
Admittedly, my results are less impressive compared to the results my dad recently got. He made one phone call to their TV provider, spent about 20 minutes on the phone, and hung up with a monthly savings of $50 for the next year ($600 total) and a free HD box for the TV in the basement! How did he do it? He touted his long-standing relationship with the company (he’s been a hassle-free customer for over five years) and he did his research. He made it very apparent that the competitors were offering similar packages for better prices. By making a simple request, he received additional benefits at a significantly lower price.
The Student Discount
If you are currently a student in high school or college, you have an incredible tool at your disposal: the student discount. If you think only the establishments that advertise a student discount will provide one, I would recommend reconsidering that notion. There are so many businesses that will offer you a discount for being a student if you simply ask. While I was in college, I asked for a student discount whenever I felt it was appropriate, even if the business didn’t advertise one. By asking, I was able to get reduced prices on oil changes, car repairs, and even a new set of tires (I’m not quite sure why the most memorable are all automotive expenses)!
By muttering the question, “Do you offer a student discount?” I was able to save close to $100. What happened if they didn’t offer a discount? They let me know, I said okay, and I got the service as planned for the normal price. There is no risk to asking!
What Discount Am I Most Proud of?
While I have asked for discounts from a wide-range of businesses, the one I am most proud of is a discount I received last month from Ally Invest, my online broker (check out this previous post if you aren’t exactly sure what a broker is). I gave their customer service department a call and asked if they would be able to reduce the commission I was paying on my options trades. At the time I was paying $0.50 per contract, which is already a really great rate for the industry, so I wasn’t even sure if getting a lower rate would be possible. When the representative asked how low of a price I was looking to get, I responded by saying, “as low as you can go.”
The representative put me on hold to speak with a manager and came back on the phone after ten minutes. He gave me the good news that they would be able to reduce the commission down to $0.30 per contract, a 40% cost reduction! I was so shocked, I decided to try to push the envelope just a touch further and I asked if they could shave off five more cents per trade. To my surprise, they said they could make it happen! I hardly managed to keep my cool while finishing the phone call.
When I first dialed the customer service number, I thought the chances of getting a discount from an organization as large as Ally were slim-to-none, but I still wanted to ask. Little did I know that one phone call would reduce the commission I was paying by 50%! To put that into perspective, I executed over 2,000 option trades in the first 10 months of 2020. If I keep up that pace, we’ll be saving about $500 on commission costs a year!
Ask and You Might Receive
I’m not implying that you should expect a discount every time you ask. Chances are, you won’t get one the majority of the time. The point I’m trying to make is that you’ll never get a discount if you don’t ask. Again, the worst thing they can do is say no.
If you want to see a couple of other easy ways to save money without any effort on your part, check out the cash back offers currently available!
Have you had success when requesting a discount?
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If you’ve ever been curious about what I’m looking for when I make an investment, check out the What’s in Stock series. Through eight weeks, the What’s in Stock picks have increased our annual dividend income by over $575!
To make sure you don’t miss out on any new videos, be sure to subscribe to the Nicholl for Your Thoughts YouTube channel and enable your notifications!
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