|Updated: 4/27/2012 4:21 pm
||Published: 4/27/2012 4:16 pm
If time is money then taking the time to call companies to see if you can get a lower rate or save some dough may be well worth it.
Rule number one: most businesses won't call to tell you how to save so it's up to you to dial up savings.
Once a year Chantay Bridges dials her way to saving big bucks and sometimes even more often than that.
Chantay cut what she pays for her phone, cable, utility and insurance bills and saved on credit card and bank fees and interest just by calling the companies. She's got it down to a science.
"I reminded them of our credit scores. I reminded them of our loyalty," Bridges says.
Experts say Chantay's calling strategies are on the money. And you can actually try dialing for more savings even more often.
Finance guru Mitchell Weiss with the University of Hartford says it certainly can't hurt to "check in" every quarter to every six months with businesses who bill you.
And if you see a company advertise a special deal take that as an opportunity to call and say you're interested.
Weiss explains businesses want customers to stick around because it costs more to lose a customer than to offer them some new ways to save.
"It costs money to get them. It costs money to keep them,” Weiss says. “Why would you want to turn that over to a competitor?"
So how can you make sure dialing through the phone maze of customer service reps is worth it?
People pay personal finance administrator Roblee Hoffman to lower their bills and now he's sharing his secrets with us.
Hoffman can usually save people between two hundred and twelve hundred dollars a year and here's how you can do the same:
Review all your monthly bills and try calling each company. The phone is the most effective way to negotiate.
Have two to three months worth of past bills when you call so you can be precise on what you're paying.
"Be a great customer,” Hoffman says. “A great customer is one who has been with a company for a fair number of years and pays their bill on or before the due date and pays the full balance."
Then once you've established your history with the company ask for lower rates, a cheaper plan and monthly fees to be removed.
If you can't negotiate with a customer service rep, ask for the customer retention department or the president's office. They may offer more incentives always be professional and polite.
And research what the business' competition is offering customers.
"The only time you want to be confrontational or say to a company that you’re going to go to another service is when you've prepared it ahead of time and done your research to know there is other service available at a greater cost savings," Hoffman says.
Chantay says knowing what a company's competition is offering is key to negotiating.
And if you've never called a business for a better rate, start dialing, it could save you a lot of dough
"It's worth the time and it's worth your money," Bridges says.
Many credit card companies and banks say they welcome you to check in with them for better deals frequently.
And at least one cell phone company told us it would gladly review your bill to see if you're paying too much for minutes and data you don't use.
It could mean a cheaper monthly bill.