- Personal Finance
Save Money on Utilities by Switching Companies
One of the best ways to save money is by reducing your fixed expenses. These are items that you pay every single month. Utilities such as electricity, water, sewer, phone, cable, heat, trash, etc. are almost always essential to life. Many times we write off these bills as out of our control and just pay it every month regardless of the amount. Well, I think it is time to take control and I bet you can save a lot of money by shopping around for your utilities.
Did you know you could shop around? Most people have options when it comes to these monthly bills. The only utility that we do not have an option on is our electricity. There is one provider to our city, so we are pretty much stuck. This might be the case for some of you as well. The rest of those bills are changeable though. There are numerous options for every other utility. Believe me when I say it is worth your time to shop around.
Utility companies are for profit businesses. They are fighting for customers and money each and every day. Do you listen to the television commercials? Do you go through your junk mail? Many times I don't feel like dealing with changing companies and it is a hassle. But again, it is worth it. Take some time each week to read through the offers that come in the mail, or if you see a commercial for a company in your area then check into it. The chances are good that you will save money.
Actually, you don't have to change companies. Check into the various plans and rates offered in your area. Many times this can be done on the internet and you don't have to bother with a phone system and sitting on hold. Then take a few minutes to call your current provider. Explain that you have been offered xx amount of dollars for the same (or better!) service with another company. Ask them if they can match this for you. Usually companies would like to retain as much business as possible and are willing to work with current customers. A friend of mine recently did this and was able to knock off $20 a month from his cable bill and get more channels. If you haven't done the math in your head already, that is a savings of $240 a year for a 15 minute phone call. That is an hourly rate of $960! If you didn't think it was worth it before, I hope you do now.
We are in the process of switching our cable/phone/internet provider. I am not interested in staying with our current provider so I won't bother calling them. But by reading all the offers we have gotten in the mail from the new provider we were able to jump on one that came recently and is an excellent deal. For $10 less each month we will have more television channels and faster internet. It takes time to make a switch as you do have to be home waiting on the person to come hook up the new system, but again well worth the time. We get more for $120 less each year.
It could benefit you to take a day off from work, or designate a day for looking into this. Take a few hours and research all of your options for every bill that you can. Call various companies, ask for lower rates, or make the switch to a new company. In the end you could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year (depending on the number of utility bills you have). Once you do this, you won't have to think about it again for quite some time.
Many times you will get a great deal by taking advantage of an introductory rate. If this is the case, mark the ending date on your calendar to look around at rates again or call the company back and ask for an extension on the offer. Everyone should look into lowering their utility bills at least once a year to make sure that they are getting what they want and need at the best possible rate.