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Cutting monthly bills to save money.

So lately I’ve been pushing for ways to save some money due to other items going on here at home. Nothing truly serious thankfully, but a good idea at least. One area I’ve been looking at is the monthly bills.

Last fall I hit the gas/electric bill. I bought and installed a 7-day programmable thermostat and replace the ‘one-temp-set-and-forget’ thermostat the house had. I replace every high use light bulb with the energy saving compact fluorescents. I set my PC up to turn off automatically instead of running 24/7. That was a big change mind you. I’ve been running a computer almost constantly for the last 8 or 9 years.

Today I tried the biggest bill of them all – the Home Mortgage. Due to the recent mortgage crunch and skyrocketing foreclosure rates with rock bottom interest rates I figured I might as well give one of these ‘no closing cost’ refinance ads a shot. Heck, our mortgage is from Wells Fargo – and the ad we got was from them…
Anyhow, turns out they don’t want to drop our interest rate and add a year to our mortgage just quite yet. I’m going to guess that by dropping us a few points and taking our 29 years left back to 30 they don’t make any money. I just wanted a lower rate… Anyhow, I got told ‘no’.
I might try again in a few weeks after I’ve done a little more research.

So next up on the list – my cable/internet bill.
I’m paying $93.99 (before taxes and franchise fee’s (site note, what in the world is a “franchise fee”?). I’m seeing ads all over the place for my current plan at about $65 for ‘new subscribers’.
So I ring up the cable company, deal with the horrendous automated support menu, and finally arrive at a human named ‘Joe’ after I decided to start smashing buttons in the hopes that the automated system would figure out I had an issue…
Joe asks how he can help me out today and I simply start that I believe my bill is significantly more than I think it should be due to all of the 12 month promotions I’m seeing. He asks me what sort of promotions I’m taking about. I happen to have one on my desk right in front of me for my current plan for $69.95 – $24 less than what I’m paying now. In a quick look I tell him about that one and that it’s for about “60 bucks”.
The response amazed me – he said hold on a minute while I see what I can do.
A minute later he offers me a slightly new offer-
-My internet speed is incresed to 2x the speed it is now (7 to 15Mb/sec) (don’t really need but I’ll take it!).
-I get an additional 60-some channels added to my plan.
-When we get a digital TV all I have to do is stop into the local office for a free upgraded cable box for digital TV-out
-My new monthly bill, for the next 12 months, is $58.90

Thats a savings of $38.09 A month – or $457.08 over the next year.
Success! I cut a bill down by 40% with a 20 minute phone call.

…You think the power company would give me a lower rate on my electricity? 🙂

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