Whether it's switching providers, inserting a promo code online, or dropping premium cable channels, there are certainly things you can do to help you save money on your Internet, TV, and phone bill.
But, did you know you could also save money by simply using your chops and saying the right things?
Yep, you can talk your way into a lower digital services bill. Here's how…
Immediately Ask to Speak to the Customer Retention Department
When you're ready to score a discount from your TV or Internet company, don't waste your time talking to people who have no authority to give you a rate cut.
In fact, not all sales reps have the authority to provide alternate pricing, says Jon Lal, founder of the consumer savings website, BeFrugal.com. For this reason, Lal suggests speaking directly to your provider's customer retention department, as retention specialists may be able to offer additional savings that are exclusive to consumers who speak with them directly.
As soon as you get someone on the phone who can help you, explain that you can no longer afford to pay your bill, says David Bakke, editor at the financial fitness website, MoneyCrashers.com.
"Politely explain that you enjoy the service, but that you cannot afford the amount you are being charged and that you would like a discount," says Bakke.
And that's exactly what Sharon M. did when she realized she was paying too much for cable service at her home in Queens, New York.
"I'd been going over my expenses and realized I just couldn't afford to keep paying $50 for cable anymore," she explains. So she called her provider, Time Warner Cable, and explained that she wanted to keep her cable, but simply couldn't afford it. And unless they could find some sort of discount for her, she'd have to give it up.
The result? The representative she spoke to offered her a six-month discount.
"I didn't have to give up any of my favorite channels and my monthly bill was reduced to $35."
Sharon M. adds that she plans on calling back after the six months to see if she qualifies for another discount.
Talk About How Long You've Been a Loyal Customer to the Company
If you've been with your cable/satellite provider for a while, chances are the company will listen to you when you ask for a discount.
"Even for consumers who have not been customers for very long, expressing their interest in remaining loyal may be helpful to get more for their money," according to Lal.
Bakke agrees, adding that "customer loyalty is important to cable providers, so you should use this to your advantage when requesting a discount."
How long should you wait before playing the "loyal customer card"? Well, it depends.
Bakke says he called AT&T U-verse after being a customer for just one year and asked for a discount on his cable bill, which he was paying $79.99 a month for.
"Although I had only been an account-holder for a year, I explained that I had taken a chance with the company when it first came to my area," Bakke says. "This worked perfectly and I got the discount."
Specifically, Bakke explains that he received $15 off his cable bill for a period of six months.
So how much can you save? It depends on the company, of course, but Lal says loyalty discounts can be up to $20 per month.
Say these Words: "I'm thinking of Switching to another Provider"
Nothing makes a cable or Internet provider stop and listen more than those magic words: "I'm thinking of switching," says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli, Inc.
Companies want to keep your business, Woroch says, so telling them you're thinking about switching might be all you need to do to get that discount you're after.
"Before switching to a different company, always chat with the customer service rep of your current provider to find out ways in which they can help reduce your bill," Woroch recommends.
One thing to do before you call: Gather all necessary information about your current bill, what you're getting and why you're thinking about switching, says Woroch. That way you can tell the company exactly what you could get by switching to another company, but more importantly, what they'll need to offer in order to keep you.
Don't be Afraid to Bring up Competitor Prices and Promotions
Do you have more than one cable or satellite company offering service in your area? If so, you'll want to use that to your advantage - especially if other providers are offering lower prices than what you're receiving.
For example, if a provider in your area is offering a bundled price that includes Internet, premium channels, and home phone service at half the cost you're paying now for just your cable, bring it up, says Teri Gault, founder and CEO of The Grocery Game, a money-saving website.
"Tell your cable provider about the lower price and see if they would be willing to match that same price," Gault says.
However, in order for this strategy to work, you have to make sure to regularly look into the new deals so you don't miss anything that's out there, Gault says.
"You can even start with your own cable company and see what they offer to new customers," Gault advises. That's because those same or similar new-customer offers are likely to be offered by competitor companies.
"Always let your current provider know what you could get from someone else," Gault adds.
Finally, make sure to have all the information needed about the company and offer you are quoting.
"Chances are [your provider] will ask and they will check," Gault adds.
Remind Your Provider About What they Don't Offer
Chicago resident, Monica Witek, called her cable company after she realized she wasn't receiving a channel she enjoyed watching.
"I noticed when we lived in Downtown Chicago that we did not receive the Travel Channel, which we enjoyed watching and were able to watch when we were living in the suburbs," Witek says.
Her cable company's answer? They simply told her that the Travel Channel was not available in her area.
Frustrated that she was paying for premium cable, but still not receiving the channels she wanted, Witek decided it was time for a switch. Unfortunately, she found out that she was stuck with that particular provider due to her condo association.
And since she didn't want to drop her service entirely, she called her provider and asked for the cheapest plan possible.
Because the cable company couldn't offer the channel Witek wanted, they agreed to let her switch to basic cable and to take advantage of movie channels for free for six months.
"Now I call my cable provider each month or every other month to take advantage of free promotions they are providing their customers," Witek says.