Money

4 Phone Calls That Will Save Big Money on Utilities and Other Pesky Bills

We promise these calls will be worth your while.

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These days, we’re all pulling those purse strings a bit tighter. The good news? You can spend less — and save even more money on utilities and other bills — by simply making a few phone calls.

Your bank or financers

With interest rates slashed to historic lows, calling now may get you a lower rate on mortgages (new or refinanced), car loans, credit cards and more, saving you thousands of dollars! You may even be eligible for a longer loan length with lower monthly payments. For example, some car manufacturers are offering seven-year car loans that come with zero percent interest for the entire life of the loan. Another benefit of calling: Many banks are giving 90-day deferments for loans and credit card payments — you’ll have to pay eventually, but it can save you from accruing pricey late fees.

Your auto + home insurers

Great news: Some auto insurance companies (like Allstate and American Family Insurance) are giving many of their customers partial rebates since we were all driving far less during March, April and May. Even better? You may be entitled to a permanent savings of about $100 if you now work from home, are unemployed or retired. That’s because when you’re not commuting, your risk of accidents goes down, and when you’re home all day, the risks of burglary, fire and floods declines, so most insurers will lower your rates as a result!

Your utility companies

Many electric companies and wireless phone providers offer lower prices for certain populations. For example, Verizon Wireless offers plans for about 50 percent less for folks 55 and up (visit Verizon. com/plans/55plus). And some cities and states offer reduced rates on utility services. For instance, in Columbus, Ohio, folks 60 and over with limited incomes may be eligible to receive 10 percent off their electric bill and a waiver for water and sewage service charges. And in Georgia, those 65 and over with restricted incomes may qualify for lower landline phone, electric and natural gas rates.

Your cable TV provider

If you haven’t called your cable TV provider in more than six months, now’s the time to pick up the phone. Because cable companies are losing a record number of customers to streaming services (such as Netflix and Hulu), they’re offering more money-saving promotions and are more likely to give you a break on your bill when you request it! The proof: In a recent survey, a whopping 76 percent of folks who asked for a better deal on their cable TV bill snagged a lower rate or free perks (such as extra premium cable channels) that helped them save!

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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