5 Things You Can Negotiate To Lower Bills At Home

In this time of uncertainty, lowering your bills at home becomes nothing less than a matter of survival. While some companies have options to postpone payments, in the end, this doesn’t get you ahead. You’ll be further behind once the COVID-19 situation has passed, and you’ll be playing catch-up for months or even years.  A […] The post 5 Things You Can Negotiate To Lower Bills At Home appeared first on Wall Street Survivor.

5 Things You Can Negotiate To Lower Bills At Home

In this time of uncertainty, lowering your bills at home becomes nothing less than a matter of survival. While some companies have options to postpone payments, in the end, this doesn’t get you ahead. You’ll be further behind once the COVID-19 situation has passed, and you’ll be playing catch-up for months or even years. 

A much more sustainable way to reduce your bills at home is by looking into these five negotiable services. Everything from cell phone service to internet and even credit cards can be negotiated. You might find that you’ve been paying too much for one or more services all along! 

1. Internet Costs 

An internet connection is an important utility in today’s world. Without one, you’d be stuck in social isolation without any way to reach loved ones, acquire news, or even order necessary products/services. The bottom line? You need an internet connection, but you don’t have to pay a fortune for it. 

Most people assume that the price you see is what you get, but the fact is, many ISPs have several packages available; they just don’t always tell you about the more affordable ones. ISPs are businesses, and their aim is to make money, so they’ll almost always try to get you into a more expensive service package first. 

You can call your ISP or go on their website to find a different service package. If you don’t need a 400MB/s download speed, you can have it reduced to save some money on your bill. If you’re looking for a new ISP, an service might be able to help. 

2. Electricity Costs 

In most cases, your electricity is provided by a company that manages billing, equipment, and service, but your actual electricity is provided by a secondary company. How your electricity is provided usually determines the rate you’ll pay for it. For example, if your electricity comes from hydropower, you might have a much cheaper rate than someone whose service comes from burning coal. 

You should have the option to change providers on your bill. You can even switch to green energy in some cases! Check with your state and your electric provider to see what options are available. You might need to do some extra research to find the best option, but the bottom line is that you can lower your electric costs. 

3. Auto Insurance 

Auto insurance is a complex and necessary service for anyone who drives a vehicle. as a prerequisite to drive a vehicle. Sure, you’ll save money by not having a monthly or semi-annual premium to pay, but in the long run, one critical accident could wipe out any money you’ve saved. 

If you’re in a state that requires car insurance, there are plenty of ways to get a better rate. The first and most obvious is choosing another provider. Short of completely switching your insurance provider, you can call in and see what kinds of discounts your current provider has to offer. 

Many providers have good student discounts, responsible driver discounts, or even better rates for people who have been with them for a certain number of years. If you don’t ask about these discounts, you can’t take advantage of them. 

You can also minimize your coverage to save money. Understand that the less coverage you have, the most responsible you’ll be for paying for any damages you cause (or incur) due to an accident. Some drivers choose only liability insurance, which is usually the bare minimum requirement to drive in most states. 

4. Cell Phones 

Most people have a cell phone these days, and with that phone comes a service plan. Service plans can be as cheap as $20/month and as expensive as hundreds per month depending on the number of lines, data plan, and more. There’s usually a cheaper plan available, though. 

The problem most people run into is signing a contract for a number of years so they can also finance the newest phones. If you can live without the newest iPhone, you can choose a month-to-month plan and buy a cheap phone outright. Sure, you won’t have the flashiest phone out there, but you’ll be connected and you’ll save money in the long run. You also won’t be tied to a contract and unable to leave without paying a termination fee. 

5. Credit Cards

There are credit card companies that will work with you on interest rates, monthly payments, and even outstanding balances. Many people assume that credit card companies are vicious sharks that don’t care at all about your financial situation, but the fact is, they’re more willing to work with you than you think. 

If your credit score has recently improved, you might be able to negotiate a better interest rate. If you’ve fallen on hard times, there’s a possibility you can get lower monthly payments. At the end of the day, the decision lies with your credit card provider, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! 

 

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Public Relations in A Covid-19 World by @lucyrk78

by Lucy Render-Kaplan | Featured Contributor  Public Relations is most often the team quickest to respond to (unexpected) situations clients may find themselves in. Because of this, PR is often looked at as the quickest-to-respond communications department. Brands will be remembered for a long time depending on how they act during this crisis and how... Read More » The post Public Relations in A Covid-19 World by @lucyrk78 appeared first on She Owns It.

Public Relations in A Covid-19 World by @lucyrk78

by Lucy Render-Kaplan | Featured Contributor 

Public Relations is most often the team quickest to respond to (unexpected) situations clients may find themselves in. Because of this, PR is often looked at as the quickest-to-respond communications department. Brands will be remembered for a long time depending on how they act during this crisis and how they are perceived. People are seeking answers and help and brands that can provide this in a sincere and well-informed manner will be the ones that come out of this the strongest.

You do not want to be remembered as the brand that is sending out sales newsletters for luxury vacations no one can take or hash jacking the #Covid19 tag just to garner higher opening rates. Leading with empathy and acknowledging that most people have lost their jobs or may be about to, should be your guiding principle.

It is nearly impossible to tune out of the constant news cycle covering the Corona Virus. The news is dominated by it and analysis, speculation and rumors are rampant on social media. As more states this week extended their stay at home order for another month, both brands and members of the media need to begin to plan for a longer “abnormal” time.

So, what does this mean for brands that rely on news mentions? Or for reporters and outlets that do not want to ignore the pandemic, but also still have deadlines on news outside of Covid-19? Editors know that while they are still the first line for conveying what the public needs to know, they also recognize that readers’ focuses are changing, and now  they are looking for entertaining and uplifting stories more than ever before. The media is looking for stories that give readers even a slight respite from the stress of all of this, and it’s up to us, as PR professionals, to provide those stories.

You may have better luck with local news. Stories about neighbors helping neighbors, food pantries available for those who cannot shop or have lost work, even shout outs to small businesses offering new services – deliveries, masks…think local when looking at what you are looking to pitch.

Keep in mind – no matter how much research you have done to deeply understand your current and potential audience, consumers’ priorities are changing rapidly to try to get a handle on their new normal. People are stuck at home for the foreseeable future and social activities that once filled families’ calendars are now blank spaces. There is an incredible amount of lost work, and daily we are given lists of festivals, sports events and cultural events that are being cancelled. While PR pros are certainly in a scramble to try their best at moving as many of these events online, the reality is most will be cancelled for the remainder of 2020.

What this means, is that more traditional events become more meaningful. Birthdays, Mother’s Day, and events as such will need to be planned as they never have before. This gives PR pros the opportunity to get creative and showcase how these events do not need to be sad days, but new ways of coming together for celebration.

 

Here are some tips to help guide your PR efforts during this time of crisis:

HELP. Then Help More.

No matter your situation, you still have the capability to help others. Yes, some of your clients may provide products or services that in no way can be made relevant to help during this epidemic.

That does not mean your clients cannot be of assistance to others. Depending on your industry, the ways to help will differ.

Perhaps you can organize team members to wear company shirts and help deliver meals to seniors (while always maintaining social distance and protection). You may be able to donate a percentage of profits to a charity assisting in Covid-19 care or research. Maybe you can utilize your platforms to offer tips on making working from home, homeschooling, or ways to stay healthy is something your audience would appreciate seeing you offer.

Yes, some of these ideas will not bring in revenue right away. However, the more trust you can build, the more consumers will think of your brand in a positive light when they are ready to make a purchase.

Strengthen Your Thought Leadership

While this is an ongoing goal for all public relations pros, now is an even better time to focus on employees you can offer as experts in their field. This helps your brand stay in the public eye despite any cancellations or postponements of scheduled launches or announces.

Look at having your clients write blogs on their websites, find guest blogging opportunities to grow a new audience or consider placing professionally written op-ed pieces that your clients have written on news sites. People have more time to read longer content than they may have had before so do not worry about TLDR.

Social Media is Better Than Ever

Marketers have been rejoicing (and complaining less about tricky algorithms!) as people are spending much more time on their computers and smartphones. Fear, feelings of isolation and craving to connect has elevated the use and importance of social media. It is a great time to engage with your customers where they are; learning how their needs and wants may have changed, finding out what questions they aren’t finding answers to that your brand can provide and ensuring you’re spending more time on producing content they want to see, over what your brand would like to get across. This will mean less posts about any new funding or showcasing people using your brand in ways and in locations they will not be able to replicate for the foreseeable future.

Now is the absolute time to rethink your messaging. We would recommend pausing pre-scheduled social media posts. Take the time to review each one and evaluate if it is appropriate or helpful considering our current situation. That is not to say you must scrap all the work you have done. Perhaps it just means putting certain content on hold. Before every post, we recommend asking yourself:

  • Is this necessary currently? Relevant?
  • Is this helpful?
  • Is this empathetic, inclusive and kind?

Where some brands have struggled with being transparent and 100% honest on social media, for fear of looking weak, or nerves or just not feeling comfortable with being “themselves” on social, it’s of utmost importance now. It may just take reframing your thinking – it has never been easy to be forced to layoff people because of COVID-19. The public is seeking information on how brands are internally responding to difficulties. You will find your brand earns respect with honestly and publicly addressing your brand’s struggles. Have you had to close an office? Reduce your workforce? Cancel orders? The faster you can honestly communicate this information to customers, the more they will respect you for being open and transparent.

The worst thing you can do is ignore the crisis and pretend you are conducting business as usual. This comes across as tone-deaf.

We all pray this COVID-19 pandemic ends quickly, but it is how your brand responds now that will determine how they fare in the future. Remember – brands are human. Customers are human. Everyone has new fears and stress and will benefit the most from thoughtful and helpful communication.

 

The post Public Relations in A Covid-19 World by @lucyrk78 appeared first on She Owns It.

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