How Competition Can Earn You Money
The next time your cable bill arrives, take a careful took at your itemized billing statement. Then do the same for your cell phone bill. Chances are, there is a way to reduce the total sum of those bills and even score some extra cash: By making your carrier compete with other companies in its industry.
This strategy also applies to your shopping adventures. Planning a trip to your local department or big-box store? Don't forget to check the weekly newspaper circulars, promotions and online sales flyers for the store's competitors. This information can be as good as gold in your back pocket when it's time to check out.
Put Cell Phone Carrier Competition to Work for You
In the case of the cell phone bill, if you're not with a carrier that requires a contract or you've just completed a recent contract's terms, you're in the drivers seat for some potentially large rewards if you play your cards correctly. Before you agree to a new contract or if you're free from a contract in the first place, do your homework about what other companies are offering in terms of perks, rewards and discounts.
If you're with Company A but Company B is offering a better deal, make sure to let Company A know that you're thinking of switching to Company B. More often than not, if you press a bit, Company A will match the special Company B is running just to keep your business.
This also goes beyond the bill and includes new phones and accessories--you can actually make money with these purchases! I scored $100 when I bought my iPhone through Verizon (even though I was a current Verizon customer) because I asked them to match ATT's current promotion.
Put Department Store Competition to Work for You
Did you know that stores will often match not only the advertised price of a competitor, they will also accept the competing store's coupons?? I once used a Macy's coupon at Kohl's, which saved me $50 on the purchase of a new winter coat. I've also scored statement credits at Pier One, Nordstrom, and The Gap simply by asking the sales associate to match a competitor's price. Statement credits are like free money in your pocket!
Why it Pays to Make Companies Compete.
Companies want--and need--your business. Therefore, there are really very few things they won't do when it comes to price matching as long as you make a reasonable, polite request. They're happy to compete for the chance that you'll spend your hard-earned money in their store or through their company instead of giving that same money to a competitor. With a few savvy tricks (such as doing your research so you know what's available elsewhere and remaining very polite and appreciative of any offer they extend), you will be on your way to saving AND making money on purchases you would have made anyway.
So the next time you're contemplating a new purchase, remember that business competition equals more money in your pocket.
Good luck, Penny Hoarders!