Alright so first thing this title is a little sneaky – it’s less about making money, and more about saving money. But be fair, if I could show you how to save £1200 in 3 hours you would be pretty impressed I hope?
In the interests of full disclosure … it might not be £1200 … it might only be a few hundred quid … AND it could be a whole lot more. Plus, it might take longer than half a day, or even a lot less.
Also (good news coming soon!) you can only do this every year – two years.
BUT – you can genuinely save a whole load of money in just a couple of hour’s phone calls and comparison site checking.
Here are the two reasons why.
- Humans (You, me, almost everyone you know) can be apathetic. Once we get comfortable, we don’t like to change stuff – that’s why we keep paying for services long after those services are too expensive and / or better options are about.
- Those big companies can be pretty sneaky. Ever noticed when you get a renewal note from your insurer the premium went up? Again? Even though you don’t remember your last claim?
So – starting as soon as you have a couple of hours, (You don’t need to wait to renewal time) this is what the system is going to be,
Get yourself your favored access to the internet (device, phone, laptop, whatever) and somewhere you are comfortable. You’re going to need a hot or cold beverage, perhaps some biscuits and a phone. Ideally the phone will be with a headset or hands free, because you just KNOW how the companies you buy from (the ones who REALLY appreciate your custom, and show you how much by making you wait on hold for ages) will have you on hold so it’s nice to have your hands free. You will also need last 3 months bank statements (not essential, but much easier) a pen and a notebook. When I do this (and I do it every 18 months on average, and every year for insurance renewals) I like to have my laptop for information, and my iPad to play music, and quick games while I’m waiting.
First thing is to go through your bank statement. If you don’t do this often (most people don’t) it may be a bit of a shock – but to start with you are looking for any payments (especially direct debits or standing orders)that you don’t recognize. You are going to find them, work out what they are, if you still use them, or want them, and if you don’t (subject to your agreement with the supplier) you’re going to stop them. In most cases this is a simple call to the bank and stop.
The first time I did this, I found nearly £20 per month going out of my account, and I had no idea who the three companies I was paying were! So (and you need to write this down to see that I am telling the truth about this) in this example you would write down £240.
You have just made, over the next year, £240 (12 months x £20) by doing absolutely nothing. Good huh?
Your next job is to look at all the suppliers you have who charge you on a regular basis. Suppliers? Which companies charge you money for services? So using your statement to help you, you could find
And so on.
I’ve already said the best time to do insurance is at renewal (make sure you do it 2-3 weeks before renewal, since some insurers increase their prices in the last few days – seriously!) so I’ll talk about renewals in a moment. For now however, let’s look at the bulk of the suppliers. For each supplier you are going to need a number and ideally whatever account details they will ask to get through security.
I can promise you, once you start this, it becomes incredibly addictive. It will save you money, it will get you more service for less money, and you will want to do it again in a year or two.
I’ll even give you a script for how to most enjoy this process …! (How kind am I? Make sure you return the favor, post comments and tell others about this post)
So you call the first supplier, let’s say it’s your mobile provider, and you are now out of contract with them. After security they will ask you how they can help you.
The conversation will go something like this …
At this point you will need to repeat yourself a lot, since the call handler won’t have had many calls like this. Occasionally they may ask you to suggest what price you would like to see – resist and tell them you’d like them to tell you the best price they have. Even when they have told you a price, or an additional extra to the service, ask what else they can do, how else they can help you, keep asking and keep being charming and polite. At no point talk about any other suppliers or any other providers you may have looked at.
They may ask to put you on hold while they talk to their supervisor, they may tell you they “price check to ensure that we offer the very best price) and at that point will expect you to stop. Don’t stop – just ask again, very nicely. Last time I was offered the price check explanation I thanked him, and then asked exactly the same question – &What else can you do for me” – and flustered he told me he could take £10 off as a good will gesture. (Another £10 to add to the total).
Now all being well, you should now have a lower price per month, a better service level, or both. The call handler will feel as exhausted as you will feel exhilarated. And you now have a choice. You could tell them you appreciate their best efforts, and will now look to see what the competition can do ( this alone will often bring in further improvements) or you could (especially if you like the supplier and have no issue with them) decide you will accept this new improved offer. Make a note of the saving (again remembering to work it out for the next 12 months) and move to the next supplier.
Now the other key supplier is of course your insurers and these need their own section.
First – always look for the new deal 2-4 weeks in advance of expiration of the old policy. Research has shown that people who leave it to the last minute are considered a higher risk – which means you pay more!
Second – you know those auto renewal things that insurers LOVE to get you to agree to? NEVER use these. They are for Muppets. Absolutely they are in place NOT to make it easier for you (yeah, cos getting a quote is such a lot of work!!!) but solely to part you from more money. Again, shown time and time again in research here is what happens. Year one, you shop about and get a great quote. You don’t claim, Insurer notes you are on auto renew and knows that statistically you won’t challenge the new price. So they add about 10% to the premium. You pay it. Insurer thinks “Idiot!” and waits for year two. You still have auto renew and are still unlikely to change suppliers so this year they add another 10%. You notice it, grumble to your mates down the pub, and pay it. Insurer now laughing at you. Year 3 (still with no claims) and insurer adds another 10%. This time you get tough. You phone them up with a couple of days to go. You ask why it’s more expensive than last year.
So you buy it… and the year after… And so on.
The last time I used the techniques I have explained above for insurance (a landlords insurance for a number of properties I rent out) i got a premium seriously lower than the one I had paid two years previously. It really works.
When you talk to insurers, their number one trick is to get the details then ask you for the best quote you have received so far. The excuses are always the same (and lame)… “So I can get you the best price”, “so I can see what we’re aiming for” and so on… Stay strong, invite them to give you their price first.
Now, even without the insurance savings, you should be seeing a pretty decent saving after your calls. See – I told you it was possible didn’t I!
And in case you’re thinking “Is it really worth it..?” look at it this way. In 2016 the average salary in the UK is £27, 600. How much of a pay rise would you need to get from your employer to take home an extra £1200 (or whatever you manage to save doing this process)?
So there you have it. A simple and relatively short process that you can run through every year or so. It’s genuinely quite enjoyable. Take your time, stay very polite and friendly and enjoy the utter confusion on the part of the person you’re talking to! And please remember to work out your savings and gains so you can post them here.
How much have you saved? Love to hear your victory stories, your best savings, the most lame ass things the call handlers said to you and your best stories ( please be mindful of maybe not naming the companies … ). Now go forth and claim back some of your own money!