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How I Saved $10k In One Day

Fat Mum Slim /

I wasn’t going to write about this because money stuff can be a bit of a snooze-fest, but I shared it on Facebook recently and people went bonkers for it. And if I can help anyone do the same, then it’s a good thing. I’m going to share how I saved around $10,000 in one day, actually in about an hour!, by calling around and getting discounts on my bills. This is probably only relevant to Australia, and all of the information is pretty much from the Barefoot Investor book {yes, still harping on about this}.

Now, I’m the sort of person if I find something good, I’ll tell everyone. If I find a good restaurant, you’ll know about it. If I find bargain, I’ll tell you that too. And I have told EVERYONE about these discounts that I’ve done, because I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I told the lady at the Optometrist. The person serving me at the supermarket. I told Hubby to tell his workmates. I was dismayed when I told people that they already knew, and they hadn’t told me already. YOU GOTTA TELL PEOPLE. So here I am telling you.

Last thing before I get into the nuggets of the blog post. Calling service providers is something I avoided in the past. It actually gets me anxious, is up there in joy levels with doing my taxes and getting my car serviced. I just don’t like it, and it makes me sweat. For the first call I was nervous and didn’t want to get rejected, but then everyone was so lovely and accommodating… I actually enjoyed the wins.

Oh, and this really is the last thing before I get down to the nitty gritty; it pays to be nice. The people on the end of the phone are humans too. You get more flies with honey, or something like that. Or is it bees? I don’t know, but you know what I mean.

I started with my energy provider. I asked to put through to the customer retention department {this is where the best people can make the decisions}. I did tell a little fib and said that I got an email asking me to make the switch to another provider and I could save 33% on my bill. The reality is I have had similar emails and I have had people knocking on my door trying to offer cheaper energy options. The lady was lovely and noticed that I’d never had any discounts on my account {because no one told me, lady… it’s a tragedy!}, so she could offer 21% if I paid my bill on time or 25% if I paid weekly by direct debit. I kindly told her that I really didn’t want to leave, but I really needed her to bring that pay on time rate up to meet the rate in the email. She said she couldn’t, but then did some tapping on her computer and said she could get it up to 28%. With their electricity rates and that discount, I was really happy… so I told her to lock it in and thanked her a whole lot.

I then called our bank about our mortgage. I almost didn’t do this one because mortgage stuff makes me want to pass out. STRESSFUL. I kinda just pretend that whole thing isn’t happening. This was the easiest phone call I made. I asked to be put through to the customer retention department again, and when I got through I simply explained that I’m having to manage our budget a little bit and that I really wanted to stay with our bank, but I could see that UBank had a interest rate of 3.62% and I would like them to match that so I could stay, otherwise I’d need them to prepare the papers so I could refinance with UBank. {I actually just Googled UBank interest rates before getting on the phone call, because UBank generally has great interest rates according to the Barefoot Investor}. He put me on hold for a few minutes and reduced our interest rate by 1.84%. YASSSS!

I then called our insurance company. This felt like less of a win, because he wasn’t as nice as the other people. I think I got a bit cocky by this phone call though, so I had to pull my head in a little. All our insurances were with the same people, but some under Hubby’s name and some under mine. So I just combined them all, and said that I could see a competitor was offering a 19% discount for new customers. He was completely dis-interested. I did ask to increase my excesses {I’m only comfortable doing this now because the book made me create an account for putting our fires and paying excesses – so I’ll save money and definitely have that money to pay if needed}. I got a 17.5% reduction because of loyalty and reducing those excesses.

Next, I called Foxtel. I got through to the accounts department and told them that I was needing to save money, and wanted to know what offerings they had. This phone call was a bit of a waste of my time, and I wish I’d asked to be put through to the customer retention department earlier. The lady I spoke to was lovely, but said that she couldn’t really offer me much, so I told her that I’d have to close my account. Once I was through to the customer retention department, I spoke to the loveliest person. We ended up chatting like we were besties, about weddings, AirBNBs and stuff. Was awesome. Best of all I managed to negotiate my bill down by 50%, AND I got free movies as well. You need to look at the packages before you go into the call, and it’s best knowing what you want to keep {for Hubby it’s his sports and they have to be in HD}. Once I explained that I really needed to get my budget down, that we’d been loyal, paying on time customers for a REALLY long time, and I kept pushing on the number I wanted to pay {we were paying $110 and I wanted to pay $55}, we got there. I didn’t lose any channels either, instead gaining some. Huge win!

My last phone call was to our phone company. I spoke to accounts again first, and it was a waste of my time {why hadn’t I learned that I need to always speak to customer retention? Learn from me!}. After about 15 minutes I asked to be put through to the customer retention, and then they hung on my accidentally {or on purpose, I’m not sure}. I rang back and got a different person in Customer Retention, and told her about comparable deals I could see online for the same service, and that I really needed to save money and get my budget down. I was sick of hearing my own voice at this point! They wanted me to sign up to a whole bunch of new products, but I knew that I didn’t want any of that. There was a point that I had to tell them I was going to leave, because I was actually disappointed that they weren’t budging… but eventually I got them down by 25%, and increased my data to unlimited downloads, and I got free movies {we’re good for movies for a while now!}.

I also logged into my MyGov account and rolled all my Super into one. I had recently changed my super account and mine is really great {you’ll want to make sure your Super is all in the one account and that the fees are low – the book spells that all out for you, but it’s amazing how much you can pay each year in fees, and you really need that when you’re older!}. Rolling my Super together was so easy and only took one click.

You can also negotiate with your health insurance company. As you know, cos I harp on about it a lot, I’m already with Bupa and love our cover and their rate is really comparable. So I didn’t have to make this phone call. The book has a lot about this too, so read up on that section if you need {I can’t remember why, but he does say not to use iSelect to compare rates}.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’m no expert, but I’m glad I called around and got it done!