Be polite, be firm and ask for the deal they can't offer...
With all the price rises kicking in from the 1st of April, I really needed to cut back on some of our monthly expenses, as frankly, I'm concerned about our ability to stay in the black once all the new bills hit our bank account!
I planned to look at three of our most significant expenses and see if we could reduce the costs somehow.
1. The first was easy; our Disney+ subscription was about to expire, so we cancelled that before the early £79 charge was taken from our account. Sure, I could have set it up on a monthly subscription instead of a yearly one, but actually, we don't really use it that often, and we have Netflix and Sky, so I felt we could cope. Yearly Saving £79.00
2. Sky TV - I hadn't really looked at what we were paying for Sky TV, so I was shocked to see that we were paying £102.99 a month! That figure includes our broadband, but that's an obscene amount of money to be spending, especially as we were out of contract!
The plan was to speak to Sky and see what they could do, but first, I needed a plan, and that was to find the best deal I could from a rival TV supplier and get Sky to match it. After a quick Google, I found a Virgin deal for £62 a month, which would, more or less, get me the same services as we had with Sky, which was great ammunition... The only issue is Virgin don't actually cover our address, so I was going to have to blag this one!
Surprisingly, it only took me 3 minutes to get through to Sky, and I explained to the lady that I needed to reduce my costs, had found a better deal, so I would like to give my 30 days' notice so I could sign up with Virgin!
She was very friendly and said she would have a look and see what she could do for me and see if they could offer me a better deal to stick with them. As a Gold VIP customer, the system automatically offered me a better deal, which was £85 a month, which was a saving on the £102.99 I was paying, but not what I wanted; I wasn't going to accept that now was I ?!
The bartering begins... I explained that it was not a sensible option for me, at a time when my bills were going through the roof, accepting an offer that was £23 a month more expensive than the deal I could (in theory) get from Virgin, which she understood. I also then slipped in the, "I need to call O2 shortly as well, as I'm out of contract (not strictly true), so I am looking at changing my mobile phone service as well, to a sim only deal". Now I know that Sky is pushing their mobile phone packages, and the sales team get a bonus for every sign-up, so I figured that this would get her attention... it did!
She 'mentioned in passing' that Sky could offer me a great deal on a sim only phone contact, and I got a well-rehearsed sales pitch on its benefits and how it would be great for me. I went with the flow and explained that I'm very interested in the quoted £12 for 20Gb of data deal, with free calls and texts, but if I'm moving away from Sky, I might as well take up a similar deal Virgin was offering.
The lovely lady said she would put me on hold for a minute while she looked to see if she could do anything better on the TV & broadband offer. I suspect she probably sat there, checked her Facebook, had a sip of her cup of tea, and then came back to me with an "I've managed to find you a better deal" speech. This was now being offered at £75 per month, so another £10 a month saving.
This was pretty good, but still not good enough; I explained that if Sky wanted to keep me, they needed to match the Virgin deal, and if they did, I would also order a Sky sim card for my phone as well. I got the "we can't match that; our services are better than Virgin because... blah blah blah" speech. I explained that I wasn't going to be able to pay more than £70 a month, and if they couldn't offer me that deal, please could they put me through to the disconnection department.
Let me check one more thing, she said, tapping on the keyboard furiously; a few hmm's later, she came back with £67.50, and that was the best she could do, and she hadn't offered anyone else that lower price before, lol.
Now one thing I had factored into the Virgin pricing was that it didn't include Netflix, which my Sky TV account does, and so had I actually been able to take up the Virgin offer, I would have to pay an additional £15.99 to Netflix, for the same premium account facilities I had with Sky, meaning my monthly cost for Virgin and Netflix, was going to be £77.99, some £10.49 more expensive than the price Sky just gave me!
Needless to say, I took up Sky on their offer and saved £35.49 a month, which is £425.88 over the next year. I have the same services as before, and although Sky has sent me a SIM card for my mobile phone, it's not charged until I activate the sim card, which won't be easy for them to activate, as I have thrown it away!
3. Time to phone O2 - Now, this isn't a massive bartering opportunity, but I was going to give it a whirl!
I was still in a contract because I still had £80 to pay off on my phone. Once I paid that off, I was in a position where I could move away from Sky if I wished or could upgrade my phone and start a new agreement. Now I have a perfectly good phone, and as I'm trying to reduce my costs, signing up for a new £1,000 phone wasn't going to work!
I spoke to the lady at O2 and asked to pay off my phone balance, which was done quickly and without incident. I explained that I was now looking to reduce my current £34.90 a month tariff and go with a sim only deal and that I had been offered a Sky deal of £12 for 20Gb of data deal, which, if they could match, I would stick with O2. I was told they didn't have that deal and offered me a £15 deal for 15 Gb of data, so I asked to be put through to disconnections!
The disconnections lady was, as expected, going to see if she could find me a similarly priced deal, and came back that they don't have that deal, BUT she would do me a 15Gb deal for £10 a month! I said that's a good deal; however, I wanted 20Gb, just in case, so it would probably be better with the Sky deal.. 10 seconds of tapping... no problem, tell you what, I can offer you £10 a month for 30 Gb of data, unlimited calls and texts!
Needless to say, I accepted this improved deal. So, my savings from this new deal were a new monthly airtime charge of £10, down from £34.90, so £24.90 a month, so £298.80 a year, plus I no longer have to pay £30 a month for my phone, so that also saves £360.00 a year, so a total saving of £658.80, over the next 12 months.
So in total, in the 57 minutes I took to sort out these three deals, I saved:
Disney+ - £79.00
Sky TV - £425.88
O2 - £658.80
Total saving over the next 12 months = £1163.68, which is £96.97 a month.
If only every lunch break could be so productive! Remember, If you don't ask, you don't get!