Be Like Santa – Check Your Statements and Then Check Them Twice.

December 7, 2009|By David Lester

There is nothing that drives me crazier than being “Scrooged” on one of my statements.  Over the years I have saved hundreds of dollars just by going over every bank, credit card and bill that comes in.  When my bills and statements arrive in the mail I scrutinize each line item and only file them away when I’m happy each line is correct.  

The great thing about this process is that I never have bills lying all over the place. I can always find them when I need to,  and I’m confident knowing that I never pay more than I want to.  

This week I saved $13.50 in bank charges!  The bank had charged me a $5 charge for an extra transfer in my high interest savings account, even though I hadn’t made one.  On top of that they decided to up the monthly minimum account balance from $1,500 to $2,000 without telling me, and then charged me this month because I only had $1,500 in the account.  I marched right down to the bank and demanded that they reverse the charges and they did.  Now that I know to keep $2,000 in my account moving forward I’ll make sure they never collect an extra dollar from me in bank charges.  I love my money too much to give it to them. 

Cable is the other bill that I always “comb” over.  The cable and telephone companies are the WORST at making their bills super confusing by adding modem leases, security services, digital service fees, and time shifting fees.  What the Rudolph is a “time shifting fee”?  I wish they “time shifted” my bill back to the days when cable was $32!  

They go and deduct promotional credits, savings bundles, etc..  I once had a bill that had service after service added, then deducted, then added over three pages.  The best part was that at the very end of the $100 bill there was a little box reading that I had over $300 in savings and it was my first month having cable!  

The other thing to watch out for is their “sneaky fee increases.”  They continue to raise rates without raising the level of their service or product.  The best way to fight against bill creep is to bundle a bunch of different services.  If you have home telephone, mobile, Internet and cable from one provider you should be able to get a bundle discount.  And don’t forget affiliate companies.  Fido is owned by Rogers so if you have all of your products from Rogers you can add your Fido mobile service as part of the bundle.  

The second way is to threaten to leave.  They’ll transfer you to the “oh crap we’re losing them” department and they have the power to reduce your bill by about 20%.  Tell them in this economic downturn you’re worried about losing your job and they should give you a discount for a year.  

I hope these strategies will save you some good cash and prevent getting bill coal in your stocking each month.  

Happy Holidays,

David Lester
About David Lester

David Lester is a best selling author and professional Financial Coach, helping people be better with their money. David has written a personal finance book that breaks with traditional attitudes towards finance and describes his own philosophy to money that he has gained through his personal and professional experiences. His philosophy on money applies to many areas of everyday life, including banking, investing, goal setting, shopping and entertainment.