Published on October 28, 2005, by

There are lots of companies that bend over backwards and offer lots of sweet deals to get you as a customer, but not everyone realizes these same companies are often willing to sweeten the deal to keep you around, too:

Cell Phones – Once a year or so call your provider, mention that you’re looking around at other companies, and ask if they can do better (it wouldn’t hurt to have a specific deal from another company in mind). The result is often a credit toward a new phone or some extra minutes thrown in every month.

Satellite TV – DirecTV and the rest are in cutthroat competition with the cable companies and each other, so they’re often good for either a hardware upgrade or a few months of free movie channels once you’ve paid your bill for a year or so. And if you have a service upgrade in mind that would result in an increased monthly revenue to them, they’re practically putty in your hands. Push for all the hardware plus installation for free and you’ll often get it. The same advice probably doesn’t apply for cable companies since they usually don’t charge you for hardware, but it can’t hurt to mention you’re thinking of going with satellite and see what they say.

Credit Cards – As anyone will tell you, the best way to save money with credit cards is not to use them — or at least pay off your balance every month. Still, you can take advantage of the fact that a customer with good credit is very valuable to the folks hoping to get you into serious debt. Even if you don’t use your card a lot, make a habit of calling the company every year and asking if they’re offering you their best terms. Don’t be afraid to mention that you’ve been offered a different card with a better interest rate. Use the same method to get any annual fees waived. There’s no reason to pay an annual fee for any credit card when so many don’t have them.