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Saving Money - Learning To Love Junk Mail

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    Saving Money - Learning To Love Junk Mail

    If you're like most people, you head out to your mailbox after the mailman arrives and leaf through a pile of letters that mostly consist of junk mail. You probably only glance at most of them for a split second before tossing them into the trash. What you might not realize is that by doing this, you may be tossing away cold, hard cash.

    While most people hate the piles of junk mail that fill their mailbox, there are a few people who look forward to it with great anticipation each and every day. They know that the junk mail that everyone else throws away may mean extra dollars in their pocket. Many find extra bonuses of several hundred dollars a year secretly sitting inside those junk mail envelopes.

    Where the masses see junk, others see a competing offer that gives them quality leverage when negotiating with the companies whose services they already use. The companies that send out the junk mail are looking to convert new customers to their product or service. This means that they usually offer introductory rates and discounts that are well below the industry's standard rates. With a competing offer in hand, you have significant leverage to get your current provider to lower your rates.

    Studies show that over half of people who call their credit card company and simply ask to have their interest rate lowered or credit card annual fee waived will receive their request. This is because competition in the credit card industry is fierce and it's much less expensive to give an existing customer a discount than find a new customer to replace them. With more and more people being taught that these discounts can be had, some credit card companies are tightening their policies. That is, they will still lower your interest rates or waive your annual fee, but only if you can provide specific information on the competing offer.

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    The offers you receive through junk mail won't be limited to credit card offers. Offers for switching telephone companies or Internet service are also common. Make a list of all the services you use and if an offer arrives in your mailbox from a company that provides that service, take a minute to open it up and see if it is a better deal than you are currently receiving. No matter who you call to request a better rate, having a competing offer in hand will put you in a much stronger position and greatly increase your chances of getting a discount on your current services.

    When calling the company, try to avoid the front line customer service personnel since they are much less likely to be able to offer your the discount you're seeking. If you are given an option through touch tone menu, opt for the department where you can cancel your service. Since this is the last line for a company to retain a customer that is about to leave, they have more freedom to discount. If you get put through to front line customer service personnel, politely ask to talk with a manager.

    When talking, always keep a pleasant tone. The people working the phones are just like you and me and you are far more likely to be helped if you are pleasant than if you aren't. Don't demand anything. Simply state the information you have. "I opened my mail today and received an offer from (competing company's name) that is offering me (competing offer) to switch. I really enjoy your service and I'm wondering if you can match this deal or not?"

    If they offer you a discount that you're satisfied with, you have saved yourself money for a few minutes on the phone. If they do not offer you the discount you want, simply thank them for their time and say you will think about it more and get back to them. At that point you should sit down and consider if the competing offer is worth switching to. If it isn't, then your done until the next offer comes. If it is, then call again repeating the same process (sometimes a different person will give you the discount you were denied before) and if no discount is offered, cancel and switch the service.

    In the same way that paying better attention to the junk mail that arrives at your house, it can also be worthwhile to skim the advertisements in the newspapers and magazines your receive for promotions that companies are offering. by taking this approach, you may be surprised to find that all the junk mail arriving in your mailbox that you used to view as a menace suddenly is a place you search each day as an opportunity to save money and lower your costs.