Every single time I see the propane delivery truck pull into my driveway a familiar sense of dread takes over my body. It might as well be the Grim Reaper Mobile because I know my budget is about to die. In fact, I thought I was gonna die of a heart attack when I saw my latest bill, which totaled just shy of what I pay for my mortgage.

budget cuts reaper

So I did what most people do, I got PISSED. Mostly because they raised the rate by .77 cents per gallon since the spring.

Don’t Get Pissed, Get What You Want

Growing up, I rarely saw an example of asking for what you want. My mom worked for the same company from the age of 18 till she retired without a raise and without benefits until probably the last 6 months when I pushed her to ask her employer for health insurance. Seeing her timidly ask her boss for something she desperately needed and the simple and quick yes he gave in response sparked an AH HA moment for me. Some people learn this early in life and some never at all – If You Want Something, You HAVE To Ask For It.

So I called my propane company and asked for a lower rate. To my surprise she gave it to me pretty quickly. She checked our usage, which went up since last year (no doubt because we got rid of our pellet stove) and gave us a better rate. But did I stop there – NO.

Propane Truck

Flip The Script & Make Them Work To Keep You

I told her, “Look, we’ve been loyal customers for over 10 years and we’ve never been late paying, can’t you give us some discount for that?” Guess what? She did, taking another .10 off per gallon. Our rate went from $4.91 down to $4.26 and our current bill dropped by a little over $100. Not too shabby for a five-minute phone call.

Forget About Hearing “No” & Focus On Getting That “Yes”

I’ve done this for all our bills over the last few years. Here are three easy steps to save money on all your bills:

1. Make Regular Inquiries – At least once a year, call and ask your current companies, “Is this the best rate you can give me? Are there any promotional rates available, and if so when do they expire?, How can I get my bill down to x dollar amount (what you want to pay)?” Also ask for loyalty discounts or to waive certain fees if you have been a customer in good standing for a long time.

2. Arm Yourself With Knowledge – Know what rates competitors are offering, even if they are only promotional rates. Ask your current companies to match that rate. If they can’t tell them you’ll have to switch (if you can’t switch, bluff anyway).

3. Be Loyal Only If It PAYS – Be willing to go with another company if your current one doesn’t offer you better rates or discounts to stay. Always remember it costs them more money to get new clients then to keep their current customers happy and many times they’ll figure out how they can keep you. The key is to just keep on asking.

Please share your success stories. We could all use motivation in these tough times.