Would you upgrade your credit card for free?: PF Friday Grab a brew #56

credit card upgrades- grab a brewLET THE ANSWER MACHINE GET IT

 

If you want to upgrade your credit card for free most likely you will do it on your own by contacting credit card companies to see what they are offering.

Other times they are contacting you whether over the phone, through email or your post box.

I’ve always said there are some great credit cards with perks out there but you need to shop around to find what’s best for you.

Like many Canadians we have call display and conveniently with a Rogers TV package perk it also shows up on our television when the phone rings the number that’s dialing in.

I’m pretty sure many of you are going to say that you do the same as us and simply say, “let the answer machine get it” especially if you don’t know the number or if it’s that dreaded Air Duct Cleaning company and you have the number burned in your mind because they call so many times.

Sure we’ve put our number on the Canada Do Not Call List and it does work for the most part until they decide to switch phone numbers and the calls start all over again. You know we will never win this game of telemarketing unless we just get rid of the technology altogether.

The other day the phone rang while I was quietly reading a blog post and enjoying a cup of tea. As I looked up to see who it was I didn’t recognize the number but thought, what the heck let me hear what they have to say. I can assure you it’s not often I get in this type of mood.

This is not normal for me as I simply ignore the phone. In fact, I hate the phone. I don’t like talking on the phone and will avoid it unless it’s someone I really want to talk to. I can count on one hand how many people would fall into that class and they are all near and dear to my heart.

 

Credit Card upgrade

 

When the calm female voice on the other end of the phone said hello to me I thought, ‘here we go’ and I was right she wanted to offer me something but it wasn’t what I expected. I don’t get many calls from credit card companies but when I do it’s typically from stores or banks where I already hold a credit card.

The last phone call I told you all about was from Canadian Tire who wanted to raise my spending limit to some ridiculous amount right after I had made a large purchase on the credit card.

Brilliant if you ask me but that shows me how on top of the credit card spending habits of Canadians these organizations are. They know when we make a move and they are right there to jump us if we let them.

This lovely lady though was from President’s Choice Financial which is one institution we deal with and hold a credit card with. She wanted to offer me the new World MasterCard from Presidents Choice.

I was intrigued to listen after she told me about the current perks we get with our PC MasterCard (which the wife uses mostly) and what they were removing and why.

Originally we got double the PC points when we used our PC MasterCard but that was no longer going to be the case. Bummer.

We picked up loads of free groceries using the PC Points but have recently been loading up on points when we can with the new PC Plus program they introduced.

 

PC World MasterCard

 

The new PC World MasterCard which is black in color compared to the original boring grey does offer double the PC Points when you use the credit card.

The card also offers a host of other perks such as doubling the manufacturers warranty on a new purchase as well as free personalized convenience cheques (if you use those, we don’t) and free purchase assurance that protects our purchases from loss and theft for up to 90 days if paid in full.

I usually hear bla bla bla bla when I hear or read this but who knows maybe one day it may come in handy.

We always pay everything in full each month so I thought this card would be great. If you wanted to complete a balance transfer (we’ve never done this) they offer a 0.97% introductory offer to transfer funds if needed for 6 months.

Like I mentioned this meant nothing to us as we never hold a balance on a credit card but it may to someone else.

 

Read the fine print please….

 

Although there is no annual fee on this credit card make sure you to read about the other fees that will get piled on if you use the credit card lets say outside of Canada and you want a cash advance. That my friends will cost you a whopping $5.00 fee.

The interest rate on this pretty black credit card is ONLY 19.97% on purchases and cash advances at 21.97%… I know don’t lose your lunch. Ridiculously high, wow but many credit cards are all the same.

Remember what I said about reading the fine print in its entirety if you don’t want to get screwed later down the line. The next line after the rates reads that without notice they could up the interest rate to 24.95% upon review of your account. Puke! IF you think that’s bad, don’t pay your minimum payments and that gets hiked to 24.97%.

Read all regulations thoroughly but like I earlier stated, nothing is for free and to be honest many credit cards are just the same. The point of a credit card is for the company to make money and for you to hold off on paying in full, pay in segments or pay in full and reap the free rewards that they offer. It’s the only reason we hold credit cards plus to build our credit rating and have it in good standing.

With the new credit card we will get 20 PC Points for every $1 spent in participating stores and 10 points for every $1 spent everywhere else we shop. Not too bad since that was originally what we had but was now being taken away.

Odds were good that we would make the switch based on our spending and payment habits and they knew it, hence the call.

There’s other perks you have to pay for in case of loss of job or losing your wallet and the pay the minimum monthly balance for you. I have no interest in this.

 

Checking your credit history

 

I wanted to make sure they weren’t going to go in and do another credit check and not that it would be a problem but I just don’t like when these companies keep going in and checking when they don’t need to.

They know we have a good standing with the PC MasterCard already and that is essentially what she said so no they did not do a second credit check.

 

Making the switch

 

I was all up for the switch to the new PC World MasterCard that also offered inside deals that the regular MasterCard holder won’t be privy too so why not.

I like a good deal so show me the savings. Switching cards for me essentially meant I’d keep my double the points and get a few other perks which really didn’t get me too fired up but points are points.

Some people get nutty over cash back or Air Miles points and these points are no different.

Why throw money away if you don’t have to?

So, you must be asking me now what is the catch? There is always a catch and it’s true, nothing comes for free in life these days unless you’re lucky or given it free.

This particular credit card is designed for those that have an annual household income of $100,000 or more or a single income of $60,000 or more.

That’s right you have to be making a fair amount of cash to hold this credit card and although some people may think it’s chump change to others that’s lots of money.

We are now surpassing that threshold so I went ahead and signed up for the new credit card and it’s only for the free groceries with double the points  and no annual fee at this time I’m afraid.

 

Canadian spending habits

 

The credit card companies want the spenders to get these perks in hopes they spend more money using the credit cards and well, hold a balance.

That interest is what makes them richer although just because you earn a higher income it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a spender.

You could be a saver yet the perks are great for you if you pay your card in full. It may be the people who earn less money who are spenders or vice versa the people who earn less money save their money like we did when we were earning less (and still do).

I don’t think there is any real math to spending habits and income but they do follow patterns and do surveys and know what Canadians are spending and how much they are earning based on the use of a credit card.

It’s amazing how much of our life we allow people to follow all by the simplicity of a tap, swipe or insert of a credit card.

Would you upgrade your credit card to get more perks for free?

Top recipe

 

chocolate Oreo Sprinkle donuts

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called “Love Bakes Good Cakes” run by a homeschooling mom named Jamie who has 5 kids. Her recipe came out on top because chocolate was the main ingredient.

If you are a fan of Oreo cookies and chocolate cake donuts then this is the recipe for you.  Enjoy. Chocolate Oreo Sprinkle Donuts.

 

Weekly CBB Posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

 

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #56 so happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr. CBB

 

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The Saturday Weekend Review #42: Don’t cancel that cable subscription just yet

                                                                                                                                  

Would you pay per channel The Mass Debate Surrounding The TV

 

The run up to and the day of the Speech from the Throne was surrounded by the controversial subject of single channel subscription rather than getting multiple channels bundled together.

According to recent sources there is a growing trend towards free to air TV which is received through the more traditional aerial on the roof.

A large proportion of TV in the UK is broadcast by either traditional aerial reception called terrestrial TV or satellite via the main provider that is BSkyB. Cable does exist and is available to a large portion of homes but is not that popular.

There are 50+ free to watch channels in the UK with quite a number in HD through a digital set top box and if you get a Free Sat (Satellite) box there’s even more free television. TV channels already generate enough cash flow from advertisements so why pay again to watch them?

Both the free to watch boxes available in the UK cost money up front plus you pay a TV licence every 12 months but it’s still far cheaper for a far superior service than what the average Canadian receives.

One of the problems that Canadian TV seems to have is that a vast majority of the channels are bought in from the US, so in order to cover the cost of buying the channel you have to pay to watch. Unfortunately you end up paying to watch completely irrelevant advertisements.

Another growing trend is Netflix, where you can watch on demand programming and movies for $8 a month. Sure, you’ll still need to pay for a good internet service so how much are you saving unless you’re already subscribing to a fast service because you use the internet a lot. If Netflix isn’t your scene you can still watch TV programs streamed online from a multitude of sites.

Rogers Basic TV package costs $38.67 per month then you’ve got to add in the receiver boxes at $4.51 a month for the main tv in the living room then you have to pay for 3 extra outlets at $6.99 and then the government wants their share by charging you tax. You have to pay all this for roughly 50+ channels.

That’s pretty pricey for bare basic, run of the mill viewing pleasure considering the amount of money already generated by advertising on these channels. Some days I swear I’m just paying to watch adverts.

As for us, we tend to watch a very limited number of channels although we tend to negotiate with Rogers retention department every year for a deal I’m not sure how that would work in the future. For me it’s BBC Canada and a couple of the documentary channels like TVO, the News and the Weather. Mrs CBB likes one particular soap opera of which will rename nameless for now.

If Ottawa has its way and changes the rules of bundled TV channels I’m not sure I could justify spending $8 a month for one channel just as an example. I think there needs to be a bigger overhaul of the TV broadcast system.

There are worries that smaller niche channels may disappear, but if they broadcast relevant meaningful material they could be subsidized, possibly by the government.

It’s the constant reality TV that gets streamed in from other sources that irritates me. I don’t really want to pay to watch a bunch of people with less brains than a cheese sandwich fight it out on Jerry Springer. I can watch better fights by tuning into Canadian Hockey.

Going back to my first remark about the shift towards free to air TV. I’m currently looking into this too, although depending on where you live depends on what channels you can receive. It all has to do with broadcast antenna (transmission tower) range and signal strength.

I’ve also learned that you may need more than one aerial due to broadcasts in different directions. I would suggest contacting your local TV installation/repair business, as just throwing up an aerial and hoping for the best may prove to be a fruitless task.

I found this article from the Globe and Mail written 3 years ago on the exact same subject. This man obviously has a little more detailed information on what can and what can’t be achieved through swapping to free to air TV.

The one piece of information that caught my eye though was the signal compression on cable, which would explain why we have terrible quality sometimes considering we’re supposedly paying for High Definition.

What I can tell you is that if you’re seriously thinking of jumping on the free TV bandwagon, do your research first. Don’t cancel that cable subscription just yet. My best advice is be informed and choose what ever fits your budget and lifestyle the best.

 

Canadian Budget Binder this week

 

If you missed any Canadian Budget Binder posts this week you can catch up by clicking any of the links below. Something is always brewing at CBB so subscribe to the blog today and get my daily post sent to your inbox!

  • PF Weekly G

 

Making a difference

 

my personal finance journey

My name is Jacob, a 28 year old chemical engineering PhD student from Virginia that is currently studying Alzheimer’s disease drug development. On the side, I am also the owner, author, and creator of the personal finance blog, MyPersonalFinanceJourney.com.

I started this site back in January of 2010, and since then, have poured my heart and soul in to the site to produce a product I am proud of and I think adds value to the world.

On MyPersonalFinanceJourney.com, my purpose is to offer actionable personal finance advice with the goal of achieving long-term success. I also do not hesitate to apply numerical financial analysis to cut through some of the hype and half-truths that surround personal finance and investing.

Specifically, I really enjoy making a difference in the lives of readers by helping them in the following areas: long term investing and asset allocation strategy analysis, deciding how to prioritize new funds as they come in to various spending requirement areas, and how to develop a lifestyle of frugality and live according to your life dreams and life values.

Since finances are involved in pretty much every aspect of society, imparting knowledge to others in the realm of personal finance can really improve people’s all-around qualify of life.

Along with providing content on personal finances, my blog also gives away 10% of the net income it generates each month, with 5% going to readers and 5% going to a charity selected by the reader giveaway winner.

To date, I have given away over $3,100.

 

Blog post sharing

 

I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website.

Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.

 

What is a blog carnival?

 

Some fans have asked me just what is a blog carnival so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans. A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web.

Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed. If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals

 

Carnival glory

 

 

 

Google-web-search-terms

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • Did we kill the mortgage loan by putting money on the loan?- It all depends on what you mean by kill…
  • Cake using vinegar- Now that’s interesting
  • What women want in a husband?- That sounds like a blog post I can handle
  • OSAP didn’t give me enough- Time to go to work
  • Is barn break a low gi food?- No idea what barn break is
  • Rent a goat Canada- Ya… I knew Canadians would rent goats

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #42. Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into. Have a great week everyone.

Mr.CBB

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PF Weekly Grab a brew #41: Can you survive without a cell phone for just one night?

grab-a-brew

Disconnect For A Day And Live A Little

Should you have a plan b just in case your cell phone provider goes down?

Yes, we should have “disconnect for a day” as a national holiday in Canada where everyone puts technology away and just lives a little like we used to back in the 80′s and early 90′s.

Only problem is you don’t get paid for it like you might a holiday from work, you just do it.

Think about life back then if you were around (showing my age here) and what you did, how you lived it and how life has changed from then to now. Don’t you ever wish you could just go back to the simple life?

I know you may say we have to get on with the times and I agree but I also believe that sometimes we miss the small things that are pushing the envelope today like the cell phone.

We had no need for them back then like we do today, so why the big change and dependency?

Last week on Grab a Brew #40 I brought up the topic about whether or not we are dependent on the internet and how some people rely so heavily on it just to get by day by day.

Then the week prior grab a brew #39 I talked about ditching the home phone and replacing it with a cell phone because that is what most people do these days.

 

Rogers is down captain

 

If you own a cell phone and are with anyone other than Rogers than just the other day you are full aware that Rogers wireless went down. It went down hard across the country as it was plastered all over social media and the news.

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid such a ‘catastrophe’ to some because it’s every other comment that fills your news feed or twitter page and it trends and spreads like wild-fire.

Rogers CEO and president, Nadir Mohamed apologized to the sea of Rogers customers according to Yahoo saying that they worked as quick as possible to restore service to their customers. The website apparently crashed shortly after. He explained that it was unacceptable and that they were investigating. I’m sure they are.

Apparently the service was restored before midnight but for us it made no difference as my wife has a normal cell phone used for emergencies (honestly if it were me I could do without the cell) whereas for others it’s their life-line.

I can understand why people would be angry but we also have to understand that things happen in life and nothing and no one is perfect.

Gosh, if only we lived in a world where nothing happened what would life be like? Some people may see the outage as no big deal and others went haywire over not having access to their most prized possession, the cell phone.

Many tweeters according to the Yahoo article even went hell for leather sharing their anger at some guy on Twitter who uses @rogers as his Twitter handle yet had nothing to do with Rogers lol.

I could only imagine what it was like on his end of social media. I bet just for a moment in time he felt like a star, I mean they all do something to piss someone off so I hope he soaked it all up.

This just goes to show us the power of the internet and the power that a cell phone provider gives to its customers yet when taken away can seem as if the customer has lost his/her blanket like Linus van Pelt, Charlies best friend from the popular Charlie Brown series.

 

Grab a brew

 

People were freaking out and I was thinking oh well, I guess we will just have to wait until they are up and running.

I had said to my best friend whom I was talking with as it all went down that so many people were complaining via social media and how I thought they were making a huge deal out this. That’s when he set me straight.

I think that we become dependent on technology and the internet has proven that for me so I’m doing my  best to stay away from adding to my technology bundle.

I have owned a cell in my life because I replaced my home phone with my cell phone back in the UK but you can’t get me to pay the outrageous prices they charge to own a cell phone in Canada, at least not yet.

I already have to call once a year to Rogers so I can negotiate a better price on our services which I don’t mind but at the same time I shake my head wondering why we have to do this.

I was single at the time and didn’t need to pay for a home phone and a cell phone so I opted for the cell like many people do today.

I had laughed about the moaning and groaning all over my social media and sure enough my wife’s cell was dead, and I mean dead. She had no text nor could anyone call or receive any incoming calls.

We made it through the night safely and without crisis not having a working cell phone although it didn’t really phase us at all.

There was a technical glitch and they were fixing it, oh well. One comment I read on the Yahoo article said that for that moment in time the roads were safer having fewer people on their cell phones while driving.

While that may be true I should hope that it doesn’t take a wireless provider to go down for us to realize that it’s just not safe to drive and text. We should all have a minute to live.

Nothing is more important than life, nothing.

 

It’s in our head

 

Sometimes I believe we condition ourselves to think we need something when we do not.

Boy that chocolate bar looks so good, I sure could use one, so we eat it. The same goes with anything else in life. If we believe in something strongly we can make it come true, even if it is just eating a chocolate bar.

Alternatively the more we do or use something the more we become dependent on it and when it’s taken away it’s like something died or it’s the end of the world unless you have a back-up plan.

If you rely on your credit card for everything and then you lose your job how will you pay for your credit card bill every month?

You need a plan b if you rely on something so heavily that it affects your emotions or daily living plans.

Life never used to be as complicated as it is today with technology surrounding us.

Are we becoming a lazy world because of it?

 

The good old days

 

My best friend says to me that not everyone has a home phone anymore so they rely on their cell phone.

If a cell phone provider goes down customers who are reliant may not have a means to finish their work or use of a cell while on the road even though that’s the way it’s been done before the invention of the cell or GPS.

Unless of course your vehicle was sporting a CB radio then you could radio for help.

We drove, used a map and if we broke down we pulled over and if needed we asked someone for help. It was that simple but life is much more complicated with the birth of technology but convenient at the same time.

While on Facebook one of my other friends posted a status update stating she was glad she was not using Rogers as a cell phone provider and she hopes no one needs to call 911 because they won’t be able to.

Then again? How would they call for help if the home phone line went down? You can never win but things happen in life that we can’t control.

 

No one is perfect

 

If it’s not Rogers it will be the next company and then the next until we run out of providers to jump to because we believe they have some sort of magical power and will never go down. Please.

As I get older now I realize that we just need to stop sweating the small things and learn to live a little. We put the control of our lives in the hands of others and wonder why we get grey hair before our time.

On a good note for Rogers pre-paid cell phone customers Rogers will credit their monthly bill for the day but to be honest we really don’t care about it, but that’s just us. Things happen.

For others, it may be a huge deal but that’s something you need to decide how you will work around if this happens again. Don’t let a cell phone control your life.

So, yes we do rely on cell phones more than we likely had ever imagined and our world is in the midst of a continuous technology blast that will change the way we all view and live out our future.

Do you rely heavily on your cell phone?

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you

 

Top recipe

pumpkin spice cappuccino muffins

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans. I hope you enjoy these Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino Muffins from the blog Hun What’s For Dinner?

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew, Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

 

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Haggling the Best Deal with your Communications Company

Do you call your cable company annually to negotiate a better deal? If not, read this post to learn how you can save yourself and your family money each year with a simple call. Haggling with your communications company may seem like a pain in the back side but with high competition for services it’s worth the time it takes to talk to a customer retention agent.

Every year I shake my head when I do the yearly round-up of our expenditures with Rogers Cable. I must admit that I have lowered these costs over the years but am looking to downsize them. Sure I have some of the best Rogers retention plans going but sometimes they make it difficult to want to continue being a long time client of theirs.

The cancellation department also handles the retention phone calls for customers who have promotions coming to an end. Essentially all they are is a customer service representative with retention strategies to try and keep you as a customer. They are the people who can boost your savings depending on your needs and how well a customer you are.

Rogers client retention may not seem like a big deal when you are 1 customer but if everyone decided to move to another company that could put a dent in their earnings. Rogers is one of the leading communication companies in Canada with continued revenue growth up 3% according to their 2012 Quarterly report located on their website with adjusted operating profit up 7% and earnings per share up a whopping 33%.

2013 Rogers Retention Plan 

It’s that time of year where I make the annual call to our communications company as our Rogers promotions are coming due.  I like to update this post with what we were offered or what they call the best “rich offer” they can give us for all of you to compare your deals.

Our end of promotion total bill for the 2012-2013 year was $149.71. Our new bill will be $153.55 which is a bit more but last years promotions were far better than what they are offering today. I’m still not sure what we will do with this promotional deal they offered us. Below is what Rogers offered us for the 2013-2014 year of promotions.

Rogers Wireless Cell Phone Retentions Deal

  • Cell Phone $31.12 includes 200 Weekday and Unlimited Weeknight and Weekend
  • 100 Any time Canadian Long Distance Minutes
  • 6 pm Early Evening Calling
  • Call Fwd, Call Transfer, Call Answer, Call Display Bundle
  • Bundle Discount
  • Total $31.12 (this is apparently the cheapest cell phone plan with Rogers)

Rogers VIP Cable Retention Deal

  • VIP Digital Cable
  • 1 FREE PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
  • HDTV Channel Pack
  • Bundle Discount 20%
  • Total $66.55

Rogers Home Phone Retentions Deal

  • Change from Classic Plan which is no longer available to the Favourites Plus Plan $19.99 month plus tax for 2 year promotion not a contract. It will cost $45.00 a month when the promo is done (I’m sure this will change as prices always go up)
  • 500 North American Long Distance Minutes (it will cost $5.00 extra when the promo is done)
  • Loss of Rogers to Rogers switching from Classic to Favourites
  • Total $22.95

Rogers Internet Retentions Deal

  • Rogers High Speed Lite
  • Bundle Discount 30%
  • Modem Charge $4.00
  • Total $32.93
Previous Rogers Retention Deals

Here is one true example back in 2010 we were paying just under $200 a month for 4 services or $2400.00 per year. In 2012 I received the same 4 services plus more for $159.68 or $1916.16 per year by calling retentions.

In 5 years at the 2012 rate we could have put $9580.80 down on the principal of our home. In 20 years that’s a whopping $38,323.20 although we know this cost will increase over the years. It really puts it into perspective when you see the average numbers over the long-term.

There are always price hikes with Rogers (most companies for that matter) for one reason or another so always keep in mind that your promotional price likely will go up over the course of the year. There is nothing they can do about it so you have to suck it up or leave which might mean you break a contract although their service agreement states:

If a change to a Month-Month Service of a Term Service entails an increase in your obligations or a decrease in your our obligations and if you do not accept such a change, you may terminate the affected Services without a Cancellation Fee by sending us a notice to that effect no later than 30 days after the amendment takes place.

So make sure you read the service agreement which you will find at the bottom of the Rogers Home page. It pays to stay informed because you can’t turn around and say you didn’t know if they offer it to you. If you are late paying your Rogers bill they will charge you a 2% late fee per month calculated and compounded monthly on an account that is not paid to the tune of 26.82% according to their service agreement.

Do we really need all those services?

Ask yourself the above question and if the answer is no cut out some of the services. We are looking at chopping some of the features we pay for this year such as a bundle pack on our cell phone.  We might cancel the VIP cable for Basic cable and find internet services elsewhere.

Before We Call Our Cable Retention Department

The first thing we do is sit down with our budget spreadsheet and look at our yearly total for our communications bills. Take the time to add yearly costs of your Cell Phone (s), Cable, Internet and Home Phone so you have the exact numbers. You can’t haggle a deal if you don’t know what you previously were spending. If you are a new customer you might have more ammunition for better start up deals so don’t be afraid to ask, they do want your business after all. 

If you have just completed this task I bet you are surprised to see costs in the thousands if not more per year for these services. In 2011 we spent $2030.09 for our Rogers services for the year. The next year in 2012 we paid$1807.25 to bundle our services with Rogers for the year through the retention department promotion pricing. That was a difference of $222.84 for the year which is better than nothing and for some a month of groceries in their grocery budget. So, we have home phone, cell phone, internet and cable with Rogers.

Your communication costs are all variable spending habits, meaning we really don’t need them at all. They are a luxury but one that shouldn’t break the budget in order to have them.

How To Negotiate 

If you want to learn how to negotiate with Rogers or whoever your communications provider is remember it’s a business. As a client you want to be professional and at least be prepared to make the phone call to haggle with them. Below is how I go about tackling my annual call to our communications company.

  • Write out your year to date totals for your communications bill and review your current bill for pricing.
  • Know when your service contracts are due and write this information down so you can prepare your negotiations ahead of time. ( I like to call the retention department one month or more before our promotions expire)
  • Keep junk mail from other cable and phone companies as you may need this information.
  • Search the internet for companies in your area that offer the services you need.
  • Call or Email these companies to get quotes on comparable items that you receive from your provider.
  • Tell them that your contract is coming to an end with your current provider and you are looking for the best deals.
  • Bundling your services with one provider may end in a better price but not always, research is best.
  • When you have all this information in front you then you are ready to do the next step, haggle with your current provider.
  • Typically there is a customer service number you can call to discuss your services. I like to call and ask for the Retention Department when calling Rogers or you can ask the cancellation department for retentions as they are the same people from what I was told from an agent today. 1-888-Rogers (7643)-1
  • When I reach the retentions associate I tell them I am potentially considering cancelling my services because I have found a better deal unless they are willing to negotiate with me. I am being honest as this will be my intention if they cannot match or beat a competitive quote that I have. It’s not a means of blackmail it’s just the way business goes just how they tell us there will be an increase in price for our services. Don’t just call and act like you are owed something, be considerate.
  • Be polite to the retentions agent on the phone, use their name just like they use yours as you are not aiming to cause a confrontation as they are simply doing their job.
  • Let them know what quote you received from a competitor comparing apples to apples(meaning for the exact same services) and for how much and ask them if they can meet or beat it.
  • If they say no you can either continue to negotiate, cancel your services or call back another day until you get the answer you want.

Almost 99% of the time these retention agents have given me better promotions than advertised or others have received. If you have been a long-standing customer with an excellent account use this to your advantage. Tell them how dedicated to the company you have been and wish to continue being although I’m pretty sure it’s obvious as they can see your account history. There’s nothing wrong with reiterating your commitment to their organization.

I also follow Red Flag Deals (RFD) “Hot Deals for Rogers Customers” at redflagdeals retention thread but I would also like our fans to post their internet, cable, home phone and cell phone deals here in our comment section so others can follow CBB Communication Retention Deals here!

Arm yourself with the best defence, in the end its your money, so spend it wisely.

Quote-Budget and Money

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Photo Courtesy of:123RF

January 2012 Monthly Budget

I know for me personally I like to see numbers when learning about how others budget. Since we are not financial gurus nor do we make substantial incomes I hope to attract others just like us and experts along the way.

*For a detailed explanation on each category you can read “How we designed our Budget Step 2“.

Keep in mind we may tweak it to fit current circumstances. I will do a monthly overview at the end of each month.

Mortgage-$1389                                  Monthly Actual-$1632.15

Utilities-$450                                       Monthly Actual-$549.72

Smokes-$121                                        Monthly Actual-$68.00

Car/House Insurance-$189.46          Monthly Actual-$189.46

Transportation-$150.00                    Monthly Actual-$176.70

Misc/Renovation-$125.00                 Monthly Actual-$193.79

Dog-$2.00                                             Monthly Actual-$2.00

Dentist-$5.00                                       Monthly Actual-$5.00

Vehicle Sticker/E-Test-$15.72          Monthly Actual-$15.72

Krown-$11.25                                       Monthly Actual-$11.25

Yearly Income Tax-$9.00                  Monthly Actual-$9.00

Work Expenses-$219.50                     Monthly Actual-$169.50

Christmas-$25.00                                Monthly Actual-$25.00

Groceries- $192.78                               Monthly Actual-$231.81

Entertainment-$7                                 Monthly Actual-$0

RRSP-$250.00                                      Monthly Actual-$250.00

TFSA-$517.00                                       Monthly Actual-$834.00

Life Ins.-$135.05                                   Monthly Actual-$135.05

Emergency Fund- $888.00                  Monthly Actual-$888.00

Allowance-$15                                        Monthly Actual-$0

Lottery-$12                                            Monthly Actual-$12

House Taxes-$283.50                           Monthly Actual-$283.50

Clothing-$10                                           Monthly Actual-$0

Total $5022.00                                      Total Spent:$5681.36

Over by: $659.36

Monthly Overview

We actually did fairly well this month compared to this time last year. We went over on our groceries and transportation however $100 will be reimbursed for gas (car).

Our TFSA overshot by $317.00 this month due to an error but we simply left it and corrected it for next month.

We used a total of $240.89 in coupons.

We gained a total of 43,810 Shoppers Optimum points worth just over $60.00 in reg redemption.

  • We were reimbursed $141.32 for transportation costs.
  • We received a cheque for $110.00 from Kitchen-aid for a mail in rebate.
  • We made $47.00 selling items on Kijiji.
  • We received a $15.00 Gift Card from Casey’s Restaurant in the mail.

Total Made: $373.32 in January above our net wages

There was a total of $58.16 made in overtime at work bringing our monthly net to $ 5022.00+ $58.16=$5080.16 plus what we made above $373.32=$5453.48

  • We Spent: $659.36 more than we made this month with that being an extra mortgage payment and $317.00 going to TFSA.
  • We will focus in February on grocery to bring this down to goal. We used a total of $100.00 in Gift Cards on groceries from Christmas putting over our target if we would have not used them.

We also paid for Hydro/Water this month which went up a bit with the Smart Meter although we watch this. I will talk more about this later.

  • 2010 Hydro-$284.61
  • 2011 Hydro-$312.84
  • 2012 Hydro-$313.70
  • Rogers monthly cost is $159.68 for Home Phone, Cell Phone, Internet, VIP Digital Cable, all 4 boxes free, 2x free PVR for a year. 
  • Union Gas went down this month compared to the previous 2 years
  • 2010 Gas-$80.06
  • 2011 Gas-$93.82
  • 2012 Gas-$76.34
UPDATE*** Starting in February we will be challenging all our readers to post their budget update along with us. At the end of the year I will draw a name from every entry in the  monthly comment section with a budget update for a prize! Join the budget train with us and see how far you can get. Working as a team is more inspirational towards attaining the end goal if you know you have to post it for us to read!**Happy Saving!

Photo compliments of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>