In response to our recent writeup of how communications costs continue to rise, one reader advocated a highly aggressive approach to bargain-hunting:
Call your provider (calling is necessary in this case). Tell them that you aren't happy with the cost of your service and ask what they can offer you. Do this once a month. It's surprising how well this works.
Now, I'm all for trying to score a bargain, but it seems to me that once a month would be somewhat excessive and counter-productive. Not only will you waste hours on the phone, but eventually your provider is likely to point out that your deal has already changed repeatedly. It's a truism that it's much cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, but not if the new customer is on the phone seeking better deals all the time. And if you end up on a 12-month contract, why will they care until month 11? So monthly is probably overkill, but the exact limit is probably up for debate. How often can you squeeze a better deal out of your phone company or ISP?