How I Saved NIS 3600 in 40 Minutes


Talia Klein Perez offers money-saving tipsThis is a guest post by Talia Klein Perez.  

Over the last year, our government passed laws that favor consumers, mainly canceling the high fines we have had to pay to leave one service provider for another.

With the current formula, you pay 8% of your monthly bill times the number of months you have left.

You can calculate your fines yourself over at the Bezeq website.

 

I hadn’t been taking advantage of the new deals, but about a month ago I realized I am paying WAY more insurance than I was paying before.  So I started making phone calls.

These are my savings after about 40 minutes of work (over a few weeks, I didn’t have time to do it at once):

  • Cell phone: 150 shekel savings
  • Life insurance (mortgage): 15 shekels savings
  • Apartment insurance (contents): 470 shekels a year, 39 shekel savings per month
  • Internet infrastructure and Bezeq line: 46 shekels savings
  • Internet provider: 20 shekels savings
  • Credit card: 15 shekels savings

I haven’t touched my car insurance (I am paid through February) or my homeowners insurance (paid through March), but I will get better deals there, too – guaranteed. I won’t move from Yes to HOT because I don’t like their content. I’d rather cancel satellite if we need to, so no savings there for now.

Most of these savings are pretty small, but they add up to over 300 shekels a month (3600 annually). That comes out to 6 packs of diapers, or 2 extracurricular activities for the kids or a savings account for college, or for those of us not thinking about kids yet: A kickass weekend in Europe.

Altogether, I think it took me around 40 minutes to change all of these.

Here are my tips:

  1. Do NOT let the fact that you are not a native Hebrew speaker get in the way. Either ask a friend to help or just insist. You can use Kamaze to compare prices.  Before you call your current provider, call the competition to get quotes.
    It takes an hour to get a customer support representative, but only 1 minute to get a sales person. Take advantage of that. If it’s an insurance policy, ask them to fax/email you a copy of the policy so you can compare coverage.
  2. Don’t threaten the rep. There’s a limit to what they can offer you anyway. Save time and ask for shimur lekuhot (customer retention).
  3. Decide ahead of time what price you’re willing to accept. I could have saved another 7 shekels per month by switching my Internet infrastructure, but it wasn’t worth it: I already saved the 46 shekels without any hassle.
  4. Keep an organized list of all of your providers that can change: Insurances, cell phone, Internet, etc. One month before you’re supposed to renew, start calling around. You can fill out forms online to have them call you. Save yourself the phone call  and long wait 🙂 Even though companies are legally obligated to list when your plan ends, none of us really look at the list and suddenly pay 50 shekels per month more for the exact same service. Here’s the Excel file I use, you can just download it and use it yourself.
  5. Know that new customers always get better deals than existing customers. One rep actually yelled at me on the phone that the new company I moved my insurance to will hike up the price after the first year, too. I told him that for a savings of 470 shekels, I can handle a 5-minute phone call and switch again.
  6. Don’t let ANYONE stress you into signing/switching over. Take your time. If you do this ahead of time, you aren’t stressed and don’t fall into renewing your package and a much higher price.
  7. It’s better to call the cell companies than go to their service centers. They usually have better prices than the centers, and as a bonus they can’t guilt you into signing anything. This is how I saved my mother-in-law 150 shekels on her cell bill AND she got a new smartphone in the process.
  8. Talk to your friends. Ask them what they pay. Use this to negotiate (my Twitter friends helped me get my MIL the better package).
  9. Seriously, don’t do your mortgage insurance through the bank. It’s easier, but SO much more expensive. if possible, try to get a deal for all the mortgage insurances together, you can get good bundle deals. Life insurance has no commitment and you can change it at any time.
  10. Don’t take additional equipment from the suppliers, like routers. There’s no law about these so even if you can leave for cheap, you will end up paying a lot of money for the router. A great router costs less than 200 shekels. Invest in one so you can leave your Internet infrastructure supplier whenever you’d like. Invest in a router than will allow you cable AND ADSL so you can freely move between Bezeq and HOT (they work different ways).
  11. Don’t ever pay monthly dues for a credit card outside your bank (like Superpharm and Sufersal). Call them if they start charging and tell them you want to cancel your card. They will give you another year free of maintenance fees every time, without even talking to a manager.
  12. Mizrahi Tefahot will give you the Superpharm card for free for 2 years. We’ll take one when we have a kid and have real use for the card.
  13. Do your parents/grandparents a favor if they are in Israel. They probably haven’t updated their packages in years and are paying more for 2.5 mb than you are paying for 15. I asked about packages for both of us at the same time and got us all kinds of good offers. Bonus: Grandma will think you are the bomb.

I’m sure I have more tips, but I can’t think of them now. If you have any, write them below in the comments. The price of housing and cheese hasn’t changed, but you can still affect your monthly expenses. Be proactive!

Talia Klein Perez can be found on Twitter or at her website, Daughter of CancerThis post appeared originally on Facebook, along with a Hebrew translation.

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Comments

  1. Great article, and a terrific headline.

    I’ll just add that everything is negotiable (to a point) but precedence can be important too. Just like in salary negotiation where your boss can give you a raise relative to your current salary, your providers will constantly ‘motivate’ you to upgrade with deals that are relative to how much you’re currently paying. Case in point: I negotiated hard for a good Internet package 4 years ago, and I’m still reaping the benefits even though I’ve upgraded twice since then.

  2. Very good advice all around.

    I noticed that all sorts of insurance companies are advertising like crazy. The AIG jingle is now in my head. And something about buying your car insurance at the post office. Really? I only go in there when I have no choice.

    BTW, I notice that you make no mention of saving money on what the bank is gouging you. I guess that’s not too easy to get around.

    • Hi Ari – I didn’t write it because I actually switched banks in August when my husband and I opened a joint account and got a great deal, so I didn’t think about it now. You can definitely shop around with banks, and honestly this advice goes for everything you have that is switchable (like it won’t work with electricity bills). I didn’t really shop around that much, Mizrahi Tefahot offered us such great stuff (and I’m LOVING them so far) that I didn’t really do to much beyond that (we did get offers from our current banks, but they weren’t nearly as awesome).

  3. Interesting article. Over here in the U.S.A. insurers are increasing rates overnight based on credit scores alone. This is known as your F.I.C.O. score from the ominouse Fair Issac Coorporation. So you could go without an accident or claim of anytype for years but if you forget to pay on a bill to the point it dings your credit score you may have just upped your insurance rates for years. This is why insurance companies and banks are the largest. They get a piee of everybody’s pie.

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