This Reddit-Approved Tip Could Help Your Parents (And You) Save Hundreds on Utility Costs

published Nov 7, 2019
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While most of us are concerned about protecting our aging parents, one Reddit user in the “LPT” or Life Pro Tips subreddit shared an important lesson about protecting their parents’ financial wellbeing. The user discovered that their parents were paying exorbitant bills for normal amenities like electricity and and cable. They writes “LPT: If you have aging parents, go through their bills with them and make sure they’re paying fair market price for things like cable and energy. My parents were paying over $750 a month for electricity and over $400 for cable.”

The poster continues, explaining that their parents had signed up for these plans years ago, but the bill just kept increasing long after their expiration. 

“I was furious by the time I caught it,” the user writes, adding that they now can sign onto their accounts, and set reminders notifying the parents when different contracts expire so massive fees aren’t accrued.

“I got both bills down to a little less that $200,” the user shared.

Now, it’s not just your parent’s utilities that could be marked-up: Yours could be too! But it’s likely that due to time accumulating and changes in the market, it’s more likely that the elderly are overpaying for their services than someone who has just opened an account less than a decade ago.

Now what to do to lessen the amount of utility bills and other services? The user suggested negotiating to current promotions—or at least the going market rate—or moving them to another another company.

“The energy bill I moved, the cable bill I just called and got the current promotion for a year,” they added.

In the comments section, several responders chimed in with similar situations in which they realized family members were being grossly overcharged for ridiculous or outdated amenities. For example, one user discovered that his dad was paying a $5 rental fee for his home phone—not the line, but the actual phone—for 20 years. Another discovered his uncle was paying for an email address.

One user reminded readers to keep in mind that repair companies may target elderly people, encouraging them to have costly and unnecessary changes made:

“Repair companies also scare the elderly with ’emergency’ items that are not needing repair,” they wrote. “Had some of the people I use go to my mothers house on one occasion and [there] was literally nothing wrong with her AC unit, but her repair company has her convinced her [AC] was going to go out in the summer.”

The verdict? Ask your parents what they pay for any reoccurring expenses—you just might help them save a ton of money each month. (And while you’re at it, make sure you’re paying market rate, too!)

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