(WHTM) — As the cost of living keeps increasing, many residents feel it each time they open their monthly bills. But there are ways to get better deals on services like cable, cell, and internet with just a phone call.

Inflation has been pushing up the cost of many Americans’ monthly bills, but many people could probably be paying less. Service companies have protocols for giving customers better offers, but they count on never being asked about them.

Consumer Reports writer Mandy Walker shares the steps to get a better deal. First, she says, people should take a good look at their monthly bills.

“See if there’s anything you don’t need anymore that you’re paying for, like high-speed internet because the kids were gaming but now they’re at college, or cell phone insurance but now your cell phone is six or seven years old,” Walker said.

Then consumers should compare their bill with the discounts on their current provider’s website and check competitors’ websites, too, for “discounts they’re giving new clients or existing clients, so you’ve got all this information you can use as leverage when you call,” Walker said.

For an extra boost, people can call the customer service line when the senior employees are typically working — usually weekdays from 9 to 5 — and immediately ask for the retention department.

“Those people, their job is to keep you as a customer, and they’ve got access to the really good deals that customer service won’t have,” Walker said.

Walker also says to ask open-ended questions rather than yes-or-no questions. “Say, for example, ‘What kind of deals do you have that I’m not taking advantage of?’ They might even throw out a deal that you weren’t even aware of, that you didn’t even see in your research, and you might get an even better rate,” Walker explained.

Don’t jump at the first offer, Walker recommended as well. “Don’t hesitate to say, ‘Thank you very much, but I was really hoping to get this other deal. Can you match that?'” Walker suggested.

Once people are done negotiating, they should get the final offer in writing and double-check their next bill to make sure the company lowered it by the correct amount.

Consumers can also try repeating these steps to lower other bills for things like their home alarm systems or pest control services.