If you’re one of the many Americans who have a cell phone, cable, internet, or credit card bills, are you sure that you are paying the lowest rates possible? One thing you should know is that most everything is negotiable. Typically, there is no set rate that everyone pays because it is based on things such as promotional rates, whether or not you’re a good customer and make timely payments, or your credit score. If you have an hour to spare today or tomorrow, here are some effective ways to lower your bills.
The key word being nicely, you’re more likely to be successful if you’re being a kind and pleasant person. Recently I called my internet service provider to talk about my current bill and to find out if there was any way to lower my rate. I talked about offers from other providers and asked if there was anything they could do since I really enjoyed being their customer and wouldn’t want to deal with the hassle of changing. Just like that they lowered my monthly bill by $5! It’s not much but it saves me $60 a year which can add up especially with other successful negotiations with other providers.
The next thing we did is go through the bill line by line and discussed what each charge was and whether I needed it or how it benefited me. Turns out I was renting some kind of box from them for $8 a month when it is something I can purchase from Best Buy for $30! There you go, another $96 dollars saved a year from one provider! I would recommend doing this with all your bills. For example, with cell phones bills, are you paying for insurance you don’t necessarily need or taking advantage of employer discounts with those companies?
Don’t Get Distracted
When calling to negotiate your bill, don’t get distracted with the offers they will surely dangle in front of you. Sure, two months of free HBO is great but it isn’t the real reason why you called. Tell them just that! “Sure, I would love the two months of free HBO but I really need to focus on my total monthly payment to ensure I’m sticking to our household budget. Are you the right person to help me with that?” Again, when you call with a mission all the while being your normal, friendly-self, you are more likely to be successful in your efforts.
Hire Someone To Do It For Your
If the thought of negotiating terrifies you, or you simply don’t have the time, there are several services out there which can lower your bills for you. One of the most well-known is a company called BillCutterz. You send them a copy of your bill, they call on your behalf, and they will negotiate your rates down on everything from cable, internet, and cell phone bills to things like home security and gym memberships. You only pay if they create savings for you. The cost is 50% of your savings so if they save you $20 a month, you end up paying $10 a month for 12 months. However, if you end up paying 12 months up front you would receive an additional 10% discount. So from the example above your total savings would be $240 a year, you would pay BillCutterz $120 over 12 months or if you paid that $120 in full you would actually pay a discounted price of $108. A win-win!!
Some of the other companies that do this are ShrinkABill and BillFixers. All three of these companies are reputable companies and are successful in lowering rates for their customers. Do not be alarmed if they ask for your personal information such as the last four of your social or mother’s maiden name because depending on your bill provider they may require this to call on your behalf. The bills these companies cannot work on are typically medical bills, insurance and credit cards so you still may have some of your own negotiating to do!
If You Live In Texas
If you are a Texas resident you are able to take advantage of an awesome company that I recently learned about called Energy Ogre. They charge $10 a month to do one job and one job only! Because Texas is a deregulated state for our electricity providers, we are able to choose any company we want to provide electricity to our homes and businesses. The problem is that there are so many companies out there it is hard to know who is providing the best deal. That’s Energy Ogre’s job! They do all the research to find out who is offering the best rates AND they even switch providers on your behalf. After signing up there is nothing more you need to do! I love it!
Update: As of 1/22/2017, Energy Ogre is on track to save me over $1,200 this year by switching me between providers!!
Do you have any successful tips for negotiating your bills?
Disclaimer: I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM (CFP®), but I am not your CFP® or financial advisor. The information in this article is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This article does not create a financial planner-client relationship. The author is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions of failure to act related to the content in this article. If you need specific financial advice, consult with a licensed financial advisor or CFP® who can tailor advice regarding your specific circumstances. Additionally, sometimes I use affiliate links to support my website. This means I may earn a small commission, which is no additional cost to you, for referring and discussing products and services that I personally use, or have used, and trust. Thanks for your support!