As a personal finance blogger and an individual who is, quite frankly, obsessed with this money management game, I'm always looking for ways to save myself some money.
I recently interviewed Lauren Greutman, author of the newly released The Recovering Spender for my Make Money Your Honey podcast, and she opened my eyes to the fact that some of our bills are actually negotiable.
I find that most people have one of three problems when negotiating their bills. They either don't know which bills can be negotiated, don't have the time to call up their service providers to negotiate, or they are terrified of negotiating.
In this article, I'm going to address all three issues so you can start saving yourself some money.
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The Bills You Didn’t Know You Could Negotiate
Contrary to popular belief, most of your bills are not set in stone. In fact, you'll be surprised to learn that you can negotiate all of the following:
● Cell phone
● Insurance rates (Including, but not limited to, auto and health)
● Some utilities
● APR on debts (Like credit cards.)
● Some subscriptions
● Almost anything if you try
The reality is that the old saying, "Everything is negotiable" is basically true. The reason is because it costs less money for service providers to retain customers by giving them a deal than it does to lose them and try to acquire a new customer.
How to Find the Time To Negotiate Your Bills
As much as I like to save money, I tend to live in the "Make More Money" world. Quite frankly, I'm busy. I don't want to spend hours calling all my service providers in an effort to save a few bucks when I can just go earn more in my business.
Granted, this is not an excuse. I should still try to save money. Additionally, not everyone is in my same position where they can just go earn more on a whim.
However, regardless of your employment situation, everyone is busy. That's why I was psyched to find out about bill negotiation services like BillCutterz, TrueBill, and Trim. The first service will negotiate bills on your behalf while the other two will cancel subscriptions you're not using.
I've only used BillCutterz at this point, and within 24 hours of signing up and sending them my cell phone bill, they'd negotiated a $10 courtesy credit on my behalf. They'll also send me an email in a few months to see if I'd like to negotiate again.
Now, because it was only $10, I get to keep the entire savings. However, if they save more I do have to fork over 50% of the money saved (though I can save 10% if I pay the invoice upfront), but that still saves me money and most importantly, time.
Getting Over the Fear of Negotiation
Another thing that stops people from negotiating their bills is the fear of negotiation. The services mentioned above can help you avoid the negotiation part all together, but if you don't want to fork over a percentage of the savings, there are resources that can teach you how to negotiate.
Two of my favorite resources for negotiating bills are Lauren Greutman's book, which I mentioned in the beginning of this article, and Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Both books give you scripts and tactics you can use to successfully negotiate your bills.
I actually used Ramit Sethi's approach to negotiate a higher credit limit on my business credit card. It didn't save me money, but it did improve my credit score by reducing my debt to credit ratio which can save me money on interest down the road.
Don't be afraid to speak up and ask for a better rate. What's the worst they can do? Say no. That's it. No one is going to ban you from the internet because you had the gall to ask Verizon for a discount. Whether you do it yourself or use a service, don't miss out on the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars.