Are you paying too much for your bills? You might be surprised at how much money you can save by negotiating with your service providers. These tips can help you save money and avoid being overcharged on your living expenses for a variety of bills you pay each month.
How Much Can You Save?
Your savings amount will vary on the types of bills you can negotiate a lower price. Sometimes, you can save a few dollars each month while you can save hundreds of dollars in other instances. Even if you can only trim a few dollars off each bill, that will still be more money in your pocket every month. You can use BillFixers’ handy calculator to see how much you may be able to save.
One area to begin looking that you might be overcharged on is utility bills. You might be able to save a few dollars every month by signing up for paperless billing and automatic payments. Not only do you save a tree, but, the utility company will also withdraw the payment amount on the same date each month and prevent you from getting charged a late fee when you forget to send payment.
A home mortgage can be another easy way to reduce your monthly payments. If you are still paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), paying 20% of the original borrowed balance will automatically cancel the PMI charges and reduce your monthly payment.
Refinancing for a lower interest rate can also save you money. Before you apply for refinancing, calculate the closing costs and loan application fees. While you might save money with lower interest payments, the additional loan fees will erase a portion of your savings potential.
You can save money on your various insurance policies by raising your deductible. This will require you to pay more money out of pocket when you file a claim, but, can save you money if you never end up submitting a claim.
Another way you can save money is getting policy quotes from different providers. Switching insurance providers can save you hundreds of dollars each month on your insurance products. Bundling your auto, homeowner’s, and rental insurance can also get you an additional discount.
Credit Cards and Medical Debt
If you have credit card debt or medical debt, you might be able to negotiate a payment plan with the credit card company or care provider. You might be able to get a lower interest rate for a brief period if you make a good faith effort to repay the balance in full.
Another option you might also consider is consolidating these bills into a personal loan that can potentially give you a lower interest rate and a longer repayment term.
Though you can’t refinance federal student loans with the government, itself, you may be eligible to do so through a private bank or lender. Over the past decade, federal student loan interest rates have ranged from 3.76% to 7.90%. Nowadays, however, private lenders offer rates as low as 2.39% for eligible borrowers who want to refinance their student loans.
Refinancing can save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your student loans. Only those who are not dependent on federal benefits or programs should consider refinancing with a private lender. Some of the things you would be giving up by refinancing includes access to income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness, and deferment/forbearance protections.
If you have private student loans, there is almost no reason not to refinance to a lower rate if you are eligible.
Subscription Services Including Cable TV and Cellphones
Two areas where you might have the most success negotiating a lower bill are for subscription services like cable tv, cell phones, and streaming services.
A simple way to choose a cheaper plan. For example, downgrading to a cell phone data plan with 2GB per line instead of 4GB or unlimited. For cable, you can switch to a package with fewer channels.
You can also call the customer service line or visit the company’s website to view the current specials. Sometimes you can request to be moved to the new packages that can be cheaper than your existing plan. For example, cell phone plans usually continue to offer more benefits for the same prices as carriers fiercely compete for each package.
How to Negotiate for Lower Bills
Negotiation might not come naturally to many of us because we often think we need to pay the retail price if we want to use the service, but in reality paying retail almost always means you’re being overcharged.. To negotiate lower bills, follow these steps:
- Check their website for the current deals and product rates
- Make any changes on the Internet first as if lowering your bill only requires a few mouse clicks
- If your changes cannot be made online, speak to a representative and tell them your situation and see how they can help. Always be polite and ask for a manager when necessary.
When you speak to a customer representative, be specific about what you want to negotiate. If you are having trouble paying your bills, they might offer a reduced rate until you can get back on your feet. Sometimes, a representative will have more flexibility in helping adjust your bill because of the “human element.”
Nobody likes to pay more than they have to. While some bills might not be negotiable, other companies are willing to offer discounts by making changes to your billing and payment preferences. If you are a loyal customer, they will even be willing to help you financially to ensure your account remains in good stand. Sometimes, all it takes to lower your bills is a simple phone call.