Never Be Afraid to Ask: Negotiating Your Bills
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These last few weeks have been frustrating as we're still receiving bills from our second daughter's birth.
We expected most of it, but there have been a few that caught us off guard. They range from $12 to about $350.
I'm all for paying what is due, but I also want to make sure we're being charged the correct amount.
I requested itemized bills, so once they are confirmed to be accurate, then we'll pay them.
Negotiating Your Bills
To help counteract all this money leaving, I'm going over all of our regular monthly bills and seeing if we can cut them back.
My inspiration is J's Challenge Everything series. He evaluated all of his expenses and found some ways to hack his bills down.
After seven months he's accumulated almost $4,000!
We could use that kind of money to help kill the student loan and boost our net worth to reach our financial goals this year.
The first on our list? Our internet service.
Ask and You Shall Receive (a Discount)
Honestly, I had no intention of canceling my plan because I need my internet to work from home.
So when I spoke with the customer service representative I told her the situation- we had a little one and we're reevaluating all of our bills.
If you do plan on canceling your service if you don't get a certain offer, be upfront with that.
Let them know they will lose a customer that day unless you get a competitive rate. We've done that before and got some significant savings.
Our ten-minute phone call result in lowering our monthly bill by 15%. She also suggested going ahead and getting a modem so we can drop the monthly rental charge.
Between the two changes, we should save $160 by the end of this year. Not a ton, but certainly useful.
More importantly, we've lowered our monthly obligations, giving us a bit more buffer between our income and expenses – a nice win in my book.
Need Help with Lowering Your Bills?
To be able to negotiate, you do have to set aside some time to knock these phone calls out. Unfortunately for some couples, that's not always an option.
If you two are struggling to take care of the negotiating in between your day to day routine, here are some tools and apps that can make things easier.
- Trim: With Trim, you can cancel subscriptions and negotiate your bills.
- Billshark: They contact your service providers and negotiate the best price on your behalf.
- Paribus: Bought something and a week later the price drops? Paribus can get you back the difference.
With these services, a fraction of the money you save pays for service. So while it's not technically free, it's money you would've spent anyway so it could be a smart move for really busy couples.
Thoughts on Bills
I'd love to hear about how you keep your bills in check. How often do you call up your providers and ask for a better deal?
How successful were you? Any tips on getting a lower price?