How to Negotiate a Bill
So, one of the things I do near the end of every month is look at money in and money out. I basically do an audit of my very own bank account and ask myself questions like, “why do I love Starbucks so much” and “do I need to spend that much money on makeup?”
But besides the obvious, I also look at the not so obvious things. Has my car insurance slowly gone up over the last 4 months? Or, did I get charged for something recurring on my bank account that I really don’t recall signing up for (there’s an app called True Bill that I use that actually alerts me when something is recurring so I can see it) and should I cancel? I’ve realized that many times when a bill increases, it’s not because of the fact that I suddenly owe more, it’s usually because a company decides to up the price on me for some idiotic reason because they think I won’t notice.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve successfully become a master at bill negotiation. And, guess what? It usually took about 25 minutes on the phone each time and I’ve saved myself anywhere from $50 to $200 a year. Here are some examples:
1. SIRIUS XM: I love my Sirius XM. Craig and I are dedicated listeners of the Howard Stern Show. That guy is hilarious! This is a company that profits from most listeners who decide to sign up on a good deal ($106 for a year) and then don’t notice when they get charged $250 a year later for that same subscription. Not me, folks. That’s a hefty price tag and I could be spending that extra cash on Starbucks. For the last two years, I’ve kindly called Sirius XM’s customer service and asked that they renew my subscription for the same price that was part of my initial deal and customer service has kindly granted my wish. One of the two times, I did have to threaten to cancel my subscription when they told me there were currently “no deals at that time,” and conveniently they transferred me to another customer service rep who said she found me the deal I wanted after all. Go, figure. The point is this is one bill you can almost cut in half if you’re willing to make the call.
2. TIME WARNER/SPECTRUM CABLE: So, a couple of months ago, my bills went from $59.99 to like $80 out of nowhere. I thought it was beyond weird so I called the company and mentioned that I didn’t know why my bill would be more expensive, and they actually brought it back down to the same price and even gave me a better internet package (or, so they said). I truly don’t know what led to the increase but all I did was call and not only did I manage to snag a better deal but I let them know I watch my bill!
3. YOUR RENT BILL: Okay, this one will come as the biggest shocker, but folks, if you live in an older home or apartment and you’re paying rent, you should negotiate with your landlord if you’re having to regularly pay for things out of pocket. My landlord has been awesome and every time we have to replace a smoke detector or a broken bathroom fan, he lets us itemize the receipt and then deduct it from the rent. That’s saved us about $300 this year. If you’re investing in the place that you don’t own, it’s always worth asking. Other ways you can save on bills? Go paperless and also if you can afford it, sign up for auto-draft. Verizon Wireless is a great example of this. I save $60 a year by letting them draft it out of my bank account! That’s 12 upsides down caramel macchiatos at Starbucks!! Also, shout out to Verizon for coming up with a pretty awesome rewards program that does give you a little something back after you pay a few bills. But seriously, there’s plenty of companies that do give a discount if you set up payment the way you like and hey, it saves you time from having to go on there and pay a bill.
At the end of the day though, if you see a bill randomly take a hike and you don’t know why, don’t be afraid to call customer service and ask. Every dollar counts and you may be leaving money on the table that could be spent elsewhere. Let me know if any of these tricks save you money! I want to hear from you.