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We all have bills, it’s an inescapable part of adulting. But what we can do is control those bills so that they fit our needs instead of accepting and catering to the company’s demands.
Negotiating seems like a hard skill to learn, but with knowledge and practice, it becomes easier. Check out these seven different bills you can try and negotiate better rates.
1. Cable, TV and Internet Services
We’ve all seen the advertising, and maybe have switched services because there was a much lower offer elsewhere. But what happens when that introductory offer expires in six months to a year? Now you’re getting the regular rate which can be a huge difference.
Instead of switching to the next new introductory offer every time the price hikes (which can be expensive because we forget the installation fees), negotiate with them instead.
Try calling your provider and asking if there are any new deals available and work from there. If they refuse to negotiate then tell them you’ll consider switching providers then.
This usually spurs them in working with you, but if the sales agent states they don’t have the authority to do anything, ask to transfer to the customer retention department. This department has more power to cut deals with you.
I just recently switched internet providers after my current one flat-out told me “those are our prices, deal with it”. I now get internet service that’s 4x faster and at almost half as much as the previous one.
Check out this Amazon reference on how to cut your monthly bills – Electricity and Gas, Water, Grocery Shopping and your Car payments.
We know healthcare can be expensive, even with medical insurance there’s still co-pays, prescriptions, or even medical emergencies where we need to be admitted. These costs add up so much sometimes that medical debt is even the leading cause of bankruptcy among Americans.
But did you know you can negotiate your medical bills? Many hospitals and medical facilities are willing to work with you where you can either lower your bill or make smaller payments monthly. These places rather receive small payments rather than one large bill that possibly won’t get paid at all.
One more thing you can try is to contact the hospital’s financial assistance program. Many places have a charitable program where you can apply to have your medical bill forgiven if you can prove it will be a financial hardship for you and your family. My husband and I have had two different large medical bills forgiven in full because of our low incomes and disability.
Lastly, you can learn to go over your medical bills and spot billing errors and negotiate your way to a better payment plan in this Amazon book.
3. Credit Cards
You may not be able to negotiate the prices of things you bought with the card (unless it was an error or false charge), but there are other areas you can negotiate with them.
You can negotiate to remove:
- Late fees – If you missed a payment and got charged with a late fee, you can call and have that waived, but this is usually a one-time courtesy offered.
- Interest rates – Many consumers believe this is non-negotiable, but you can try and work a lower interest rate on your card. About 70% of people who ask do get a lower one.
- Annual rates – With many companies, you can ask to have your annual rate waived (and more than once).
- Hidden fees – Go through your account policies and look for hidden fees and negotiate to have those removed. Such as balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, foreign transactions, over-limit fees and more.
If you don’t believe that negotiating your credit card debts is worth your time. Maybe this book will change your mind. – the author eliminated $22,000 of credit card debt in 18 months!
Whether you’ve lived in a place for a long time or you’re hunting for a new one, the rent you pay isn’t set in stone.
There are several ways to negotiate a lower rent:
- Compare rents – Check out other places in the neighborhood and see if they’re renting for less and show your landlord.
- Sweeten the deal – Offer something in exchange for a lower rent, such as a longer lease, pay multiple months in advance, giving up the parking space for your unit, and other ideas.
- References – Show that you’re a good tenant to have.
- Offer services – Offer to do things around the property such as landscaping, maintenance, cleaning, administrative, etc. in exchange for a lower rent.
- Renovate – If you’re renting a house, offer to renovate the house and pay for supplies instead of rent. The landlord gets the receipts for tax purposes and you have a free place to stay.
Rent and mortgage payments can always be negotiated in different ways, it hurts your bank when you don’t try.
5. Cell Phone Service
Cell phones seem to be such a necessity these days. We are constantly blasted by advertising for family plans, free phones, free music or streaming plans if you go with their service.
Again, those offers are “introductory” offers and soon run out and you’re stuck with a higher monthly bill.
Start by checking what your monthly bill charges for, then check how much text, talk, and data usage you actually use every month to get an idea of exactly what you need service-wise. It may turn out you have a larger plan than you actually need, if your current provider doesn’t have a plan that fits your actual usage, you then can try and negotiate for one that does.
If your provider doesn’t want to adjust your plan, research how much that service would cost through different carriers. Once you have that information, call your provider back and see what they can do for you once you tell them their competitor’s prices.
Another option is to switch to a no-contract prepaid plan. These are usually much cheaper and you can pay as much or as little as you need – such as having less minutes available in summer when the kids are out of school (make them text through wifi).
Learn to negotiate with all your different insurance companies – home, auto, health, and life, for the best deal for you and your family.
Get a better deal by:
- Reading your policies thoroughly – Read what’s included in your current policies and see if there’s hidden addendums that you don’t need and ask to have those removed.
- Shop around – See what other companies offer and bring that to your current provider and see what they’ll offer now.
- Offer to pay in full – Some companies offer a large discount if you pay in full instead of monthly.
- Bundle – Not all companies offer this, but you can try and negotiate a lower payment for combining all of your policies together with one company.
Take advantage of discounts – Find out the different discounts your company offers and take advantage of them, such as:
- Anti-theft devices on your car
- Defensive driving courses
- A security system in the home
- Make your home more disaster-resistant
- Have a healthier lifestyle
The more information you have, the better chance you can lower these bills with your insurance providers.
I saved the worse one for last – your tax bill.
Negotiating with the IRS can be intimidating because they can do so much to us -garnish our wages, grab our assets, and place liens on our properties.
Now we can either pass off the job of negotiating to a tax attorney, or take these steps yourself:
- Agree to a long-term payment plan – Pay off in monthly installments at a reduced amount.
- Offer in Compromise – Offer a lump sum or short monthly payments if your bill is more than you can afford.
- Not currently collectible – A program where you prove you’re unable to pay your debt at all. You file a collections appeal and prove you have no resources to pay.
- Innocent Spouse relief – If you inherited your spouse’s debt and you can prove you fall within their innocent spouse guidelines for tax relief, you won’t be responsible for your late spouse or ex-spouse.
The running theme throughout this article is to do your research. Check competing prices and bring those up with who you’re negotiating with. Even if a company doesn’t advertise a “price match” service, they are more willing to lower their prices in order to keep you as a customer.
There are a few debts I haven’t covered here, but this great book will show you how to negotiate all of them. You can learn to negotiate and settle any of your debts successfully and save hundreds and even thousands of dollars in payments.
The book includes debt settlement letters, information on the Statute of Limitations, the IRS Debt Forgiveness laws, and many more sample letters and steps to follow.
Lastly, if you feel that you just don’t have the time or skills to negotiate you can download Trim and let it’s chat-bot do the work for you.
Debts and monthly payments may be a part of life, but you don’t have to stick with what they give you. Negotiate your way to a payment plan that fits you, not them.