It’s been said there are two things you can count on in life – death and taxes. I’d add a third to that list – bills. We can’t do anything about the first two, but bill negotiation strategies can help us manage the third.
While it’s impossible to legally avoid paying bills, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to save money. As a consumer, you have a powerful tool to lower your monthly bills – negotiation.
Asking for a lower price feels uncomfortable for many people, but bill negotiation strategies, if used properly, can save you significant money. Not all bills are negotiable, but many are and it doesn’t require a significant effort in most cases.
It may sound scary to do at first, but the worst someone can say is no so you don’t have anything to lose.
If you want to know how to negotiate bills and save money each month, our guide shares the steps to take plus bills you can successfully negotiate.
List of Bills You Can Negotiate
It’s not possible to negotiate all of your monthly bills. It’s unlikely you can negotiate your mortgage or your car payment. However, effective bill negotiation strategies help lower your expenses on various expenses.
Bills you can negotiate include:
- Cable or satellite bills
- Auto, Home, or Liability insurance
- Medical bills
- Internet service
- Mobile phone service
- Gym or health club memberships
- Interest rates on credit card debt
Your mileage will vary on each of the above. You may only receive a one-time savings, or the provider may offer an extended discount to help you save money quickly.
Some, like medical bills, may even offer a percentage discount if you pay your bill in full.
Strategies to Follow to Save Money
If you want to determine how to negotiate bills, the first step is to form a plan of attack. This homework will arm you with the necessary information to increase the chances of success.
Below are the top bill negotiation strategies to follow to save money each month on your expenses.
Being friendly is the best practice when trying to lower a bill. Customers should always try and keep calm when communicating with service providers. Even if the conversation isn’t going the way you hope, being nice is the best way to get what you want.
Picture whether you’d want to help a person over the phone who is acting rude. Would you be willing to help someone save money if they’re yelling at you? Likely not.
If you’re willing to cancel your service or switch to a competitor, state that nicely. This may not work in all cases but being nice goes a long way in receiving what you want. If you’re willing to cancel and can live without the service, go ahead and do that.
After a month or two you may even qualify to take advantage of a new customer promotion to get back with the provider.
Talk to Supervisors
One of the better bill negotiation strategies is to ask for a manager. In many cases, a manager or supervisor may be the only person who can authorize a lower cost.
Normal staff members don’t have the authority to change bills and it may have to come from someone who is higher up in the company.
The best strategy might be to ask for a supervisor right away but sometimes the company won’t let customers do that. If that’s the case, talk to a customer service rep and see if they can help.
If not, kindly ask to speak to a manager. Companies often record calls, so be persistent and they probably won’t have any other choice but to honor your request. Ultimately, companies would rather not lose a customer so it’s cheaper to offer a discount.
Be Willing to Downgrade
To get a cheaper bill, you might have to downgrade your service. Some companies are willing to charge customers a lower rate if they downgrade their service package.
This is what we did with our internet service. We realized that even though I work from home and we rely heavily on fast internet, we didn’t really need to pay as much as we were paying. We slightly downgraded our service and was able to lower our bill.
This isn’t always the case though as it really depends on the company. Some companies only have one package so if that’s the case then this strategy wouldn’t apply.
Know Your Alternatives
In performing your due diligence, it’s vital to learn what competitors offer. The best way to do this is through an internet search. Simply use the following search term “name of the provider + promotion” to find potential deals.
This will take a little bit of your time but can pay off through a reduced price. Use the information and rates you learn when you call the provider and ask them to match it. Again, it’s far cheaper for them to match than to lose you as a customer.
Pay Bills on Time
Perhaps the best way to prepare for bill negotiation is to be a good customer and pay your bills on time. Paying your bills on time is one of the best bill negotiation strategies to use as it means you provide value to the company.
Some companies will be willing to negotiate lower prices for customers who have been timely with payments.
I’ve used this strategy for my home alarm system. I called the company after a year of having them and asked for a lower price. They mentioned that since we didn’t miss a payment for the first 12 months, they’d lower our bill by $10 per month.
This frees up $120 for the year that we can put toward other needs. Some companies will take care of their customers if they pay on time. Not every company will offer this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Most bill negotiation strategies include the same things:
- Being kind
- Being a good customer
- Using common sense
- Doing your due diligence
Again, your savings will vary, but a little effort often results in saving money.
Top Bill Negotiation Services
Do you need help paying bills now, or want to lower them, but the thought of negotiating scares you? Or, does it seem like a lot of effort? If so, you can use bill negotiation services to do the work for you.
Just keep in mind that with most services they will not cancel something without notifying you first, giving you the ability to overrule any cancelation you wish.
Below are the best bill negotiation services that work on your behalf to save money.
Trim helped users save over $1 million per month, according to their website. When you open an account, they connect to your bank account to analyze your bills. From there, Trim determines how much savings they can score for users.
There is no fee for the basic Trim account. Their system supports over 15,000 financial institutions. One of Trim’s popular features is their bill negotiation service. After they determine your regular monthly bills, they work with providers to lower your bill.
If Trim does save users money, they take 33 percent of the total yearly savings. So, if they save a user $10 a month for the year, Trim keeps $39.60 of the $120 savings.
Trim most commonly negotiates cable and internet bills and they have a 70 percent success rate on negotiating lower prices for customers.
Cable and internet services are where Trim shines, helping users secure a savings of up to 30 percent. Some of the providers they successfully negotiate with include:
- Dish Network
- Time Warner
If you have recurring subscriptions you don’t use, Trim can cancel those for you as well to reap savings.
Check out our Ask Trim review to learn more about the service.
Billshark advertises that they’re successful in saving their customer’s money 85 percent of the time on certain bills. Furthermore, they let you figure the possible savings through a calculator on the site.
The success of Billshark is due, at least in part, to their guarantee. If a service provider doesn’t hold up their end of an agreement, Billshark will work to resolve the situation or fully refund your savings fee.
Billshark can help you lower bills such as:
- Cable and satellite providers
- Home Security
- Pest Control
Fees for Billshark’s expertise and negotiation are 40 percent of what you’ll save. If you don’t save, there are no fees.
Read our Billshark review to learn more about the service.
BillCutterz is another bill negotiation service that works to lower bills for users. All you have to do is send in your bills and BillCutterz will do their best to get them lowered. They’ve helped thousands of users save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their bills.
*Related: Do you want to save a lot of money this year? Read our guide on how to save $10,000 in a year to beef up your savings account.*
BillCutterz negotiates the following bills:
- Cable and satellite providers
- Internet service
- Phone – both cell and landline
- Home security service
- Insurance providers
BillCutterz does take a 50 percent cut of the savings they find. So, if the yearly savings turns out to be $240, or $20 per month, they’ll ask for $10 every month.
You get an additional ten percent discount off their rates if you pay for a year of savings up front.
They help negotiate with hundreds of providers and local companies. However, they can’t help with credit card bills, medical bills, or unregulated utilities. Also, all of your accounts must be current.
You can read our review of Billcutterz to learn more about the platform.
Truebill is another company that can initiate bill negotiation strategies on your behalf. Like Trim, Truebill connects to your bank account to look for savings opportunities.
Truebill focuses on helping customers manage subscriptions, lower bills, and be more in tune with their financial life. Truebill has an app which makes it easy to log in and manage your account.
They’ll monitor subscriptions and get them canceled if that’s what you prefer. They organize all of your subscriptions on a single calendar to help you see what you’re spending.
The app organizes your spending by the largest and most frequent purchases you make. This can help customers develop a strategy to tackle bills and identify which ones they need to reduce.
Like Trim, Truebill negotiates lower prices with service providers. There is no upfront charge for this, but they do keep 40 percent of the annual savings if they successfully negotiate a lower price.
Check out our Truebill review to learn more about the service.
It’s easy to miss overspending on your monthly bills. It’s to your benefit to work to negotiate lower pricing to stay in line with the recommended budget percentages by category and have more money to do with as you please.
By following a few simple bill negotiation strategies, you can save money each month. If the thought of negotiation is overwhelming, a bill negotiation service is a great option.
Even though they take a cut of the savings, it’s better than continuing to needlessly overpay for a service. After all, saving something is better than saving nothing.
Have you ever tried negotiating your bills? What’s your go-to option to lower your bills? What concerns do you have about a bill negotiation service working on your behalf?