5 tips to lower the cost of your bills

Louis Costello, originally published on Lifehacker
As we ride out a global pandemic and many jobs remain affected, the ability to renegotiate bills has become a necessary skill. Here are a few pointers to give everyone the best shot of trimming the financial fat. This article was originally published on Lifehacker Australia.
lifehacker logo Louis Costello, originally published on Lifehacker

Have a plan in place

Be familiar with your options

Here’s a list of bills you can and can’t negotiate, from rent all the way to your Foxtel subscription.

  • Rent: Negotiable
  • Mortgage repayments: Negotiable
  • Phone, energy and internet bills: Negotiable
  • Insurance: Negotiable, but proceed with caution
  • Streaming services: Opting out is the easiest outcome.

Before negotiating particular bills, it might be wise to gather evidence of other people in a similar situation who have successfully renegotiated theirs. The more information you bring to the table, the better.

Be prepared to meet halfway

If you’re expecting companies and services to go easy on you, you have to be willing to reciprocate somewhat. Approach the situation by preparing your request and providing evidence for how you came to the number you’re asking for.

For example, if you’ve found a competing provider offering lower rates than the ones you’re currently getting, use that information when you’re speaking to the representative. If you’re quoting the lower price of a competitor, it will be much harder for them to argue that they can’t match it – and if they can’t, it’s within reason for you to look elsewhere.

But a little tip: make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. You don’t want to quote a price you think is better, only to find out it’s because it isn’t the same as what you’re comparing it to. Insurance coverage is a good example.

Make your calls during the week

If you’re hoping to get through to a service provider without having to wait on hold for hours on end, your best bet is to call up during regular work hours.

Simply put, every man and his dog will be trying to get through to them on a weekend as that’s when people often put aside time for the errands, so avoiding peak hour will be a much more efficient move. Give yourself the full hour of your lunch break so you can go through all your points without rushing.

Know your negotiating power

Remember: companies want your business

At the end of the day, companies want you to stay with them, so you immediately have a leg up when you’re trying to save some money.

Here’s a little anecdote: my mother had been with the same phone provider for years, and when she realised how much more money she was paying for the same deal as other telco companies, she gave them a buzz. She explained that she doesn’t want to switch companies while also pointing out the price difference, and just like that, they lowered her monthly bill. That’s not to say this will work all the time, but by simply asking the question, you may be able to save some money.

Keep tabs on who’s charging what

As a general rule of thumb, it’s a banking no-brainer to turn on your Easy Alert banking notifications so you can start monitoring all of your direct debits.

After a month, you’ll be able to see what’s coming out of your account for services you may have forgotten about or no longer need, and you can cancel them – or call and ask for a reduction – as soon as you’re notified.

Keep reading

Check out the other articles that are part of this content partnership below, or see our range of other handy guides.

Learn how to pick up habits that can help you save more.

Get some handy tips to manage the subscriptions linked to your account.

Learn how to save, no matter how your account’s looking.

Find out how to manage your money the moment it hits your account.

Learn some handy tips that could help bump your tax return.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.