We are always looking for ways to reduce our monthly budget and what better way than looking at your monthly expenses? These are the categories of bills that we’ve had success negotiating and how we’ve done it!
This is a great place to start because the car insurance market is so competitive, you can pit them against each other very easily. There are plenty of companies that will help you do this (look for “compare quotes” sites) but we’ve had a lot of success with DIY. This is usually an every-6-months-project for us, car insurance companies usually offer a small discount if you pay all at once and we use that as a time to call up their competitors to see if there is a better rate out there. By calling a handful of companies every 6 months before your bill is due, you can save some money or at least confirm you are getting the best deal!
Fitness Membership (trade)
Though this isn’s super easy to negotiate per se, we love the idea of lowering your fitness bill by working out a deal with your local studio or favorite instructor. Laura used to work at a local studio by running their front desk in exchange for classes and Stella’s husband teaches yoga so her membership to his studio is free as part of his compensation. We have a few friends that have managed to work out deals as well … “I’ll give you a yoga membership in exchange for free haircuts” or “give us 10% off at your cafe and all your employees can take a free class at our studio each week”. It’s fun to see what people come up with. All you have to do is ask!
Cable and Internet
We really love this one. In this day and age, so many people are going without cable in favor of streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. So why not use your cable as a bargaining chip? Set a reminder in your calendar for when your current promotion ends and be sure to call them up a few weeks before to work out a better rate. We had success adding cable to reduce our bill just based on what promotion was out at the time. Our bill went down by $4 a month when we added the service. Two years later we called back and that promo wasn’t available anymore so we asked what the price would be for internet only and that ended up being the better deal.
Did you know that you can negotiate this? Of course, it works better in neighborhoods where landlords are having trouble renting their property and with private owners vs. big companies but it’s worth trying no matter where you are. You never know who else has put in an application and what may be attractive about you as a tenant vs. the other candidates. The worst thing that happens on ask is they say the price is firm. You can also try to barter on what fees and services are and are not included in the rent; try asking for the landlord to cover all utilities (water, heat, electric… heck, try asking if they will cover internet and then you won’t have to negotiate that bill, too!).
Oh, the world of car dealership negotiations! We could (and should) write a whole post about this. Car dealerships want to sell cars and their price is WAY lower than what they put on the tag. If you counteroffer and they say yes, you’ve gone too high. Keep in mind that there are a million other dealerships out there that you can go to next and this isn’t your only shot. We highly recommend starting the car purchasing process with a bit of time on your side, so that you can wheel and deal (pun intended) the dealerships against each other. Being able to dangle different offers that you’ve received will always help lower that bottom line.
Who knew you could do this?? It works especially well if you can call them on charging you for things insurance does not cover. Stella just experienced this at the dentist; they sent the doctor in twice in a year when her plan only covered two cleanings and ONE doctor visit. She didn’t realize she’d already seen the dentist until she got the bill in the mail, but a quick call made it all go away! You can negotiate medical bills outside of insurance as well. Doctors and hospitals may be willing to take less than the billed amount if you’re willing to pay in full and early. We recommend calling the hospital or doctor’s billing office or controller (who is usually listed on your bill) and asking what is the minimum you can pay today to get the bill to go away entirely. We’ve for sure been surprised by the amounts we’ve received as answers in the past!
The above tactic actually works really well on all kinds of things. If the company has given up hope on you ever paying, they’ll take anything from you. So go in person with cash in your pocket and offer them less with the promise to pay right then with cash and see where it goes.
Have you had a stellar bill-negotiating experience? What budget items in your monthly spreadsheet could use some tweaking to save a buck or two?? Let us know in the comments!
P.S. this post is part of our 30 Blog Post Goals for 2018, check out the full list!