If you wouldn’t like to see you bills cut you must be very wealthy. Of course, there are even some very wealthy people that would like to lower their bills. Finding ways to lower their bills is actually a hobby for some people. And it’s a very profitable one. For example, if you install a programmable thermostat in your home you’d probably cut your energy bill by $50 or more a month now and every month going forward. And that’s like having $50 in your pocket to save or to spend on a night on the town with friends. You’ve probably read the obvious ways to your lower water bill like by installing a low flow faucet or to lower your heating bill by air sealing your house. But there are also some unusual or out-of-the-ordinary to lower your bills and here are six of them.
Use a negotiating service
Yes, there are services that will negotiate your bills for you. As an example of this there is Shrinkbill.com. Its people will call your service providers and try to reduce what you owe. In fact, it’s so certain it can help that it will send you a $25 gift card if it can’t save you money. However, if it is able to save you money it will keep 45% of what it saves you for the first year so that you’ll get 55% of the savings. Similar services are Billcutters.com and Billfixers.com. They split whatever they are able to save you 50/50 for the first year.
Be aware that there are some things you will need to do to utilize one of these services. You will need to provide your bill and possibly information such as the last four digits of your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name so it will know it’s negotiating for you. But the good part is that if you’re not a great negotiator and don’t want to have to talk with your service providers then these companies could be a helpful option.
First, when you contact one of your service providers don’t get sidetracked by any of those free-trial service offers. An example of this would be your cable provider offering free HBO for a few months to distract you from getting your bill reduced.
Also, when you contact a service provider it’s best not to just ask outright for a cheaper rate. Instead, you should use open-ended questions where it’s unlikely you’ll get a flat no. Examples of these include, “Are there discounts available right now I could take advantage of?” and “Where is it you could save me money?”
Call during off hours
The best time to call to try to get your bill reduced is early in the day. Never call right before the lunch hour or closing time. If you call early in the day, the odds are that customer service representatives will be likely to spend more time with you on the phone. And if they are less stressed out, the chances are greater that you will be successful.
Call your insurance agent (s)
Just because you’ve been paying about the same premium for the past several years doesn’t mean that you can’t get a better deal. For example, if you bundle several insurance policies together – such as your auto and home – you should get a pretty good discount. In fact, if you bundle your homeowners and auto insurance policies you should save around 18%. In addition, there are other ways you should be able to cut that bill. Have you taken a safe driving course, installed a security system or quit smoking? If you’ve made any of these changes it should mean a cut in your premium.
Use your leverage
If you’re a really good customer of the company use it as leverage. This can be helpful especially in getting credit card interest rates reduced or annual fees waived. It may also help you get your monthly cable and Internet bills reduced. Begin by being polite and using the customer service rep’s name several times during the conversation. If this doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to get really aggressive by threatening to close your account or switching to the company’s biggest competitor if you don’t get what you’re looking for.
Track your history
Bill that go down often go back up. That makes it important to keep track of your bills so you’ll know when you’ll need to make more phone calls. Also, if you weren’t successful the first time around, go back and ask for a better deal a few months down the line. You have nothing to lose as your service providers already have your money. And you’ll never get any of your bills reduced if you fail to ask.