Trim the bill: Here’s how to renegotiate your monthly expenses

Updated: Aug. 21, 2020 at 3:30 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Have you ever looked at your monthly expenses and thought, ‘How did all of this add up so quickly?’ Then it’s time to negotiate your bills.

Personal finance experts say you should look closely at your monthly expenses every quarter. They say you can renegotiate some of your bills once a year. Negotiating your bills is a great way to make some wiggle room in your monthly budget. It’s something you can do at all income levels.

The experts at NerdWallet say start by taking a look at the bills that are easier to renegotiate. That can be cable, phone, internet, subscription services and even some insurances. These services typically have a lot of competition out there and that can work to your advantage.

Look at all of your bills and think: ‘What can I live without or where could I use the trimming?‘ Then, go from there.

Next, do some research. See what promotional offers your services currently have or what competitors are doing.

For example, AT&T Internet is offering service at $39.99 a month and a free month of HBO Max subscription.

If you have AT&T, ask the customer service rep if they can offer you this promotion. Or ask your service if they can offer something similar to this promotion.

Now, make the calls. Set aside an hour or two to get the job done. Make sure you have a pen and paper handy so you can take notes, as well.

Kimberly Palmer, a Personal Finance Expert, at NerdWallet says you want to note the name of the customer service person you’re calling, the date and time.

When you’re on the call, stay calm, polite and persistent. Remember many of these companies don’t want to lose you as a customer so they may be flexible, said Palmer.

“One technique to consider, if you’re actually considering canceling your service… say to them, ‘Hey, I’m considering canceling.’ Because just saying those words can trigger news discounts, new offers and that can lead you to a better deal,” said Palmer.

She also says to be honest. You don’t need to threaten to cancel the service if you don’t actually want to leave the provider.

She says saying something like, ‘I want to pay less each month. Is there anything you can do for me?’ can open doors for you, as well.

And if things do go well in your negotiation talks, then ask for a follow-up. Clarify that you aren’t getting stuck in any long-term contracts or hidden fees. Ask if they can send you an email verifying your new service deal and when that will go into effect.

And if your provider couldn’t give you a better deal, at least you tried. You can always go back and explore those promotional offers you researched with the competitor, anyway.

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