Imagine what life would be like if you spent less money on bills every month. You’d have more cash to put toward savings, retirement, and luxuries like travel or dining out. You’d find it easier to meet your short- and long-term financial goals.
Fortunately, you can find ways to save money on your bills. While some bills like your mortgage and car payment are set in stone, others are negotiable. To negotiate your bills, you’ll need to reach out to your providers and convince them to agree to a lower price. If you don’t want to negotiate them on your own, you can use bill negotiator apps.
3 Best Apps That Automatically Negotiate Your Bills
While you can negotiate your bills yourself, using a bill negotiation app has its advantages. In addition to saving you time, an app may increase your chances of successful negotiation, especially if you’ve never done it before. These apps often have professional bill negotiators on staff and relationships with popular service providers.
|Cancels unwanted subscriptions||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Negotiates credit card interest rates||Yes||No||No|
|Types of bills negotiated||Cable, internet, phone, medical||Cable, internet, security||Cable, internet, phone, satellite radio|
|Fees||33% of your total annual savings||40% of your total annual savings||40% of your total annual savings|
|Trim review||Truebill review||Billshark review|
Once you download the Trim app and link your financial accounts, the company will send you recommendations on how to save on bills. If you paid $50 for internet last month and are now paying $65, Trim will send you an alert and offer to call your internet company and negotiate. If it’s successful, Trim will take 33% of whatever it saves you annually.
Truebill finds and cancels unwanted subscriptions, lowers bills, and gets refunds on fees and outages. It can also save you money on your electric bill. To use Truebill, download the app and upload recent bills from your service providers. Once you do, the company will start negotiating on your behalf. While the app is free to use, it will take a 40% cut on the money it saves you each year.
Once you create a Billshark account, you’ll select the types of bills you’d like to save on and upload images of your current bills. Billshark will then negotiate with your service providers and update you on their status. It’ll keep 40% of whatever the company savings you annually.
The Importance of Negotiating Recurring Bills
Bill negotiation lets you continue using the products and services that you need at a lower price point.
Let’s say you pay $150 per month on your family cell phone plan. If you’re able to negotiate $30 off your monthly payments, that’s $360 in annual savings. You could put that money toward other things that are important to you.
The more bills you negotiate, the more money you’re likely to save. If you successfully negotiate multiple bills, you may be able to save thousands of dollars every year.
Types of Bills You Can Negotiate
Most bills are negotiable, even though companies don’t make that information public. Many companies are willing to give you a discount so they can keep you as a customer rather than lose you to a competitor.
Hospitals and doctors often negotiate with insurance companies to reduce the amount their patients owe. Daniella Flores, a personal finance expert and owner of I Like to Dabble, used to work at a surgery center and was surprised to learn how negotiable medical bills are. Her tips for saving on them include:
- Look for billing errors: Coding errors, double billing, or fees for services you never received are common occurrences. Ask for an itemized bill and review it carefully for accuracy.
- Pay in full: Some medical providers will give you a discount if you pay for your service in full on the day of the procedure. This strategy works best if you don’t have to rely on a credit card or take money out of savings to do so.
- Ask about bundle pricing: Find out if your doctor will give you a bundle price for all related services. For example, if you had surgery, suggest one price for any pre and postoperative treatments.
If you’re a quiet tenant, pay rent on time, and don’t want to move, you have a chance of negotiating your monthly rent payments. This is particularly true if you’re renting from an independent landlord rather than a large property company. To negotiate rent, you should:
- Extend your lease: If you ask to extend your lease, you’re more likely to save money on rent because your landlord will view you as a stable investment. Let them know you’re willing to commit to a longer lease in exchange for a discounted rate.
- Research prices: Find out what comparable homes, condos, or apartments are charging for rent. If you discover you’re paying more, you have a strong case to present to your landlord.
- Talk to your landlord in person: If you’re struggling financially for whatever reason, let your landlord know. While you may not be able to reduce your rent forever, your landlord may be willing to work out a lower rate until you can get back on your feet.
Cable and internet
You can negotiate lower payments on cable and internet successfully if you:
- Find out competitor rates: Do some online research to get an idea of what others are charging for the same services. Use any lower rates you find as a negotiation tactic.
- Call again: If the first person you speak to doesn’t offer a better rate, call again at a different time. You may reach a supervisor or someone else in customer service that’s more willing to work with you.
- State you may switch: This tactic works best if you’ve already done your research. Call your provider and state the deal another company is offering you. Let it know if it can’t match or do better, then you’ll be taking your business elsewhere.
Now that discount providers have made their way into the market, cell phone companies don’t mind negotiating lower monthly payments. Before you call up your cell phone company, look at your most recent bill so that you know how much you pay and what you get. Then, follow these tips.
- Compare competitor rates: Determine what other cell phone providers charge and tell your customer service representative if you’ve found a competitor that offers a more affordable rate. This can convince them to negotiate with you and make you a comparable offer.
- Add a line: If you tell your cell phone company that you’d like to add someone new to your plan, it’ll be more likely to give you a better deal.
- Ask for the loyalty department: Most cell phone companies have a loyalty department whose primary job is to retain customers.
Just like cable and the internet, car insurance companies are competitive and will do whatever it takes to keep you as a customer. When you call your car insurer to negotiate lower premiums, keep these strategies in mind.
- Ask about discounts: Almost every car insurance company offers a long list of discounts. You may be able to claim a discount for things like being a student, avoiding accidents, or driving a new vehicle.
- Comparison shop: Once you know what coverage you need and want, shop around to find out what other insurers are offering. Inform your insurance company of the quotes you received and ask if it can beat them.
While you can’t negotiate the purchases you’ve made on your credit card, you can save in other ways. Contact your credit card company and find out if it can:
- Reduce your APR: If you’ve paid your credit card on time, your provider may give you a lower interest rate. This can save you a lot of money, especially if you tend to carry a balance on your card.
- Remove a late fee: You may be stuck with a late fee if you missed a payment date. If you have a history of on-time payments, ask your credit card company if it can waive it.
Tips for Negotiating Your Own Bills
If you choose to negotiate your bills yourself, here are several strategies that will make the bill negotiation process easier and increase your chance of success.
Determine which bills you can negotiate.
Jot down a list of your monthly expenses and circle any bills you may be able to negotiate. Then list them in order from most to least expensive. Use this list to help you prioritize your negotiation efforts and tackle your largest bills first.
Create a spreadsheet with customer service numbers.
To save time on bill negotiation, create a spreadsheet in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet should include a list of all the providers you hope to call and their customer service numbers. This way you can go through the process quickly and don’t have to spend your time looking for contact information.
Write a negotiation script.
A script can also save you time and make the negotiation process less intimidating. You can write a short script of your own or keep this one on hand for when you speak with your providers:
Hi there. I have an issue with my [PROVIDER NAME] bill and was hoping you can help me. My bill is a bit too expensive for me, and I’m looking for ways to save money on it.
I noticed that [COMPETITOR] is offering a lower price of [PRICE] on the same service. Is it possible for you to match or beat them? I’m a loyal customer and would love to stay with your company if you can figure out a way to give me a more affordable rate.
Thank you so much for your time.
Try to be as respectful and polite as possible when you speak to customer service representatives. Kari Lorz was able to negotiate her credit card interest rate from 24% to 19%, saving her hundreds of dollars per year. She recommends making small talk and asking the reps how they’re doing.
“As someone who has worked in customer service for over 20 years,” Lorz said, “I always try to help people who are nice to me.”
Consider using a bill negotiation app for a month.
Bill negotiation apps are designed to make it easier for customers to save money on their monthly bills. If you’re new to negotiating and need some guidance, try using one for a month. While using the app, take notes on which bills they negotiate successfully so you can later do the work yourself and avoid paying fees.
Is the Cost of Bill Negotiation Apps Worth the Savings?
Since bill negotiator apps take a portion of the amount they save you, you may be wondering whether they’re worth it. In most cases, the answer is yes. Let’s say Truebill saves you $200 annually and takes 40%, or $80; you would still pocket $120.
Unless you diligently negotiate your bills on your own, a bill negotiation app makes sense. It can free up your cash flow with minimal effort and help to improve your finances.