Nobody wants to pay them, yet they come every month. Bills can put a real strain on a household’s finances. If you’re like many people, you may be looking for ways to lower bills.
One study by doxoINSIGHTS found that in the 25 largest metro areas in the United States, the average American household pays $984 per month, or 17% of their household income, on nine common household bills.
That total doesn’t include housing expenses such as rent or mortgage, but it does cover the average costs for expenses such as utilities, health insurance, mobile phone, cable and internet.
Here’s the good news: You may not have to pay so much. There are ways to lower bills for some of those regular expenses—from cell phone bills to your credit card fees. Here’s how.
Lower Your Cell phone bill
Flip on the TV, and you’ll see the ads from cell phone providers. “Switch to us and we’ll buy out your current contract.” “Let us cover your fees.”
You may have just re-upped for another two-year contract with your current provider, but other companies are more than happy to extend a better deal to you if you’re looking for a change.
When it comes to cell phones, you can use the competition among the many providers to your advantage. If you want to lower bills for your mobile phone plan, gather offers from other companies and call your current one to let them know that if they can’t match the best rate elsewhere, you’ll simply switch to another carrier.
NerdWallet offers some other options too, including opting for autopay, changing your cell phone insurance and forgoing a phone upgrade.
Lower your cable bill
Just like those cell phone bills, if there are multiple cable providers in your region, you may be able to talk them down to a lower rate as well. After all, it’s cheaper to keep you as a customer than to have to find and retain another one when you leave.
According to U.S. News & World Report, if you don’t get a better deal on the first attempt, it might be best to call again—and again. Some customer service representatives may be more inclined to help you out than others.
While it may seem like a shot in the dark, many of those who do attempt to talk their way into lower bills are successful. According to a survey from Consumer Reports, 70% of respondents said they had haggled with the cable company, and 80% of those consumers were able to get some perks, such as an extended promotional rate, price cuts and additional premium TV channels. It’s worth a shot.
Lower your internet bill
Internet service providers also may lower your rate, according to BroadBandNow.com, if you’re willing to spend some time on the phone—as much as an hour or so—to do it.
The website recommends that when you call, you should be ready to cancel your service in order to persuade them to offer you a better deal. It also recommends that you be “ridiculously polite” while you do it. Internet service providers may be more inclined to cut your rate if you have a history of paying your bills on time and are close to the end of your contract, the article says.
Lower credit card rates and fees
In all seriousness, you just need to ask. A survey by CreditCards.com found that few cardholders call their credit card company to seek a lower credit card rate or have a fee waived. But, when they do, they may get what they ask for.
The survey found that 84% of cardholders who asked had a late fee waived, 70% got an annual fee waived or lowered and 56% got a lower interest rate. Credit card companies likely will consider your spending and payment habits before they agree to cut you a deal, according to the website.
Haggling, once a time-honored tradition, might not be as common today. But, when it comes to lowering bills, especially your cell phone, cable and internet bills, you may just be able to negotiate a discount with your provider—and make those monthly expenses a bit more affordable.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. empowers people to overcome their financial challenges and lead financially-healthy lives.
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