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Money Management, Article

Tips to Lower Your Bills

Current Promotions & Customer Retention

Mobile, internet, and cable bills are some of the easier to negotiate. If you notice your bill has gone up, contact them about what they can do to lower your bill. While waiting on the phone can be inconvenient at times, you’re more likely to get better customer service if you call and speak directly to a person.

Once you’re on the line with someone, ask them what current promotions can be applied to your account. Most mobile and internet/cable providers have a rotation of promotions they offer throughout the year.

If there aren’t any promotions that can be applied to bring down your bill, insist on speaking with their customer retention team. Be direct with their customer retention representative. Remind them that you’re a loyal customer—or if you’ve only been with them for a year, tell them you’d like to become a loyal customer—and ask what they can do for you to bring your price back down to what it was before.

Shop for Quotes

Don’t go with the first price you see because it’s convenient. Shop around for quotes on your monthly services or insurance.

If your mobile, internet, or cable provider has increased your price, start looking at other companies’ prices for the same services. It’s likely you’ll find a better price or some negotiation leverage. If your home, renters, or car insurance increases, contact other providers and provide them with a copy of your current coverage and ask them if they can match it while giving you a better price.

Though not a monthly bill (hopefully), sometimes cars break down and need repairs, which can become an expensive unexpected expense. While most cars might need a mechanic’s diagnosis to know what exactly needs to be replaced, get one diagnostic and use that to request quotes for repairs from different shops to see who can do the job for the least amount of money.

Negotiate or Change Providers

If you’ve shopped around for prices from other mobile, internet, or cable providers and have seen better deals out there for the same services you have but would rather not switch, then go back to your current provider’s customer service/retention team and ask them if they can price match their competitors. If not, then it may just be worth it to change providers.

People might not know you can negotiate your credit card interest rate. If you have a history of on-time payments, a strong credit score, or a score that has recently increased, call your credit card issuer and request a reduction in your rate. It’s best to start with the card you’ve had open the longest and work your way to the newest. There are two types of rate reductions you can inquire about: promotional rates for a specified period or a standard rate reduction. It’s possible some may deny a rate reduction the first time you ask, but after a few more months of on-time payments they could change their mind, so it’s worth trying again in about six months.

Some other options for lowering monthly payments include promotional balance transfer offers or consolidating debt with a personal loan. You might find a credit card offer with a 0% introductory APR and/or a $0 balance transfer fee for a specified period. Personal loans are a way to consolidate multiple credit card bills (or even transfer just one) into one monthly payment, usually at a much lower rate than most credit cards charge. According to Bankrate, the average credit card rate at the end of 2023 was 20.74%, whereas the average personal loan rate at the beginning of 2024 was 11.56%.

Request Line Item Invoices

Asking for your invoices or bills to be separated by charge for each item helps you understand exactly what and how much you’re being charged. In the cases of car repairs, medical/dental bills, and even vet bills, sometimes the charges are for things that are recommended but not absolutely necessary. This gives you more knowledge and the ability to cut costs on your bills by refusing services you decide not to use at that time.

Adjust Your Insurance Plans

There are a few ways to lower your insurance bills, whether it’s home, auto, or renters. Take advantage of multi-policy bundle discounts. You can bundle home and auto insurance, or auto and renters insurance. And for auto insurance policies, there’s usually a multi-car discount.

Make sure to ask if you’re benefiting from all the other discounts they might offer, such as good driver, good student, club members (Costco/Sam’s Club/AAA), occupation, and antitheft. Some companies offer discounts for using autopay or paying the policy in full.

If you’re already taking advantage of available bundles and other discounts and still want to lower your premium, you can adjust your deductible and parts of your insurance coverage. Increasing your deductible and/or lowering your coverage will decrease your monthly premium payments. However, be mindful of how a higher deductible or lesser coverage may affect your finances in the event you require insurance.

Reevaluate Monthly Subscriptions

Saving money on necessity bills so you can keep non-necessity services is ideal, but sometimes we still need to rebudget. Every month or so, it’s good practice to reevaluate expenditure on monthly subscriptions for streaming services and extras—such as Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime, gaming services, or in-app purchases—and cut back where you can.

With Orange County’s Credit Union, our Members can take advantage of free financial counseling or other resources from our Financial Wellness center. You can also find more information about our credit card and personal loan options on our website, or give us a call at (888) 354-6228.

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