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Did you know bills are negotiable? No? Read this.

Okay, it’s not so much that paying your bills is negotiable. Unless you’re moving to your own self-sustained private island (and if you are, can we come too?), paying for things like gas, electricity, and your phone is one of life’s non-negotiables.

What is negotiable? How much you have to pay for them.

So, what bills can I negotiate?

Just about any that come your way! The main exceptions are government non-negotiables like your driver’s license and car registration renewals.

Consider your insurances (private health, home and contents, car, life, and even pet), utilities (gas and electric), and telco providers (phone, internet and even some entertainment providers like Foxtel), up for discussion.

Does loyalty pay?

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, staying with the same provider doesn’t always pay. In most cases, you’re the one paying.

A lot of companies actually raise your policy costs year on year through annual price increases, while at the same time they’re offering competitive new rates to attract other customers. Rather than being rewarded for our loyalty, we’re being penalised. Go figure.

While some companies do offer rewards for loyalty, they’re often small tokens or freebies that merely serve as a distraction to the more significant increases you’re copping elsewhere.

Make time to shop around

When was the last time you reviewed your bills and policies?

Jump on your provider’s website and that of their competitors to see who is offering the best rates. There are also several great resources out there that do the research for you, like and

Mark it in your calendar and make this something you do every year.

Find the best rate and pick up the phone

If you’re happy with your current provider but you’ve found a cheaper, comparable price elsewhere, it pays to give them a call and ask for a price match.

I know sometimes making these calls can make us squirm. I myself used to put these phone calls on the bottom of my to-do list. We’re not all natural hagglers, and these conversations make many of us uncomfortable because it’s in our nature to avoid confrontation and the possibility of rejection. But trust me, it is worth it. What’s that saying, if you don’t ask, you won’t get?

Remember this too: the person on the other end of the line wants your business. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to get a better deal or a reduction on your current policy simply by asking for one.

And if they do say no? Don’t be afraid to go.

Bonnie’s wrap

If you know there’s a comparable policy elsewhere at a better price, why wouldn’t you switch?

When it comes to bills and insurance policies, the rewards for loyalty are few and far between. And when you’re trying to move your financial goals forward, every dollar matters.

Here’s how to negotiate your way to a better bill:

  1. Do your research. What would you do if you were negotiating a pay rise? You wouldn’t just walk into your boss’s office and asks for one the same way you ask if they fancy a coffee. You’d walk in with all the evidence for why you deserve one in your hand.
  2. Once you know how much your provider’s competitors are offering, ask them to match it. Tell them you’re not afraid to switch if they won’t.
  3. Be prepared to walk away. I know switching providers can seem like a hassle, but it is worth it for a better deal. 12 months down the line when the $20 a month you’re no longer paying is sitting in your savings account, you’ll be very glad you did.
Related to: Budget Basics
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