Negotiating Monthly Household Expenses

By Alyssa Laffitte on October 14, 2019

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As college students, it is important for us to learn how to manage our monthly expenses. Negotiation is a skill that will come in handy when you manage your expenses. In this post, we will discuss how to negotiate your monthly expenses.

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Research alternatives

One of the best ways to lower your monthly payments is to research alternatives. For example, seeking alternatives in your cable subscription or your phone plan. Researching alternatives for your cable subscription could include seeking other competing cable providers (such as DirecTV, Comcast) to determine how your rate compares to the competition. You could also consider cutting cable entirely and use other services, such as Netflix, Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire Stick, to watch your TV shows and movies. You could even use a combination of those services, but calculate the cost first to make sure that combination doesn’t cost more than your cable subscription in the first place!

Additionally, you could research alternatives for your phone plan. This could include looking at other plans on your current carrier to determine if a cheaper plan would be better suited to your needs. If you have an unlimited plan but you don’t use your phone very much, you should consider downgrading to a limited plan to save money. You could even look at plans from competing carriers and calculate the difference between their price and the one you currently pay.

When you research alternatives, you will learn where you truly stand. You will either realize that what you’re paying is a good deal, or that you need to move further in negotiating your monthly expenses. Write down the rates of the competitors so that when you call the company to negotiate (more on that later), you are equipped with the information you need to show the company you deserve a lower rate.

Cut expenses entirely

Another way to lower your monthly expenses is to cut services entirely. Take an inventory of all your monthly expenses. Pay attention to any service you subscribe to, such as entertainment streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Red) or other services (phone, cable). Consider all these services and determine whether or not you truly need them. Are there some you don’t use at all? If so, you can easily cancel those. Are there any you can go without?

For cable specifically, ask yourself if you could “cut the cord”, and get your entertainment strictly from online sources like Netflix. For the phone, ask yourself if you can remove your landline since you could likely get by with only your cell phone anyway. Also ask yourself if you could downgrade your phone plan to a more limited, cheaper one.

A quick inventory of all your subscriptions can be eye-opening. It will show you any potential services you could cut altogether.

For utilities and insurance, install energy-saving and safety measures

Certain utility companies are willing to give you a discount if you install energy-saving equipment. For example, installing better insulation (including insulating windows) or solar panels can be a great reason for your utility company to lower your rates.

Likewise, certain car insurance companies will give you a discount if you implement additional safety measures in your car. (This is usually how “safe driver” discounts work.)

Of course, this strategy varies by company, but you could save money on your monthly payments by installing energy-saving, safe equipment in your home or car.

Call the companies at which you are a regular customer

Once you have done your research, decided which services to keep and which to ditch, and have installed the proper equipment, you can finally call the company to negotiate your monthly rate. You can use this strategy for a phone company, Internet or cable provider, credit card service, or utility company. Have the information you’ve collected about their competitor’s rates on hand when you call.

If you don’t want to negotiate, you could instead ask for any specials. Some companies offer specials that they simply don’t post online. Ask upfront about student discounts specifically, since many companies don’t advertise these!

General tips to negotiate the right way

Do it when your contract is about to expire

When your contract is about to expire (in most cases, about 2 years after you signed your phone plan or TV provider contract), the company knows you could easily walk away. During this time, your current company would much rather keep you than let you leave to another company. This is especially true if you let them know another company has a fantastic introductory offer you can easily take. They might want your business so much that they’re willing to give you a discount if it means you’ll stay with them for another 2 years. For this reason, the perfect time to negotiate your rates is right before your contract expires.

Be polite and respectful

The representative on the phone with you will be unlikely to offer you a discount if you are rude to them. Instead, be polite and respectful to the fellow human being you are talking to. This will make them much more likely to give you what you ask for.

Remind them of your history as a loyal customer

While you are on the phone, definitely remind the representative that you are a loyal customer. Companies appreciate loyalty, and they might be more likely to give you what you ask for if it means keeping a loyal customer.

Although none of these methods guarantee you will receive a lower rate, negotiating is definitely worth the try.

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23, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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