My One Minute Money Saving Tip: Bill Haggle Day

The awesome folks at Go Banking Rates recently hosted a fun contest. They asked money bloggers, experts and reporters for their best money saving tip–in one minute or less.

You might have noticed that I’m kind of into the whole money saving thing. So, obviously, I had to be a part of it. Check it out here:

Bill haggle days are great because you haggle once, and you continue to save each month. Just list all of your bills, give each company a call, and simply ask them if they can reduce your rate. Obviously, some bills are easier to haggle than others. But I’ve had a lot of success haggling with T-Mobile and Time Warner (though TW puts up a fight).

A few tips for effective haggling:

Be nice. No one wants to give a jerk a good deal.

Shop the competition. Know the rates of other companies. Ask for those.

Shop their site. See if they have “online only” rates or new customer rates. Ask for those.

Threaten to cancel. Hard to do in combo with #1, but it works.

And if some bills are un-haggle-able (def not a word), dissect them instead. Look at each line item, find out what it means, and see if there are ways to save. An editor made me do this for a story once. “Dissect your electric bill,” he said. “See what it’s all about.” At first, I thought it was going to be a fruitless idea. But I dissected my bill, called LADWP, and I learned a couple of helpful things:

• They use “tiered” payments, which can make my bill extra expensive (more on that here).

• I pay a mandatory $1.30 each month for a “bulky item fee.” This means, if I have trash that’s too big for my apartment dumpster, I can call the city and they’ll come pick it up for me. I had no idea!

So that’s “bill haggle day” in a nutshell. It shouldn’t take the entire day, though. Maybe just a couple of hours. An entire day of bill haggling would be depressing.

But I have to say, my video isn’t anywhere near as creative as other bloggers’. Check out all the entries here.

Kristin Wong

Author: Kristin Wong

Kristin Wong is a writer and money saving maniac. Follow her on Google+.

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16 comments on “My One Minute Money Saving Tip: Bill Haggle Day

  1. Recently called my cell phone company and asked for a rate cut. They upgraded my plan and I actually saved $5 a month! At least that’s what I was told. The bill came, and it was $15 more expensive! Called to complain. Long story short, they gave me a credit of $20 a month times the remainder of my contract, which was one year. Took some time, but I ended up having a more expensive plan for less than what I was paying before. It does work, but it takes time.

  2. Now I really have to do something with related companies, what a brilliant concept ‘bill haggle day’ :) Thanks for sharing this Kristin, I loved the fourth tips. I guess threatening works!

    • Sure thing, Chelsea!

  3. One good one that I make sure I do every year is to shop around on auto insurance. There are many factors that can change on how they price your policy from year to year.

  4. When you the cable companies quit responding to your haggle, investigate one of the many “cord cutting” alternatives … money walking out the door speaks! Without Aereo it take a little more work, but SimpleTV and Tableau are alternatives to handing over hard earned cash to the cable companies for programming you don’t need or want …

    • Sweet! Thanks for the input, Lesley!

  5. This is a great way to reduce your bills. We audit all out goings at least once every three months to see where we can cut back or renegotiate. It’s amazing the savings you can make just by asking.

    I’ve added this post to my top 5 of this week – http://skintdad.co.uk/2014/07/top-five-posts-around-web-07/

    - Ricky

    • Yes, just asking can be surprisingly effective! And so cool–thank you for including me in your weekly roundup! You’ve picked some great blogs :)

  6. I love the idea of bill haggle day. I’ve actually saved quite a bit myself through haggling with the utility companies. Thanks for the great tip!

    • Thanks for the comment!

  7. Great idea! I recently cut my TW, garbage, and propane bills by doing this. I was truly leaving the latter two, and lo and behold, they rolled out the red carpet to keep me. Amazing! And, yes, TW is a real pain. We just plan to contact them every six months or so when the last “deal” they gave us expires.

    • Haha same here! They seem to be pretty notorious for this. At least we’re all in this together, lol.

  8. I don’t think threatening to cancel and being nice are a hard combo to pull off…just make it sound like you can’t afford it and that you’re being forced to cancel because of the price. You don’t have to be rude. I have cable internet through TW and they reduced my bill when I said I wanted the $14.99 internet plan offered on their commercial. They told me that they are actually EarthLink, a subsidiary of TW or something and that I would have to cancel and re-order…or they could reduce my rate, though it was more than $14.99, they gave me a faster internet speed. I took it…though I just noticed that it went back up after a few months…argh…I have to call them again.

    • True that! You’re totally right. You can stick to your guns and be nice at the same time.
      Time Warner is bad about that. They do the same thing to me–I negotiate a low rate, and they raise it back every few months because the “promo” is over. So then I have to negotiate some other new customer rate. It drives me nuts.

  9. I think your tip was a lot more productive than mine :) Though both of ours caused cats to run away, haha…

    http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2014/07/cash-in-a-box-savings-video/

    Also – damn good idea indeed – I’m in the middle of a “haggle everything” month and so far so good :)

    • Ha! Yours was so much fun. I wish I’d have been more creative! But yes, haggle on, my friend.

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