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Negotiating for a Better Budget

Updated: Jul 7, 2018

So now that you’ve created your budget or updated your current budget it’s now time to determine where and how to cut costs if necessary. If your budget fits in one of the categories below you need to take action:

  • Your expenses are more than your income

  • Your expenses are equal to your income

  • Your income barely covers your expenses

  • Your income does not allow you to pay yourself (savings)

The first thing you need to do if your current situation fits in one of the four categories above is decide what you can do without. Look at your expenses that are not really “needs” and decide if the cost is really worth it or can you use the money towards something else or perhaps paying yourself. If you normally get your hair and nails done every two weeks, determine if it is necessary for you to go to the salon/spa twice a month or is once a month sufficient? Ladies can you do your own hair and nails? Fellas can you cut your own hair? Maybe this is the perfect time to experiment if you don’t to save some money. What about your gym membership that you pay every month? Are you going to gym faithfully or can you work out at home? Do you have a friend that you can go to the gym with as their visitor and maybe you two can split the cost of one membership? Can you use the gym at work instead? These are the types of questions that I want you to ask yourself when trying to trim your budget.

After you’ve gone through and decided what you can and can’t do without or what you can do less of, now you can start negotiating costs for things you really need. When I didn’t have a job this was the first thing I did to cut costs.

Major Key Alert: As an auditor we do not recommend anything to our clients if the benefit is not greater than the cost. Even though the cost – benefit analogy is something I learned by working, it is a simple concept that has stuck with me in my personal life. I don’t buy anything if the benefit is not greater than the cost. You’ll want to lock in this concept as well.

So when negotiating your bills with your service providers ask yourself if what you’re getting in your package, contract etc. is worth what you are paying. If it isn’t you need to call and ask for a lower payment. So for example the first bill I called to have reduced while I wasn’t working was my cable/internet bill, because I felt like I “needed” it. This is just one bill I hate because the service provider will lock you into a rate for 6 months or a year and then once you’re out of the promotion your bill sky rockets. So in my situation I called my service provider and explained to them my current situation. I basically said that I wasn’t working and that I could not afford to pay the monthly bill. They explained that my promotion ended which is why the cost went up and that it was no other promotions that they could switch me to that would be cheaper. So at that point I reiterated my purpose for calling and thanked that customer service agent for her time but that I would need to cancel my service to maybe go with another provider for a lower cost. That is what I’d like to call a faith based statement, because no one really wants to go through the hassle of changing service providers if they don’t have to. But you believe that before you hang up the phone you will have your services at a lower affordable rate. In my situation, my cable/internet bill was reduced by $35. That’s the favor I needed! Please understand that a service provider does not want to lose a customer to their competitor especially if you have been a loyal customer for a couple of years. They are going to do anything to get your bill reduced and keep you as a loyal customer, especially if they feel like you’re going to give them a bad rating on the survey call.

I’ve tried negotiating my bills and it doesn’t work. What am I doing wrong?

  • Before you call to negotiate your bill ask yourself if you repeatedly pay your bill late or sometimes don’t pay at all. If that is the case the service provider will be less likely to work with you to get you a lower payment and will essentially not worry about losing you as a customer. My suggestion here is to get in good standing with the service provider for a couple of months and then try calling to have your bill reduced.

  • Be nice when you’re calling to negotiate your bill. Remember you want the service provider to do you a favor, so maybe start your conversation with “While I love the services I’m being provided by your company…” With that statement alone you have already given the customer service rep a reason to work with you to keep you as a customer.

  • State the facts. Show the rep that you’ve done your research about the industry. If you come with the facts the rep is likely to give you the rate of their competitor or even better, beat their price.

  • Last but not least, where is your faith? When you make the call you have to know that your bill is going to be reduced at a cost that is most affordable for you. If you have any ounce of doubt then you’ve already lost.

So what’s stopping you from negotiating your bills? I negotiate my bills where necessary on a periodic basis. Remember that you don’t have to have an “all of a sudden moment” happen to negotiate your bills. Negotiate your bills because the cost outweighs the benefit. So go head and get started! Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

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