As the unemployment rate leaps to 6.2% among Australians, the ability to renegotiate bills has become a necessary skill as we ride out this pandemic.
We’ve partnered with Bankwest to provide a series of banking no-brainers to help you better manage your money.
So, to give everyone the best shot of trimming the financial fat, here are a few pointers that’ll hopefully steer you in the right direction.
1. Familiarise yourself with your options
Here’s a list of bills you can and can’t negotiate, from rent all the way to your Foxtel subscription:
- Rent: Negotiable.
- Mortgage repayments: Negotiable.
- Phone, energy and internet bills: Negotiable.
- Insurance: Negotiable, but proceed with caution.
- Streaming services: Opting out is the easiest outcome.
Before negotiating particular bills, it’d be wise to gather evidence of other people in a similar situation as you successfully renegotiating theirs – the more information you bring to the table, the better.
2. Be reasonable
If you’re expecting companies and services to go easy on you, you have to reciprocate somewhat. Approach the situation by preparing your request and providing evidence as to how you came to whatever number you’re asking for.
For example, if you’ve found a competing provider offering lower rates than the one you’re currently signed up to, use that tidbit of information when you’re speaking to the representative.
If you’re simply quoting a lower price of a competitor, it will be much harder for them to argue that they can’t match it – and if they can’t, it’s within reason for you to look elsewhere.
3. Reserve some time during the week to make your calls
If you’re hoping to get through to a service provider without having to wait on hold for hours on end, your best bet is to call up during regular work hours.
Simply put, every man and his dog will be trying to get through to them on a weekend as it’s when people often put aside time for the errands, so avoiding peak hour will be a much more efficient move.
Remember to give yourself the full hour of your lunch break though so you can go through all of your points without rushing.
4. Remind yourself that they want your business
At the end of the day, companies want you to stay with them, so you immediately have a leg up when you’re trying to save some money.
Here’s a little anecdote: my Mum has been with the same phone provider for what feels like 100 years, and when she realised how much more money she was paying for the same deal as other telco companies, she gave them a buzz, explained that she doesn’t want to switch companies while also pointing out the price difference, and just like that, they lowered her monthly bill.
That’s not to say that this will work all the time, but by simply asking the question, you may be able to save some money.
5. Keep tabs on who’s charging what
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a banking no-brainer to turn on your Easy Alert banking notifications so you can start monitoring all of your direct debits.
After a month, you’ll be able to see what’s coming out of your account for services you may have forgotten about or no longer need, and you can cancel them – or call and ask for a reduction – as soon as you’re notified.
Of course, all these tips don’t take your objectives or financial situation into account and you should seek relevant professional advice.