Consumer Alert: Why pay full price? The five bills you can negotiate

You haggle over the price of a car, or a house -- why not ask for deals on other expenses? (WJAR)

You haggle over the price of a car, or a house -- why not ask for deals on other expenses?

Financial experts say most prices aren't set in stone.

Set aside a just few hours a year, and you could save on everything from your cell phone bill to your 401K fees.

“If they can save $1,000 to $2,000 a year, that's real money,” said Derek Gregoire, president of SHP Financial.

Gregoire said you can find those savings by negotiating some of the bills you pay every month.

“I notice with my own bill, it just slowly creeps up, incrementally,” said Gregoire.

Negotiation opportunity number 1: Phone, cable and internet bills

“You notice you're paying 20 percent more than when you started,” said Gregoire.

He said it's best to shop around. Research what competitors are offering, then call your company, armed with information.

“That voice prompt comes up and says, 'Who would you like to talk to?' I just say, 'canceling my service,'” explains Gregoire. “I know I'm going to get right to their retention area, to the person who's going to be making decisions, who's going to try to keep me.”

Most companies will make a deal to keep a paying customer.

Negotiation opportunity number 2: Credit card bills

The average credit card company charges a whopping 16 percent interest.

“There's a study that says more than 2 out of 3 people who call and asked for their rate to be reduced actually got it reduced for them,” said Gregoire.

Negotiation opportunity number 3: Insurance

If other companies are offering better deals, take a few minutes to switch providers.

“Last year, just from going from one company to another, taking the 10 minutes to call my insurance agent, I was able to save about $600,” said Gregoire.

Negotiation opportunity number 4: Financial Planning

Your 401K could be riddled hidden fees. Reviewing it closely could save you thousands in the long run.

“I see a lot of folks, they spend 20 minutes cutting grocery coupons to grocery store to save $20, and some of these people are overpaying in their portfolios by thousands of dollars,” explains Gregoire.

Negotiation opportunity number 5: Furniture

Most retailers build an additional 10 percent to 20 percent into the showroom price. Just keep in mind, smaller independent retailers are typically more willing to negotiate than furniture chains.

“You want to negotiate a little bit, see how much value you can get off, or maybe you can buy one off of the showroom that has a little nick in it and maybe save 40 to 50 percent,” said Gregoire.

A few negotiation tips:

  • Be polite -- don't raise your voice or get angry.
  • If you've been a loyal customer, bring it up early and often.
  • Silence can be a powerful tool – wait 30 seconds before accepting their offer, and they might give you an even better deal.
  • Be prepared to walk away. If it's not a good deal, don't take it. Instead, look for a new company.
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