I recently opened a new credit card and much to my chagrin, I received a late fee after missing my due date. I thought I had set up auto-payment which I have for all my other cards, but I was wrong. But not to be dismayed, I called my bank and asked if the late fee could be waived since this was abnormal for me. They did it, no questions asked!
I think this is a very commonly underutilized way to leverage your finances. Most of the time, the bank is more concerned with keeping you as a satisfied customer than making a quick buck. If you ever get a fee, take the 5-10 minutes to call your bank and see what they can do for you. You can also lower your interest rates on your credit cards, but since I virtually never pay any interest (except when I screw up), I haven’t taken the time to pursue this.
Some utilities are also prime for calling to reduce your monthly bills on as well. For instance, most internet service providers offer introductory rates which expire after around a year. Just by calling once a year right before my promotion ended, I have managed to keep about the same rate consistently for several years.
Everyone knows that you should shop around every year for insurance, but even if you don’t decide to switch, you should call your insurance company. I was quite surprised to find that I could save about $200 a year without any reductions in coverage! It was also quite a bit lower than the competitor’s rate I was comparing to as well!
Of course, missing payments is generally not a good idea as it can affect your credit and the bank will probably not be so lenient if you make it into a habit and you may not always get a better deal, but definitely call around and see if you can get a better rate!