Smartphones are a necessity nowadays. We all use them for a wide variety of reasons, from personal tasks like communicating with our kids to work related tasks such as replying to emails. In a fast paced and sometimes chaotic world, smartphones help keep our lives organized.
However it doesn’t come without a cost. Forget the $500 smartphone, that’s nothing. The monthly bill we get runs into the thousands of dollars per year. Is it possible to lower this expensive monthly bill without sacrificing too much? Indeed it is. With some knowledge and effort, you can reduce your cell phone bill and save hundreds of dollars per year in the process. Here’s a few ways to do it:
If you are pleased with your current cell phone company then you might think you’re stuck paying a hefty bill every month. But that’s not the case. They need you just as much if not more as you need them.
If you don’t like what you’re paying every month, give them a call and negotiate a lower bill. You’ll need to have some ammunition in your back pocket and some strong negotiating skills. Here’s how to get a discount:
Research what a competitor is offering. Usually their best deal is right on the homepage. Is there a plan that’s similar to the one you’re on? Is it cheaper? If so, you’ve got some good ammunition.
Call the 1-800 number and tell the customer service representative you want to cancel your service. Since they’re there to basically route your call, they will forward you to the customer retention department. They will never just cancel your service, it’s actually pretty difficult to cancel.
When the next customer service rep gets on the line, they’ll ask you why you want to cancel and that’s where you’ll tell them that your bill is too high, you can’t afford it and that a competitor is offering a rate $15 lower for the same services. While they may not give you a permanent discount, there’s a few things they can do.
- Give you a one-time credit of $25
- Inspect your bill and recommend removing services you don’t use yet pay for.
- Switch your plan to a newer one that costs less yet provides similar minutes/data.
2. Switch Carriers
Sure, switching to another company might give you a cheaper deal for a while, as companies usually have great introductory offers for new customers. But what about switching to one of the discount cell phone carriers? That’s where you can save a pretty penny.
Did you know that Straight Talk and Republic Wireless use the same cell towers than the big boys: Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon? While the towers are owned by the large companies, they do sell access to the tower to discount cell carriers.
Before you switch, find out what towers the low cost carrier uses by doing a Google search. That way, you’re not even switching the quality of service, you’re just changing the name on your bill. For example, if you have T-Mobile and get good service, then consider switching to Republic Wireless, as they share the same tower.
You can save a lot of money by switching. Right now T-Mobile charges $70 for 1 line, unlimited. Republic Wireless on the other hand charges $30 for unlimited talk/text with 2 gigs of data. That’s a savings of $480 per year.
3. Check Your Monthly Usage
When you signed up for your cell phone plan, you guessed how much you needed as far as talk, text and data. But have you gone back and analyzed just how much you actually use? What about other options, like international calling, voicemail, insurance and roadside assistance? Maybe it’s time to cut back on what you don’t need and lower your bill.
What about data usage? Companies charge you for the data plan you chose, rather than the data you use. Are you only using 3GB but are on a 6GB plan? Then it’s time to downgrade.
Another way to save is to switch to another plan within the same carrier. You may have started off on your own with just 1 phone on your account. But if you’ve added family members to your plan, you may be better off switching to a family plan and pay $20 per new line.
4. Employer Discounts
There are lots of employers who make deals with cell phone companies in order to give their employees a discount. Some of the common occupations that typically have discounts include teachers, nurses, government jobs and members of the military. You’ll need to show proof of employment, such as a pay stub and employer ID card for verification.
The discounts typically range from 10 to 25% of the monthly rate. So for example, if you pay $40 per month for the plan (even though your total bill is $150), you’ll get the discount on the $40 only. So a 25% discount of $40 per month is still a good $10 a month in savings.