10 Money-Saving Tips to Stash $10,000 – Tip #5

by Jason on March 1, 2010

Tip #5 – Negotiate Your Cell Phone Plan

Welcome to day five of our roughly 10-day journey, where we are looking at 10 money-saving tips to help save $10,000!  If you missed the introductory post of 10 Money-Savings Tips to Help You Stash $10,000 you’ll definitely want to check it out so we’re all on the same page.

But to sum it up – here’s our mission:

  • The Goal: Save $10,000
  • By When: This time next year
  • How: By implementing 10 money-saving tips

For the next couple weeks we’re going to look at one money-saving tip each Monday through Thursday.

On Thursdays we’re going to look at a tip, but also hear Personal Finance bloggers’ and hopefully some readers’ ideas and experiences on how they’ve saved money!

If you’d like to be included in the Thursday posts – please let me know your best money-saving tip here! We’d love to hear your stories of what you did and how much money you saved by implementing your tip!  If you’re a blogger and have posted about your money-saving tip, please include a link to your post!

Here’s what we’ve been through so far:

Tip #5: Negotiate Your Cell Phone Plan

According to J.D. Power and Associates, the average cell phone bill is about $63 a month, but with the rise of smart phones and iphones, the cost is going up!  In fact, the article points out that those who use their phones for email, texting and downloading spend on average $14 more per month than those who don’t!

Many times, folks who sign up for a plan rarely review what they’re paying for and anaylyze their usage.  It’s important to take a look at how many minutes you are using and what exactly is included in your plan.

These things can add up pretty fast, so what’s the best way to negotiate your way to a lower cell phone bill?  It can take shape in a few different forms, so let’s take a look.

Check into Corporate Discounts

You’re probably well aware that many large companies sign contracts with cell phone providers at discounted rates.   What you may not know is that many of those discounts are available to employees even if the company isn’t shelling out the dough for your phone.

In fact, my company offers discounts with the four main carriers and once I found out I called our cell provider immediately and asked for the corporate discount.  That was good for a 16% break!

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 Check into Bundling Discounts

If you have your internet, tv or even a land-line with another company, give them a call.  Many times, these companies are willing to offer some bundling discounts to get more of your business.

Give your current cable or internet provider a call and let them know you’re shopping around for cell providers and ask them what kind of discounts they can offer you to get you to switch your plan.

Call to Negotiate Your Own Discount

This is the hardest one on the list because it takes determination, courage and talking to customer service!  But it can be done.  Just like most companies, it’s cheaper  for cell companies to retain a customer than it is to acquire one – this works in your favor.

The Dollar Stretcher has a great post about optimizing your cell phone plan.  I’ll reiterate some of their points here.

1. Do your research on other plans out there.

If you’re with Sprint (like I am) then spend a few minutes and check out what AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile offer for similar minutes.  If they are comparable or better yet, cheaper, then you’ll want to make a good note of what they’v e got.

The best way to do this is through a site called Bill Shrink.  All you do is enter the amount you currently pay for cell service and click enter and this site will let you shop different plans to evaluate the least expensive out there.  It’s a very cool site.

2. Give your cell phone company a call.

Be nice when you call.  You’ll get nowhere with an attitude!  Politely let them know that you are shopping your plan and you’d like to know what they can do for you as a current customer.

For this to work, you must be willing to drop your carrier.  More than likely, they’ll run through their plans and tell you there ins’t much they can do.

3. Ask to be transfered to the Retention Department

Again, you want to be truthful in this.  I do not advocate lying to get a discount.  But, if you are willing to drop your carrier, the Retention Department is where the authority is.  They are the ones who can reduce costs and make things happen.

When you do get transferred, you’ll want to politely let them know that you’re trying to cut some costs and one of the ways you wanted to do that was by lowering your cell phone bill.

They’ll tell you  that you need to drop your minutes.  Let them know that if there’s nothing they can do that you’d like to cancel your contract.

If you’re willing to cancel your contract, this should work.  If it doesn’t, then give one of the competitors a call and ask them what kind of deal they can give you.  You should be able to save some cash doing these things.

Estimated Savings: $10-$25 per month

What has been your experience with getting a discount from your cell phone carrier?

Check Out All The Tips From Our Series

Tip #1: Cut Back on Going Out to Eat

Tip #2: Evaluate Your Entertainment

Tip #3: Cut Your Cable

Tip #4: Turn Your Heat Down

Tip #5: Negotiate Your Cell Phone Plan

Tip #6: Get Rid of Your Land Line

Tip #7: Slash Your Grocery Bill by Cutting Out Junk Food!

Tip #8: Use Coupons, For Everything!

Tip #9: Negotiate Your Home and Auto Insurance

Tip #10: Start Packing Lunches!

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