Wireless providers thrive on peddling a myriad of extra features and services on top of your basic service plan. Early nights and weekends, roadside assistance, mobile TV, hotspots and GPS are all fair game and can add anywhere between a couple of bucks to $10 or more to your wireless bill each month, per service.
What’s even more concerning is that many people don’t even look at their monthly bill. Checking your bill and eliminating some of these unnecessary perks can go a long way to putting some extra dough back in your pocket each month. Here are 12 ideas to help cutting back on your wireless cell and data plan:
A most obvious tip yet equally rewarding as well… using Wi-Fi whenever possible will help cut down on data usage, especially when streaming music or video to your smartphone. I realize that some may disable Wi-Fi when not in use due to extra battery drain but forgetting to turn it back on could be a financial mistake if you don’t have an increasingly rare unlimited data plan. Just use caution when submitting sensitive information over public hotspots and you should be fine.
2. Negotiate a lower rate.
Despite what you’ve probably been taught, everything is negotiable. Your mileage here will vary but you’ll never know unless you ask. This usually works best in person at your local authorized retailer, but deals can be arranged over the phone as well. One way to segue into a negotiation is threatening to take your business elsewhere. I had one wireless carrier offer me a high-end phone free of charge if I agreed to sign another contract. Normally I would have had to pay $200 for said phone but I got it free simply by mentioning I was interested in another carrier.
3 . Ask for corporate / organization / educational discounts.
Thousands of companies, organizations and educational institutions have partnerships in place with wireless carriers to offer discounts to employees, members and students. The problem is that most people don’t know about these as wireless providers don’t exactly advertise them front and center.
Most simply require you to enter your organizational or school e-mail address to see if you qualify. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all have discount pages for your convenience. I’ve personally seen discounts range from 10 percent to as much as 25 percent.
True unlimited data is a rare commodity these days. As smartphones became more widespread, carriers quickly realized they could make more on average by charging less for fixed data packages and banking on the notion that at least some would go over their data allotment and have to purchase additional data at a much higher rate each month.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those of us that are grandfathered into comparatively expensive unlimited data plans that don’t need to be. I was a perfect example of this not too long ago. After analyzing my data usage over the past two years, I realized I never once exceeded 2GB on any given month. For me, it made more sense financially to drop the expensive unlimited plan in exchange for a cheaper 2GB plan.