Last month I set out to shrink my massive $104 a month cell phone bill down to something more manageable. I had previously knocked around 700 bucks a year off my car insurance and I decided to do the same with my wireless bill. I contacted each of the major carriers and weighed each of their plans against the other. My initial impression was that at $70 a month Sprint was the clear winner.
However, after a few days of consideration T-Mobile pulled out front. They have no contracts, but you have to pay for the phone. When I started to crunch the numbers, the whole thing made more sense. Let’s say I want the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $600. Any contract is going to cost me 200 dollars at sign up. That knocks the cost of the phone down to 400, at $35 a month I will pay that off in the first year. So for a year my cell phone bill on the T-Mobile plan will be: $60 for the plan + $35 for the phone = $95 or roughly what I pay now. After that first year, the number will drop down to $60 a month and will stay that low until I get a new phone. I have had my current phone for 2 and a 1/2 years. That’s over $700 of savings.
My final consideration before making my decision is coverage. This is not an easy thing to figure out. Different wireless providers have different coverage in different areas. I live in NY and from all the information, I could find AT&T and Verizon have the strongest 4G coverage. If I choose Sprint or T-Mobile, would I end up joining a much slower network? How much slower? These questions weighed on me. If I save hundreds of dollars a year, only to get a cell phone that has super slow data and drops calls is it really worth it?
My current provider is Verizon and aside from the high price I am completely happy with their service. I have been with them for nearly ten years and decided to call to see if there was anything they could offer me to prevent me from jumping ship.
I spoke to a rep on the phone and explained my situation. At first they mentioned a new loyalty program, it costs $60 and gives you unlimited talk and text, as well as 2GB of data. This was perfect, exactly what I was looking for. I said, “Sign me up”. I was getting ready to pick a new smart phone and sign a new 2 year contract when they asked to put me on hold. I waited for 10 minutes until the rep returned.
She told me that I was ineligible for the loyalty program. This was very confusing to me. I had been a customer for almost 10 years, that’s longer than most marriages. If I’m not loyal, then who is? She told me that this program was for people upgrading from regular phones to smart phones. Frustrated, I asked to speak with a supervisor.
Whenever I feel that I am not getting the help I need and I feel that I am in the right, I will often ask for a supervisor. Sometimes I will even call back and speak with a different rep. I find that this often works. Think about your own job, some people work harder than others. If you get someone who doesn’t seem to care, or is new, politely hang up and call back. In this case this is exactly what I did and it worked.
I spoke to a different rep and made my case. I mentioned the other plans from other carriers and that if I couldn’t get a better price I would leave. He also put me on hold but came back with a different answer. They were going to give me the $60 a month loyalty program. I was all set.
With a little research and two phone calls I am going to save myself about $42 dollars a month, or nearly $500 a year. That’s 8 trips to a nice restaurant for the “Bride and I”. That’s 4 months of my reduced price car insurance. An hour’s worth of work for $42 a month in saving that I will get for months and months to come. Now I have a bill even lower than the ones I was quoted during my research.
If you feel that your cell phone bill is too high look around and then give them a call. Every dollar you save is one that can be used to reduce debt or use to invest. Use my research as a starting point and figure out what works best for you. A few minutes of your time could put 100’s of dollars back in your pocket.