This seems like a fitting time to raise the subject with the new iPhone 8 coming to market as well as the much anticipated iPhone X but, why do most consumers only focus on upgrading their actual phone to the best one available, but they neglect to check their actual cellphone bill? The actual cellphone bill, from a monthly cost perspective, is much more expensive than the actual phone itself, but many people forget to call their cellphone provider at least once every 18 months to see if they can lower their bill, and those costs add up over time.
The cycle usually works something like this – Apple or Samsung announce a new phone. You as the customer realize that you are in line for an upgrade so you go to the store. They show you a bunch of fancy new phones and then renew your current contract without ever going over any new deals on data and cell plans, and they lock you into a two year contract. You walk out of the store with your shinny new phone and completely forget that you should be checking your current plan to see if there are any cheaper options. Not to worry, here are some quick tips that everyone should be doing to make sure that you are flexing your muscle as a consumer.
- Set reminders — Set a calendar reminder for 6, 12, and 18 months from the date of your cellphone upgrade. This reminder should include the phone number for your cellphone carrier (we use gethuman.com to contact our companies) so you can get someone on the line quickly and have them review your bill with you. This way you don’t need to keep your nagging cellphone bill at the top of your mind, and you’ll feel good that you set a reminder to yourself to help save some money.
- Gather data — Make sure you have a current copy of your bill, and before you call, take a minute to go through your bill to make sure you aren’t over paying for your current needs. Many people get signed into very expensive data plans and end up only using a fraction of the allocated amount each month. This scenario is a prime candidate for a potential bill lowering as you can downgrade to a cheaper plan that will still satisfy your monthly data needs. Most consumers don’t realize that unless you are streaming shows on your phone or playing video games all day long, you most likely don’t need that much data each month, so make sure you have the correct plan for your needs.
- Check your plan — This works the other way as well. Take a look at your overage and fees section and make sure you aren’t getting penalized for going over your allotted data amounts. These can be exceptionally costly, often times more expensive than paying for the next level or service higher than your current plan.
- Analyze competitors — Before you call you should also equip yourself with your cellphone company’s competitor offerings. If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, does Sprint have a better deal? What’s AT&T current offering? T-Mobile is very competitive when it comes to customer acquisition so make sure you check to see if they have a cheaper deal so you can let Verizon know. Remember, it costs these companies a heck of a lot more to acquire you as a customer than it does to retain you so that means they most likely have a cheaper offering for you to try and lure you away from your current provider.
- Negotiate — The easiest thing to do is ask for the company’s current offerings. Have the rep see if there’s a better plan that fits your needs. If you are married or have kids on your account, ask the rep to see if it’s possible to combine the accounts onto one family plan. If there’s a better option, great! Have them sign you up but before you do, you should ask if there’s a contract involved and if that means there will be a cancellation fee. The key here is you want if possible to not commit to more than a year so that when your bill lowering reminder goes off in a year, you can possibly switch providers to a cheaper plan.
- Threaten to quit — If that didn’t work, tell them that you are thinking of cancelling and going to one of their competitors. Remember how you looked up the competition’s current offerings? Now is the time to use it. Let them know you have seen some compelling offers from the competitor and that you are thinking of cancelling. Tell them your current plan is just getting to be too expensive and that you are thinking of switching. You will almost always end up with a better deal than you are currently getting. Trust us.
This may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. With some simple tooling and a little bit of diligence, you’ll make sure that you are always getting the best deal. By setting a calendar reminder and taking 15–20 minutes every six months to make a phone call to discuss your bill, you’ll be saving money without much effort. The key as always is to arm yourself with as much information about your current situation, as well as what the market is dictating in terms of alternative offerings, and take a few minutes out of your lunch break every few months to see if you can help put some extra dollars back into your pocket each year.
For more money saving tips, make sure to always check swish.com or download the app. It’s the easiest way to control your spending,
and resolve issues with any purchase.