Cell phones are a necessary expense, but saving money on your monthly bill is important. Companies are eager to keep their customers and often offer discounts for loyalty or longevity.
Many low-income households can get a free phone and service through the Lifeline program.
Check Your Eligibility
Many major carriers offer a discount—usually about $5 per line—on eligible plans for customers who opt-in to autopay. This can save you from remembering to pay your bill every month, which can sometimes be a big problem for some people. But before you sign up, check with the carrier’s fine print to ensure they offer this deal on all their prepaid and postpaid plans, not just select ones.
Finally, you can save by switching to a prepaid plan that offers unlimited talk and text and lower data rates. This could be especially helpful if you’re struggling to meet your minimum monthly income or are living on welfare.
Often, cell phone carriers will offer discounts to new customers. They will only lower their prices for existing customers if you push them to do so. Customers should research the plans offered by their current carrier and those of competitors in their area. Customers should also understand the terms and conditions of each plan, including line access fees.
You may apply for free phone service in Maryland if you are a student, government employee, or service member. You can find out by calling your provider or looking online. You can also ask your friends and family members what carriers they use for their service.
Being polite when asking for a discount on your plan is important. Explain why you seek a better deal and mention that you’re a loyal customer. It would help if you were prepared to haggle with your representative. Most people are surprised they can negotiate a better price on their cell phone service, but it’s worth the effort!
Ask for a Better Price
You haggle on clothes, groceries, medical bills, and electronics – but you probably don’t think about negotiating with your cell phone carrier. However, savvy customers know that saving money on their plans is possible by asking for better rates and discounts.
Start by examining your current plan, including fees you still need to authorize. Then, compare your plan with those offered by competitors. Then, ask your provider to match or beat those rates. You may have to do some research or call several providers, but it is well worth the effort if you can get your costs reduced.
Some carriers offer discounted prices for students, government employees, and current or former service members. Check with your carrier to see if you qualify for these discounts. Also, consider adding a second line or getting a family plan to lower your per-line cost. These are usually cheaper than buying one line for yourself, especially with discount carriers. If your representative refuses to budge, try threatening to cancel your account and switch to a competitor. They will often drop rates to retain you.
Switch Your Plan
It’s not uncommon for people to pay too much for their cell phone plans. Our 2023 Mobile Overspending Report found that the average American overspends on their cell phone bill by over $110. But there are several easy ways to cut costs and still get good service.
One of the most obvious is to switch providers. Many carriers offer discounts to new customers, and you can save by switching to a cheaper tier. You can also reduce your per-line cost by adding lines to your account. Family plans can be cheaper than individual plans, and you can reduce your data consumption by having multiple users on the same plan.
You can also reduce your bills by signing up for autopay and paperless statements. You can even find companies that negotiate your bills for you (although they take a cut of your savings). You can save big on your wireless bill by making these simple changes. Plus, you’ll have more money for a new cell phone or other smartphone accessories.
Negotiate Your Bill
Research and interpersonal finesse can go a long way in reducing service provider bills. When you’re ready to negotiate, it’s a good idea to start by signing in to your account and gathering your relevant data. You’ll want to know how much you are paying, what services and channels you are currently using, and what competing companies charge for similar services in your area.
Then, when you call to talk about your bill, it’s important to be polite and patient with the customer service representative. If you convey that you are a loyal customer and would be willing to cancel service if they don’t offer you a better deal, that can help.
Alternatively, many third-party services will negotiate your bills on your behalf. They typically work by having you upload your bills to their app or website, and they will then contact the providers on your behalf to ask for a discount. In many cases, these services can save you a ton of time and money.