Last month, we challenged you to save money on your mobile phone bill by switching to a cheaper plan. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to switch carriers, though. You might be able to negotiate a better price with your current one.
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We've thrown all kinds money challenges at you this year, and all year long, you've been acing them. This month, we want to help you save on a specific expense. Your mobile phone bill.
Carriers make it pretty easy to jump ship and port over your number, but let's be real: It's still kind of a pain. A much easier option is to call your current provider, tell them you're thinking of switching, then see if they're willing to work with you.
Obviously, do your research before you call. Write down how many minutes and texts you use every month as well as how much data you use regularly. This way, your carrier can find a plan that actually suits your needs -- there's no point in paying $20 more for unlimited if you never even need it.
Plus, this info allows you to compare apples to apples when you're researching other options. So if you have a plan with Telstra, you can tell them exactly how much you would save by switching to a discount carrier based on your actual usage.
Once you've researched, it's time to call and make your case. Over at LearnVest, personal finance author Beth Kobliner offers a few tips for haggling your bill:
Steer Clear of Yes/No Questions: Asking what the company can do for you puts the ball in its court.
Remember That Timing Is Important: "You have the best chance of negotiating with your current carrier near the end of your contract when they're most desperate to keep you," Kobliner told us.
Tout Your Allegiance: It costs a company way more to acquire new customers than to hang on to the ones it already has. Use that to your advantage. If you're a long-time customer, remind the rep of that on the phone and explain that you would rather not switch companies -- as long as your current one can move things around in your favour.
Your mileage will vary. Not every carrier is going to budge, but it really can't hurt to ask. And if they don't bite, you've already done the research, so you can still plan your switch. Again, it's a little more work than a phone call, but at least you'll save some cash every month.