Welcome to the this week's Women's Money Week Action Step. Before you get started, we recommend that you read this post about getting started with Women's Money Week.
About This Week's Action
Are you currently getting a discount on your cell phone plan? And how many cell phone minutes did you have left over last month? 50? 100? 300+? I'm guessing you have no idea. Most people just pay their bill and as long as it doesn't ring up as too much more than the previous month they don't even bother checking their minutes. But you could be throwing money down the drain. This week's action is to check (and change) your cell phone usage AND check for possible discounts.
Why Take This Action
You'll Save Money
By downgrading your cell phone plan to pay for only what you use, you'll save some money. And, with incredibly easy to apply discount codes for certain employers and students, you may save up to 28% off your cell phone plan every single month.
How Long Does This Action Take?
It will take you about 20 minutes to access and review 4 previous months' bills. It will take you 5 minutes to check for applicable discount codes.
How to Check Your Cell Phone Minutes & Get a Discount Code
1. Check Your Cell Phone Usage
Gather/download your cell phone bills for the past 4 months. On a piece of paper jot down how many minutes you used each month along with how many rollover minutes you added or used (if applicable.) On you bill check how many minutes you pay for. All the major plans offer 450, 900, and unlimited minutes. Sprint also offers 200 minutes.
Compare your usage for the past 4 months to these available plans. Determine if you can downgrade. For example, if you currently pay for 900 minutes a month, but the past 4 months you've only averaged 500 minutes and have accumulated hundreds of rollover minutes, downgrade to the 450 minute plan. When you have rollover minutes with ATT you are allowed to keep the number of rollover minutes equivalent to the new plan you're changing to. In this case, you'd keep 450 minutes. Averaging 500 minutes a month you can use up your 450 rollover minutes in 9 months. This would save you over $180.
2. Downgrade Your Cell Minutes as Needed
If downgrading your plan makes sense for you, simply make the change on your account online.
3. Check for Plan Employee and Student and Other Discount Codes
I currently save 15% each month on my cell phone bill through an employee discount plan. Many major and some smaller employers offer them. And if you're a student (or still have an active student email address in some situations) you may also be eligible. Here's how to check for a cell phone plan discount:
ATT Discount for Students and Employees: Visit this website and enter your affiliated email address. (Try the one at your company or school.) If you're a member of a union you may qualify for an additional benefit for unions - check out UnionPlus.org for more information.
Verizon Discounts for Employees and Students: This page at Verizon can be filled out with your employer information to see if you qualify.
Sprint Discounts for Employees and Students: Enter your email address on this page to see if you qualify. If you're a credit union member you may also qualify for a Sprint discount through LoveMyCreditUnion.
T-Mobile Discounts: For TMobile you must login here to see if your organization qualifies.
For all cell phone plans this list is the most complete (but still far from complete) list of discounts by company. It's a starting point, but instead of using the list I would contact your cell phone carrier directly.
You've made it this far! Now that you know what this week's action is, why to take it, and how to take it, you should commit to taking action. To commit to taking this week’s action, you could simply just tell yourself you're going to follow the steps in the how section.
But what are the chances you are actually going to find the time to do this, when you have so many other things to do? Instead, you should commit and hold yourself accountable. To hold yourself accountable do 3 things:
- Leave a comment below answering the question: Do you currently get a discount on your cell phone plan? If not, check now and report back if you qualify.
- Sign up for the week by registering here. When you "register" for this week's action on Eventbrite (totally free) it allows us to easily email you twice during the week to help hold you accountable. (If you want to know why you should do this, read this post.) We'll email you twice during the week to remind you to take action and check your cell phone usage.
This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.