Cellphone Bill Too High? Proven Tips That Could Save You $1,000 a Year
PHOTO: Cynthia Gratzer

ABC News' Paula Faris reports:

Cynthia Gratzer and her family now will be saving almost $1,000 a year on their cellphone bill.

The Houston blogger saw a "World News" piece in January on ending wireless waste and watched Phil Barry of Marshfield, Mass., shrink his cellphone bill by nearly $1,400 a year.

Following Barry's lead, Gratzer headed to a website called Savelovegive.com.

Savelovegive.com was launched by a company called Validas, which performs analysis of cellphone usage for large corporations, helping them cut down their cell phone bills. Validas has recently made the same technology available to consumers for free.

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Gratzer told ABC News that after visiting the website, she found that she'd been overspending big time on her cellphone bill.

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She changed her family's cell plan, added a corporate discount that her husband was eligible for and cut back on insurance costs. Now she stands to save nearly $1,000 during the course of a year.

"Who would have thought $1,000?" she asked. "That's a huge amount of money. That can make a big difference."

Validas' Todd Dunphy, who paired up with ABC News' "Real Money" team to share several money-saving tips, including looking for hidden charges as well as using corporate discounts, said the response to the piece was overwhelming.

After the piece aired on "World News," 40,000 new users signed up, temporarily crashing Savelovegive.com.

According to Validas, those users stand to save a staggering $2.5 million on their wireless bills.

Below, Savelovegive.com's Dunphy adds a few more industry secrets to the original "Real Money" list for reducing a cellphone bill:

1. Use wifi when you're home or at work. If you have a reliable WiFi connection, you can save your cell data for the opportunities when you really need it.

2. Make sure the carrier's insurance plan makes sense for you. Those monthly charges can add up to $120 a year per phone. Dunphy says that, for many, they may not be the best option.

"You gotta ship your phone. You gotta wait for your phone to come in the mail. And it's usually a refurbished one. You have to pay a deductible," he said.

Dunphy advised going without insurance or using third-party insurance such as Apple Care.

3. Any fee is negotiable. Dunphy suggested talking to your cellphone carrier before paying an activation or upgrade fee.

"In the store, you can talk to them [salespeople]," he said. "You can say, 'I've spent $2,000 a year, $3,000 a year. Can you waive that fee?' … There's no reason to not ask."

4. Let free websites figure it out for you. Just plug in your phone number. At Savelovegive.com, you log in with your carrier account information, giving the site access to your previous bills. The site analyzes the bills, looking at usage and charges. It then compares your plan to other available plans, offering you ways to adjust your current plan and save.

Savelovegive.com currently works for AT&T and Verizon customers, but the site plans to expand to other carriers. Another analysis site is Billshrink.com.

5. Look for charges such as horoscope texts, roadside assistance and 411. Tiny charges can be added to your bill without your knowledge. On average, it's more than $5 a month, according to a study by the Citizens Utility Board and Validas. If you see a charge you're not familiar with, contact your carrier to have it removed.

6. Get your discount. Tens of thousands of companies work with cellphone carriers to get their employees discounts. It's not just for corporate workers. Teachers, government workers and even students can qualify. But the key is that you have to ask for it, entering your organizational email address on the carrier's discount website. Check the discount pages at AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

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