Would You Switch Your Cellphone Carrier for $450?

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By Anna Williams

Would You Switch Your Phone Carrier for $450? Pricey smartphone plans may not technically be an "essential" expense -- like rent or groceries -- but, let's be honest, nixing our phones altogether often isn't the first place we look when it comes to tightening our budgets.

That's why we love any opportunity to reduce our phone bills, whether it's negotiating with the company or cutting back on data usage and unnecessary charges.

Now, there's a new cost-cutting strategy, and you can thank good old capitalism for it: Starting last week, AT&T (T) began offering T-Mobile (TMUS) customers up to $450 in credit if they transfer their accounts to the company.

What's the deal? The two carriers are battling it out in a testy price war to win customers. T-Mobile made the first move in March, %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%when they shook up in the industry by deciding to eliminate contracts -- and later announced they were also dropping roaming fees and slashing per-minute prices.

It likely spurred AT&T to make its own tempting pitch: a $200 credit for every phone line switched over, plus up to $250 for trading in a phone (the exact credit depends on the make and model of the device). The promotion only applies to current T-Mobile customers, and the credit can be used toward any charges for devices or monthly services.

Before you rush to make the swap, there could be other ways to lower your monthly costs. First take a detailed look at your phone bill to identify any unnecessary charges.

You can also head to LowerMyBills.com to explore less expensive options -- or call the company directly to negotiate. After all, phone carriers appear eager to offer deals, and probably won't let loyal customers go that easily.

More from LearnVest

Apps That Manage Your Money For You
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Would You Switch Your Cellphone Carrier for $450?

Mint made the Mac App Store's Best of 2012 list for a reason. This simple, clean app shows how much you are spending in each category of your budget by monitoring all of your transactions. We love signing in and getting a quick, dirty rundown of where our money has gone over the last week, and using their personalized budget tools to stay on track. We highly recommend adjusting your budgets for summer months. You might spend less on transportation when the weather is nice, and chances are you could use that extra cash to flesh out that restaurant tab, right?

Price: Free

Available for Apple and Android.

This is the all-in-one financial organizer. Manage all of your accounts, from credit cards to magazine subscriptions, in one place and even make custom accounts for your rent or cleaning service. Get reminders for bill payments, and monitor all of your travel reward points, too. You'll always know what you owe, how much money you have and can plan for upcoming bills and expenses without having to sift through tons of paperwork.

Price: Free

Available for Apple and Android devices.

If you want to isolate the expense tracker function of Mint in a super simple day-to-day app, then DailyCost is a great buy. A wide variety of categories lets users input all of their daily expenses. Holding your phone horizontally, you will be able to see graphs and statistics on your spending. The app also tracks your weekly and monthly spending by category and can be backed up to iCloud for Mac users, so you'll never lose your data.

Price: $1.99

Available for Apple only.

If you're a heavy traveler, Toshl is an excellent expense and budget tracker. It works with any currency and lets you separate your travel budget from your day-to-day expenses. It comes with all the trappings of a regular money management app, too, such as bill organizer and alerts, and can be synced across all your devices.

Price: Free

Available on Apple and Android devices.

Next time you organize a group activity, Tricount will split up the expenses for you. Create the expense report on your phone and organize by person, how much they owe, and then share via email so everyone knows their share. With options for expenses, balance, share, and configuration, the app does all of the math for you.

Price: Free

Available for Apple and Android devices.

Never miss a bill payment again. This app reminds you when your payments are due, and lets you pay on the spot from a bank account or credit card, or you can schedule a payment for the future. Connect all of your accounts to the encrypted app and then view them all in one place for easy access and payment options. You'll never overdraft or miss a payment again.

Price: Free

Available on Apple and Android devices.

Make and share payments with friends. This app uses the same technology to pay as LivingSocial, Uber and Airbnb. Pay with your debit card or transfer funds from a linked bank account, right to a friend's Venmo account. It is Verisign Certified.

Price: Free

Available on Apple and Android devices.

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