5 items not to buy from a wireless provider
The cellphone companies jack up the prices of cases, chargers, headphones and other accessories. Here's where to find better deals.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
When you buy a cellphone through your wireless provider's website, you have the option of buying all your accessories before you click the "checkout" button. Ordering everything at once is the easiest way to stock up, but you'll spend a lot more.
In fact, if you add up the savings I list below, you'll find you can easily reduce your spending by 20% or more by finding a less expensive source for those items.
Not all wireless companies sell the same accessories, but here are five apples-to-apples comparisons, along with places websites that offer better deals. (Shop around and you might find even better prices.)
The major wireless providers carry a limited selection of Bluetooth headsets from the biggest players: Jabra, BlueAnt, Motorola, and Jawbone. Sprint and Verizon Wireless had a few more choices, but that isn't saying much, because most tech sites carried at least three times as many.
For example, a Jawbone Era (not sold by T-Mobile):
- Verizon Wireless -- $129.99.
- AT&T -- $129.99.
- Sprint -- $129.99.
- TheNerds.net -- $106.99.
- Amazon.com -- $54.79.
Post continues below.
Your wireless provider has you (and your phone) covered when it comes to cases. But they still cost more than at other sites. For example, you could save more than $17 if you buy an Apple iPhone 4 Bumper case (not sold by T-Mobile):
- Verizon Wireless -- $29.97.
- Sprint -- $29.
- AT&T -- $24.
- Amazon.com -- $12.99.
- Overstock.com -- $10.49.
Wireless providers sell car chargers made by the handset manufacturer, and like many things in life, you're paying for the brand name. In my opinion and experience, as long as the charger's input connection matches your phone's outlet, you're good to go. For example, I found a huge discount on a car charger for the phone I use, the Universal Micro USB car charger:
- T-Mobile -- $29.99.
- Verizon Wireless -- $29.99.
- Sprint -- $34.99.
- AT&T -- $29.99.
- Accessory Geeks -- $14.99.
- Buy.com -- $4.06.
Most smartphones come with a pair of basic headphones. You can upgrade to a better pair through your wireless provider -- or you could save some money and buy them just about anywhere else. For example, I found a $15 discount by shopping around for my Skullcandy earbuds (not sold at Sprint):
- AT&T -- $39.99.
- Verizon Wireless -- $39.99.
- T-Mobile -- $39.99.
- Car Toys -- $34.99.
- Newegg.com -- $24.99.
Everyone from drugstores to discount sites sells memory cards, so you have plenty of choices beyond the small handful offered by your wireless provider. And those choices can save you a good chunk of change. A 4GB SanDisk memory card, for example (not sold at T-Mobile):
- Verizon Wireless -- $24.99.
- AT&T -- $24.99.
- Sprint -- $29.99.
- Frys.com -- $12.99.
- Walmart.com -- $9.98.
Buying your cellphone accessories from a competing site is one way to save money on your wireless service, but it isn't the only way. Check out "5 ways to save on your cellphone bill."
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
- 8 massive ways to save at bulk stores
- 19 uses for baking soda, dryer sheets and beer
- 5 stupid ways I wasted money this week
Man, this rule is across the board for any electronic accessories - TRY EBAY.COM FIRST. Car chargers - $3.00 w/shipping.
Skins can be found at Dollar Tree for $1. Try it on phone before you purchase.
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