Wireless providers jack up the prices of cases, chargers, headphones, and other accessories. Shop elsewhere and save.
When you buy a cell phone 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’ve listed below, you can easily save 20 percent or more.
Here are five good sites – followed by five great ones – that offer much better deals…
1. Bluetooth headsets
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.
Price-wise, the wireless providers ran about $10 to $20 higher than other online stores. For example, a BlueAnt Q2 headset…
- Sprint – $99.99 (plus tax)
- TigerDirect.com – $77.99 (free shipping)
- Newegg.com – $69.99 (free shipping)
2. Smartphone cases
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 elsewhere:
- Verizon Wireless – $29.97 (plus tax)
- Overstock.com – $10.49 (plus $2.95 shipping)
- Amazon.com – $12.99 (free shipping)
3. Car chargers
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 my own handset, the Universal Micro USB Car Charger:
- T-Mobile – $29.99 (plus tax)
- Accessory Geeks – $14.99 (free shipping)
- Buy.com – $4.06 (free shipping)
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 Skull Candy Ear Buds:
5. Memory cards
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:
- MetroPCS – $29.00 (plus tax) at
- Frys.com – $12.99 (plus $1.99 shipping)
- Walmart.com – $9.98 (free store pickup)
Buying your cell phone 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 More Steps to a Lower Cell Phone Bill.