Cell phones. You just can’t seem to get away from them nowadays. It seems that just about everyone in America has a cell phone. In fact, my wife and I use cell phones and Skype as our main form of communication. We just don’t have the need for a land line, and not having one saves us about $20 per month.
But cell phone bills can be confusing to understand, and often times cost way more than they should! These tips can help you reduce your cell phone bill so you have more money to do the important things in life.
Top 15 Ways to Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill
1. Mind Your Data Limit
Choose the lowest Data option available for your carrier and make sure to stay within your limits. You can do this by keeping your phone on a Wi-fi service at home, work and in public settings that offer free wi-fi connection. Most businesses offer free Wi-fi while you are shopping or eating, you just have to check your available connections. Now if you are on your phone constantly for work, then I would recommend opting into the unlimited data package, as that would be more cost effective than accidentally going over your data usage for the month and racking up overage fees. So keep up with your data usage for a month or two and see how you would do with lowering your plan. You can still get an unlimited data plan through T-Mobile and Sprint.
2. To Text, Or Not To Text… That Is The Question
Most people send or receive at least a few text messages per month. At $0.10 – $0.15 per text, it can add up quickly. Most cell phone companies offer unlimited text plans for anywhere from $5 – $10 per month. Look at your last few cell phone bills. If the number of texts you send or receive covers the cost of unlimited texts, then pay for unlimited texts. Otherwise, drop unlimited texts and pay as you go or request the cell phone company block texts messages to your cell phone to avoid paying for any text messages.
3. Drop the Insurance
If you have a new smartphone or other expensive phone, insurance may be worth it – but probably only for a few months to a year. After that, you can easily replace the phone by signing a new contract and buying a new phone at a discounted price. So after that time frame, drop the insurance, at $3-5 per month, it adds up quickly! Over the course of your contract, you probably paid enough in insurance costs to buy a new phone.
4. Drop Roadside Assistance
Here’s another $3-5 per month that you can get away without paying. Many auto insurance plans offer it for less than cell phone companies do, or you may even already have it in your plan. Why pay for something twice?
5. Consider Using a Prepaid Cell Phone
I had a pay as you go cell phone when I lived in England. For me, it was the best option. Now, I have a smart phone and data plan, and a prepaid phone just wouldn’t cut it. But for many people, it is a great option. If you only make occasional calls from your cell phone, then you could end up saving yourself a good bit of money each month going Prepaid, so you should definitely consider changing your cell phone plan. One great benefit to a prepaid plan is NO CONTRACT! Along with other benefits of course such as more flexibility and lower costs. Virgin Mobile and Cricket Wireless are great for those using on average about 2-3 GB of data monthly. You can also check out T-Mobile’s Pay As You Go Plan, AT&T GoPhones or pay as you go plans with TracFone.
6. Combine or Drop Lines
Family plans are a great way to save money on your cell phone bill. You can often get an add-on line for about $10 per line for shared minutes. This is much less expensive than paying full price for a new line. You can even share a family plan among friends if you are willing to agree to a contract and have a strong enough friendship to deal with any contract or payment issues that may pop up. Consider dropping unnecessary lines as well.
7. Take Advantage of Employee Discounts
All of the major carriers offer discounts to the employees of companies that take out corporate accounts. The corporate account will have to have a minimum number of lines to get the employee discount (usually five), but the threshold is very low with all the carriers. The larger the corporate account, the better the discount the employees will receive.These discounts are often available to any member of the company, regardless of whether or not your company picks up the tab and whether or not you are full time. Expect to save anywhere from 5% – 30% off your total cell phone bill. It never hurts to ask around for those discounts!
8. Double Check Your Invoice!
Cell phone invoices can be confusing, but it is important to understand them and what each charge is. Some of the charges are not required by the government, even though they have “official” sounding names. Some of these include regulatory cost recovery, Federal Universal Service, E-9-1-1, or number portability. These are put in place by the cell phone companies to recover their costs.A great way to double check your invoice is to use Validas, which analyzes your invoice for errors or ways to reduce your bill. The Validas service will make recommendations based on your plan and usage that can take care of several of the tips in this article in one fell swoop. Validas is also currently offering a free trial of their service.
9. Use Free Directory Assistance
Calling 411 information service from your cell phone can cost a dollar or more. So why not get the same info for free? Try using Free411 by calling 1-800-free411.
10. Avoid Costly Extras
Ringtones, games, mP3’s, GPS service, and streaming videos are not only unnecessary, they are extremely costly as well. $1.99 doesn’t seem like much until you add about 20 of those together. Some of the ringtone and text services cost $10 or more per month. Your best bet is to stay away!
11. Use a Land Line for Local Calls
If you are near a land line, pick up the phone extension instead of using your mobile phone. It will save you a few of your plan’s minutes. I wouldn’t recommend doing this from work because some companies have policies against personal phone use.Just a note… I only have a cell phone, so whenever someone calls me long distance from a landline, I always call them right back. My long distance is unlimited and I never use all my minutes. Hopefully I can save them a few bucks! 🙂
12. Utilize In-Network Calling
Mobile to mobile, in-network, Favorites, or whatever your carrier calls it this week, they all have one thing in common – the ability to save you money! If the majority of your friends and family are on one network, consider changing cell providers to their network – it will save all of you minutes and money! If you need to change carriers, there are ways to cancel your cell phone bill without paying fees, or transfer your cell phone contract without fees.
13. Roaming Charges & Data Roaming Charges
Beware of roaming charges! These can add up quickly! Double check your service plan and be familiar with your local area. If you have a nationwide plan (which is the only way to go in my opinion!), you still might receive roaming charges if you frequently use your cell phone where your provider doesn’t have any towers. It’s best to be aware of your situation to avoid these charges!
14. Out of Contract? Negotiate a Lower Rate or Shop For a New Plan
Cell phone companies love it when you are in a contract because you are basically at their mercy. Once you are out of your contract you are free to go to another carrier. So shop around. If you find a better deal but prefer your current carrier, negotiate a lower rate. You may have to enter into a new contract, but you may be able to save a few bucks every month. You may also be able to get a great deal on a new cell phone. T-Mobile is currently offering some great deals on their individual and family cell phone plans, and here are special AT&T Wireless offers.
15. Get Out of Your Cellphone Contract Without Paying Fees
This is the ultimate in lowering your cell phone bill – get rid of it altogether! Here are tips on how to cancel your cell phone contract without paying early termination fees and how to transfer your cell phone contract without paying fees. These are only good options if you are looking to drop your cell phone coverage or find a cheaper plan.
10 Minutes Can Save You Money Every Month
None of these tips are difficult to pull off, and in most cases will take about 10 minutes or less. And the savings you achieve should make it well worth your time. So start looking over your cell phone usage today and save yourself some money each month!