Does your monthly cell phone bill send you into shock? It doesn’t have to. For many of us, cell phone bills are our largest monthly expense after housing and transportation. Not only are we talking a lot on our cell phones, but if we have a smartphone with a data plan, we’re texting, sending photos, checking email, playing games, surfing the web, and much more. Here are a few ways you can cut down on the cost of your mobile phone bill:
Adjust Your Plan to Fit Your Needs
Maybe you’re only with a certain provider because they had an awesome deal a year ago on the latest iPhone and now you realize you’re overpaying for a plan that doesn’t suit you. (i.e. You’re always texting, but never calling, and paying big bucks for calls.) Examine your phone habits; then, pick a plan that best matches them. Talk to a representative from your cell phone provider to find an option that best suits you or research other cell phone companies to find a better deal!
Think About the Real Value of Insurance
If you buy a brand new phone, the cellphone company representative will likely suggest you buy insurance. Insurance can cost anywhere from $10 to $15 or more per month depending on the phone and carrier. While it may be a good idea to have insurance for the phone for the first six to 12 months, the value of the phone will decrease significantly within a year and you may end up replacing it with an upgraded version anyway. Consider canceling insurance coverage as the phone gets older.
Use Your Discount
Many companies and employers offer a discount on certain cell phone providers. Ask your supervisor if this is an option for you. Another way of getting a discount? Ask your service provider if you can get one based on the fact that you’ve been a valued customer for several years during your next upgrade. Student discounts also go under-utilized because people aren’t aware of them. If you’re a student, call your phone company and ask for a discount. Be prepared to provide your school email address as proof of your enrollment.
Join a Group Plan
It might be far cheaper for you to jump on your family’s or roommates’ plan – since there’s usually free or cheap in-network calling and texting – find out who they’re with and do a little research, then join in!
Track Your Minutes
Bad about tracking how much time you’ve spent on the phone each month? Sign up for free e-mails or text messages from overmyminutes.com – this service lets you know when you are close to reaching your limit.
Talk + Text for Free
Look into apps that provide free talking and texting options for anyone who has them downloaded, and tell your most-talked-to friends and family to get them, too. Some great options are Viber, Skype Mobile and Textfree, Snapchat and WhatsApp.
Don’t Call Toll-Free Numbers or 411
Dial 4-1-1 from a cell phone, and it could cost you $1 or more. Crazy! Fortunately, you can skip the charge and still get the information that you need by calling 1-800-GOOG-411, a free 4-1-1 service provided by Google. You can also save toll-free calls for a landline phone and utilize the Internet you’re already paying for on your mobile for 411 related information.
If you’re really having trouble keeping track of your usage and just can’t help going over – then prepaid options might be your best bet. Many cell phone users are so conditioned to the phone-contract concept that they can’t even fathom switching to a prepaid phone. Prepaid plans vary. Some charge a daily fee; others charge only for the minutes you use. If you’re a light to moderate phone user, you can save a lot of money when you compare the costs to a traditional contract plan. You can set your phone budget and be more obligated to stick to it – or else you’ll be cut off.
Until Next Time,