It isn’t uncommon for people to spend $100 a month on their cell phone bill. Considering you can lease a new car for not much more than that, that’s no small amount of money. Over the course of a year, that means you’re spending more than $1,000 to use your cell phone. Now, we’re not advocating that you get rid of your cell phone. Of course not! In today’s digital world, a cell phone is a must-have. But there are ways to save money. If you’re looking for ways to be thriftier with your cash, here are some helpful tips!
Get a New Cell Phone Plan
What’s the easiest and most efficient way to save money on your cell phone plan? Get a new cell phone plan! The good news is that carriers are constantly one-upping each other in the hopes of earning your business. If the wireless marketplace was like real estate, it would very much be a buyer’s market right now. Use this to your advantage. Shop around and see what plans are available. You will likely find that you can get more for less, at least when compared to your existing wireless plan. Carriers like T-Mobile, for example, offer unlimited data plans as standard practice now. If you haven’t shopped for a plan in a while, you might be surprised to find how far your dollar goes.
Buy the RIGHT Cell Phone Plan
Who among us wasn’t tempted to buy the largest plan on offer when we bought our first smartphone, and then never revisited that plan to see if we actually needed it or not? We’d be willing to bet it’s a fairly common scenario. So ask yourself: What does your plan offer, and do you need everything that you’re paying for? You can determine this by tracking and estimating your data usage more carefully (more on that below) and inquiring with your provider. They will have your historical usage information, and will be happy to share it with you if it means keeping you as a customer – even if that means doing so at a lower monthly rate.
Track Your Usage
If you find that you’re going over your data, minutes, or texting limits, you may want to start tracking your usage more carefully. Most carriers provide this data to you; so it’s merely a matter of checking in every once in a while to see if you’re closing in on your limits. If you haven’t done so already, download your wireless provider’s mobile app. Not only will you be able to pay your bills directly through the app, but you’ll be able to keep track of your minutes, texts, and data as well. Some smartphones, like Apple’s iPhone, even update this information in real time under your Settings. Needless to say, there’s no excuse for not knowing!
Consider Prepaid Phones
For some of us, the idea of going a single afternoon without our smartphone is enough to cause a panic attack. For others, they may not use their phone for days at a time. For these people, prepaid phones might be a better option. With a prepaid phone, you pay only as much as you want. Choose how much you’d like to pay for in advance, use the phone until your value runs down to zero, and then add money to your account – it’s that simple. For someone who uses their phone daily, it isn’t a viable plan, of course, but for the occasional smartphone user, it can save hundreds of dollars a year in cell phone bills.
Use Texting Apps & Make Calls from Your Computer
One way to get around texting limits and avoid going over your minutes is with apps like Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, and Skype. Of course, there is a disclaimer: The person you are texting or calling will need to have an account with the app as well. But if you count tech-savvy people among your friends and family, this likely won’t be an issue. These applications not only help you avoid using texts and minutes, which is great for avoiding costly overages, they can help you lower your monthly commitment for these options as well, which in turn will result in a lower monthly bill. And best of all, if you use these apps on Wi-Fi, you don’t even have to worry about dipping into your data usage. Which reminds us, speaking of Wi-Fi…
Use Wi-Fi Wherever & Whenever Possible
By now, you should know that if Wi-Fi is available, use it (but do so with precaution). Anytime that you can sync into a Wi-Fi connection, you avoid using your data. Furthermore, Wi-Fi lets you use apps like Skype to chat with friends and family, instead of your cell phone plan. Though unlimited data plans make the need for Wi-Fi less of an issue in 2017 than it was a couple of years ago, it still doesn’t hurt to log on if you’re able to, and that’s because even with unlimited data plans, you may experience bandwidth throttling (that is, a deliberate slowdown of service) when you reach a certain limit. Wi-Fi helps you avoid this.
Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, tech and career realm both online and print. When she’s not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.