If your smartphone phone plan is gobbling down too much of your household budget, then I have some great ideas for how to lower your cell phone bill without it significantly hurting your lifestyle.
The major cell phone providers are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, and some of the second tier players include Virgin Mobile, Metro PCS, Boost Mobile, and Straight Talk. The big guys have typically charged more for their cell plans but the smaller companies are now forcing them to be more competitive.
So when reviewing all the ideas below, I suggest that you at least hear what the smaller cell phone companies have to say. You may be able to save even more money.
11 Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
1. Get a prepaid phone – If you want a way that guarantees you’ll lower your cell phone bill, then a prepaid plan is the answer. As an example, take a look at this offer from Virgin Mobile USA.
Under their lowest prepaid plan, for only $20 per month you’ll get 400 minutes of talk, and pay 15 cents per text and $1.50 per megabyte for web access. So if you’re a light phone user, this is a great deal. Heck, even their unlimited talk and text prepaid plan is only $40 per month.
2. Shop around – There are a some great web sites that will help find the best plans to match your budget. A couple of popular web sites include www.letstalk.com and www.myrateplan.com. You can compare individual, family, and prepaid plans. But not only that, you’ll find hot deals on all the popular cell phone brands.
3. Make it a family affair – If there are multiple members of your family who need cell phones, then consider a family plan. All of the phone companies offer them. The more lines you add, the more you’ll save. Of course, if you have chatter boxes and constant texters in your family, then an unlimited plan is a must.
4. Match usage with phone plan – If you’ve had a cell phone plan for any length of time, you know how much you use it and which features are your favorites. So what you should do is pull out several months of your phone bills and analyze your patterns. How many texts do you send? How many minutes do you talk each month? What other services do you use?
Calculate the averages for all the key usage features and then compare it to what your plan allows. Don’t be surprised if your actual usage is well below the maximum limits.
5. Trim unused services – Cell phone companies are masters at weaving in little extraneous charges into your contract. So check to see if you’re paying for unneeded services such as roadside assistance, enhanced voicemail, gps maps, daily horoscope texts, etc. These charges can easily add up to $15 per month or more.
6. Go with an internet based service – Yes, that’s right! You can make and accept calls using your cell phone over the Internet. This is referred to as VoIP or Voice over IP.
For example, here’s how you can do it using Skype for voice. But you could use Google voice and other services.
The only caveat is that you should check with your cellphone company to see if your contract allows you to drop the voice plan.
7. Re-evaluate cell phone insurance coverage – Yes, it sounds great to have the added protection of being able to quickly replace your phone in case it breaks or falls in the toilet. But if you’re paying $120 dollars per year for this protection, it may be time to reevaluate exactly what would happen if a disaster occurred. In many instances, your insurance will only get you a used phone and you’ll have to pay shipping charges to get it repaired.
Plus, there could be a deductible. You might be better off going with another company that sells this type of insurance for a lot less or just not getting it at all.
8. Dump your data plan all together – If you really want to save money, then go bare bones. Just get an old school cell phone and use it for quick conversations and emergencies.
9. Use an app for texting – You don’t need a data plan to send text over your cell phone. There are now plenty of apps that you can download to your phone and text your friends for fee. The most popular texting app is WhatsApp. But there’s also GroupMe.
Now, keep in mind that everyone who you text through this app must also have it on their phone too.
10. Check out organizational discounts – Did you know that the cell phone companies offer discounts to people who aren’t their employees? t’s true. If you’re employed or associated with a governmental, educational, religious, law enforcement or other organization, you could qualify. As as example, check out these discount links for AT&T and Verizon. All you have to do is enter a verifiable email address.
11. Ask for fee waivers – When you activate your phone, some phone companies charge an activation fee. And if you do any sort of upgrade, there’s an upgrade fee. Of course, it only takes them seconds or few minutes to make the changes, but the size of the fees make it seem like it took them hours. So, if you’ve been a long time customer of a cell phone provider, let them know that. And don’t be afraid to threaten to shop at their competitor if they refuse to waive these silly fees.
So there you have it, 11 great ways for how to lower your cell phone bill. If debt is an issue for you then by all means go with a prepaid phone plan or simply stop using a cell phone for a while if it isn’t a business necessity. Other than that, you now have lots of money-saving strategies to work with.