Lowering Your Cellphone Bill: Basic Tips

There’s no doubt that cell phone service can be painfully expensive.

The average cell phone bill today, according to a 2014 J.D. Power report, is $73.  Verizon customers paid an average of $148 in 2014 and AT&T customers an average of $141.  This $141 is about what I’m currently paying AT&T each month.

Fortunately, there are some other options for us in this boat.  Here are a few tips I’ve found to use in lowering your cell phone bill…

 

Data and Wi-Fi

Know your data usage beforehand so you don’t buy more or less than you need.

There are free apps like My Data Manager (iOS) that will help you monitor data usage and websites like WhatIsMyCap.org that offer tips on not going over your data limit.

Also, look for ways to cut down on your data use such as:

  • Closing an app or website when finished using it
  • Being selective as to which apps can send you push notifications
  • Setting your phone to download app updates only when connected to a Wi-Fi network
  • Compressing your data using an app like Onavo

Speaking of Wi-Fi, make sure you automatically connect to it at home and work as much as possible rather than using data.  Using public Wi-Fi hot spots is also a good idea to prevent overusing data.   Certain apps like Boingo help you automatically do so.

Extras

Review your current bill for unnecessary extra services (like the following) and have them removed:

  • Unlimited data – See above for ways to cut back on data usage
  • Alternatives to texting – Apps such as WhatsApp give you free, unlimited texting to anywhere in the world
  • Alternatives to long distance – Using an alternative like Skype, for example, eliminates long-distance fees
  • Insurance – Isn’t necessary for most people

Also reconsider GPS and other features that you may be paying for but not using. 

Compare Plans / Renegotiate

Use the competition between cell phone providers to your advantage.  Make sure to stay on top of all the offerings and promotions that each one offers.

When an existing contract expires, always renegotiate for a better deal.  The prices of cell phone contracts tend to go down over time for the same service.

It costs companies more to lose customers than to negotiate so it’s worthwhile to do so.  Threaten to take your business elsewhere.  While it may not work, it can’t hurt to try.

Consider a Contract-Free or Prepaid Plan

Looking for a plan without contracts?  How about a budget friendly plan?

There are a handful of providers that offer similar service as the major carriers, such as:

Each allow unlimited talk, text, and data plans as low as $13.79 a month.

These alternative options are where I will be focusing my attention for the remainder of the series.

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