In a modern economy in which the Internet and everything mobile-related is everywhere, you may find yourself using your cell phone more frequently than before. Considering that things like shopping, streaming video, and taking high-quality photos can now be done via a cell phone, paying attention to your data usage and cell phone plan are essential to prevent the kind of nightmarish scenario that happens when your cell phone bill is not what you expected.
To save some money on your monthly cell phone bill, you should first look at you and your family's data usage habits. The amount of data your cell phone plan provides each month strongly determines how much you will pay.
If you find you use too much data, or have more than enough to spare, then you should consider renegotiating your plan or switching to a new one entirely. Be on the lookout for sign-up bonuses and discounts, or switch to a prepaid cell phone plan. Below are some useful tips to save money on your cell phone bill.
1. Select the Right Cell Phone
Your choice of phone is crucial when it comes to saving money on your cell phone bill. Even if we disregard things like usage and data, you wouldn't get the same monthly bill if you chose a smartphone versus a basic phone. If you find that you aren't interested extra perks like video streaming, taking photos, playing games, or browsing the internet with your phone, consider downgrading to a cheap cell phone plan with a flip-phone or other similar device
Talk to your cell phone carrier about the terms and conditions of the device you want to purchase. To choose the best cell phone plan for you, here a few things to consider:
- The iPhone: The newest iPhone's usually come with a monthly service fee on top of your cell phone bill. If you swear by the iPhone, check out the cheapest iPhone plans to save money.
- Can I Keep My Phone? You don't have to pick up the expensive new phone of the month in order to join a new cell phone plan. If you like your current cell phone, you can easily save money on your bill with a bring your own phone plan.
- How Do I Unlock A Phone? If you're switching to a new service provider, or want to activate a used cell phone, unlocking your phone is quick and easy. Some providers even do it for free.
- International Calls: Have family or friends in a different country? Looking for international cell phone plans that don't charge extra for out-of-country calls. call quality,
2. Renegotiate Your Current Plan
Just like TV and the Internet, the monthly costs of a cell phone plan tend to increase the longer you stay with a provider. If you're not satisfied with your current cell phone bill, call your phone company and ask to revise the terms of your plan. I recommend this strategy if you find you don't need as much data as advertised, or aren't interested in the other features the plan offers.
If your current plan doesn't suit your needs, ask your provider about other plans or whether your existing plan can be tweaked to meet your situation. Believe it or not, cell phone providers typically have room for pricing flexibility, and they would grant a good deal if you just call, explain your situation, be polite to the customer service rep, and ask for a lower rate.
The representative you speak with other the phone is empowered to give you much better deals than those advertised online, simply because he or she wants to retain your business.
Sometimes, however, you can't negotiate a better price. In cases like these, resort to threatening to switch to a new cell phone provider to see if they stand their ground. If that still doesn't work, then it's time to switch. All the major cell phone providers will cover your early termination fees if you switch to them, so you don't have to worry.
3. Don't Sign a Contract
No-contract cell phone plans have become increasingly popular lately, and now the major cell phone providers offer a no-contract plan in some form for you to take advantage of. The greatest benefit is the immediate freedom you gain. No contract means you have the ability to switch services and change carriers when you want.
A no-contract service agreement is different from a prepaid contract, though. With a no-contract deal, your service provider continues to bill you each month and you enjoy the same benefits as a contract customer, but you retain the flexibility of leaving at any time with no penalty.
The only downside, however, is that you will have to pay a larger upfront cost for the cell phone in exchange for a lower monthly bill. It's a hefty investment for sure, but it pays off in the long run.
4. Choose Prepaid
A prepaid cell phone plan gives you the freedom of paying for only the amount of data you use within a given time period. This might be the best solution for you if you have difficulty keeping a lid on your cell phone bill - especially if you can't help calling that friend you like but who also lives thousands of miles away from you, for example.
You pay as you go, meaning if you fail to pay the bill on time, your service is disconnected. You purchase a device with the provider, get a number and pay a specific amount, say, $40, to cover your communication expense for the following month.
5. Get a More Advantageous Deal
You should get a new, better deal if you think that your current plan does not mesh with your spending limits or is not in sync with your lifestyle and communication patterns. For example, if your plan grants you an unlimited number of minutes on weeknights and all day on weekends, and you typically do all your talking during the day, the plan obviously does not fit in your lifestyle and working patterns. So, you should try to switch to a plan that is more advantageous and convenient, typically with another provider.
So, you should try to switch to a plan that is more advantageous and convenient, typically with another provider. The best cell phone plans currently are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, but a mishmash of smaller, more nimble players now is entering the market. So talk to your provider to see what options are available, and make a decision based on your needs and the provider's products and services.
One last thing: once you have settled on the package that you think is right for you, use our handy tool to compare cell phone plans from all the providers near you.
6. Take Advantage of Employee and School Discounts
Your children's academic performance can also help you save a few dollars on your monthly cell phone bill. Some providers grant discounts and rebates on phones and plans that underage children subscribe to. The same is true for employee discounts, so contact your company to learn more about telecommunication services in general, and employee discounts for cell phone services in particular.
If you can get both types of reductions – employee and school – you would be on your way to cell phone paradise because you basically would have a reasonably low rate when compared with the general public.
7. Use Family Plans
Family cell phone plans are also a great way to save cash on your cell phone bill. The major cell phone providers offer additional lines for a fair price and typically bundle higher data caps and neat bonuses with your plan. This is a great way to save money with data-hungry children.
Reviewing your cell phone bill regularly gives you a unique opportunity to create and develop a plan that helps you save money down the road and preserves your lifestyle while delivering the highest quality of communication to you and your correspondents. If you're in the market for a new cell phone, you can score some extra cash by selling your cell phone. On the other hand, you may be interested in purchasing an older model cell phone if you're not interested in the popular varieties sold in stores. If so, check out our guide on the best place to buy used cell phones.