When I got my first mobile phone, I was about 16 years old and it was a sleek Razr flip phone. While the phone wasn’t exactly cheap, it wasn’t even close to the $1,000 iPhone that most people have today. Also, the family plan with my parents cost just over $20 a month. This was at a time when there was no SMS and, of course, there was no Internet on the phone yet.
Add another zero to that $20 and you’ve got a more average family plan cost today. It seems ridiculous to pay so much… and yet many of us pay.
So, let’s look at a few ways to cut down on unnecessary spending on your phone bill.
1. Change mobile operator
Cellular communication companies see each other as serious competitors. To outdo each other, companies often offer big discounts to customers of other carriers if they switch to their services.
Here is an example of a promotion currently being offered by T-Mobile (June 2022). Often all the different carriers will have a “get a free phone when you switch” offer like T-Mobile, just worded a little differently.
Since a new smartphone can cost upwards of $1,000, these deals can save you some serious money. Just remember to check the fine print. Sometimes you’ll need to pay for your old phone already, or only certain types of plans are eligible for the deal.
2. Switch to prepaid
Prepaid mobile phone plans are often cheaper than monthly or yearly plans, especially if you already have your own phone. Because you pay for the plan up front, your carrier knows they’ll get paid, so you get a discount in return.
How much you save will depend on the plan you’re switching to and how much data you’re looking for. You can save hundreds and even thousands over several years by choosing cheaper prepaid options.
3. Sign up for Autopay and paperless billing
Some mobile operators offer discounts when subscribing to auto pay. By doing so, you create less paperwork hassle for the carrier and ensure they get paid on time every month.
Verizon is currently offering a $10 auto-pay discount off your line account if you have a specific plan. Even if you don’t qualify for this auto-pay discount, you still have $5 off your line bill with most other Verizon plans.
Read more: Autopay Explained – Everything you need to know about Autopay
4. Ask your carrier for discounts
Have you ever asked your carrier about the discounts they offer? If not, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on an easy savings opportunity. There are discounts for various categories, including:
It doesn’t hurt to call a customer service representative and ask if you qualify for any of these discounts or any other discounts the company may offer.
5. Refuse or lower your insurance coverage
Mobile phone insurance can add up quickly, especially if you have insurance for multiple lines. Besides, it might be redundant! That is, your credit card may already cover you with mobile phone loss and damage insurance as an added benefit.
For example, the Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card offers this coverage when you pay your bill with your card. Capital One will refund you up to $800 for a stolen or damaged mobile phone.
Read more: 13 hidden perks and benefits of a credit card you might not know about
6. Reevaluate your data usage
Unlimited data plans are more expensive than 1G or 2G plans.
While many people have large families and really need unlimited data, others barely use more than 1G per month on average.
You can find out how much data you use through your carrier app or customer portal. If you’re not using a lot of data, consider downgrading to a lower data plan.
7. Add lines to your account (or remove unnecessary lines)
When you add lines to your account, the cost of the line is reduced for most carriers. If you share the cost of a large plan with other people, you can reduce your personal monthly expenses.
On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, don’t add lines just for the sake of adding them. If it’s just you, some carriers give preference to individual plan holders. Visiblefor example, offers a simple unlimited line of data, conversations, and text messages starting at $25 per month.
Read more: Visible Wireless Review: Read This Before You Sign Up
8. Use Wi-Fi, Not Data
Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere, and while it’s not always reliable, using it on your mobile phone can help you save money.
If you have a limited data plan, you can avoid over-the-limit charges by making sure Wi-Fi is turned on wherever possible.
9. Don’t update your phone
Thinking about upgrading your phone just to buy the latest model? If so, what happens if you just… get stuck with the phone you already have? I mean he won’t have newest technology, but most likely it still works even if there is a scratch on the screen.
If you upgrade, especially if you don’t buy the phone right away, you will extend the funding cycle. If you don’t upgrade, you’ll likely drop your monthly bill by $10-$50.
10. Skip unnecessary features
When you subscribe to your plan, sellers will most likely try to sell you unnecessary features and products that you don’t really need.
For example, all those expensive phone accessories like wireless chargers, battery cases and screen protectors that cost more than your monthly plan payment.
You can often get these items cheaper online or at other stores.
11. Understand the specifics of your plan
Just as you might not need the endless amounts of data you overpay for, consider other features in your plan as well.
For example, do you need features such as international calls? When you sign up for a plan, make sure you know who you can call on your plan and not who you will be charged extra. Ask before signing the dotted line plan, especially if you have friends around the world that you want to talk to often.
Read more: Should I buy an international SIM card for my next trip?
12. Negotiate with your carrier
I will not name names, but the carrier I use claims in all their videos that there is absolutely no hidden fees. To be honest, it’s not exactly my experience, but there aren’t many other communication options in my more rural community.
Mobile carriers have customer retention departments that are designed to help retain customers and often provide discounts to customers who are about to switch to another carrier.
If you’re fed up with your carrier, call the retention department and let them know you’re going to a company that offers the best plan options for your needs. Chances are they will consider giving you a discount to keep your business going.
13. Take advantage of cashback
Credit card and app refund offers can help you save money on your mobile phone bills. However, this strategy only works when you pay your credit card bill on a monthly basis. If not, you simply make up the difference in interest payments.
If you have any accumulated rewards, you can often get discharge credits or direct cashback, which can then be used to cover the cost of the phone.
Read more: Best cashback credit cards
Your expensive mobile phone bill doesn’t have to be set in stone. There are many steps you can take to get rid of unnecessary expenses. Asking for discounts, ditching expensive add-ons, switching plans, and using less data are just some of the ways you can potentially save hundreds of dollars each year.
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