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You remember way back, maybe 15 years ago, when your cell phone pretty much just made phone calls? Back before the smartphone existed ?
These days, cell phones are pocket-sized workhorses. They do everything other than wash your laundry and put gas in your car—and they’ll probably figure out how to do that soon.
But all that cool technology comes with a price. Just because you can afford the monthly bill, though, doesn’t mean you can’t save money.
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So if you want to know how to lower your cell phone bill, check out these ideas:
1. Use Wi-Fi
Use a Wi-Fi connection whenever you can, especially at home or work. Data overages can pile up quickly, so you want to make sure you stay within your monthly limit by only using 4G/LTE when you need it. Some carriers let you set up an alert when you’re nearing your limit. If yours is one of them, sign up!
2. Cut the Insurance
Insurance for your cell phone? No way. If you truly need “insurance” for your cell phone, then you’ve bought a cell phone you can’t afford. In other words, if you don’t have the cash available to replace your phone if something happens to it, then your phone is too expensive for your budget.
When you’re in the market for a new phone, don’t just assume you can’t talk down the price. Go to the store and talk with a salesperson to see if you can get the activation fee or upgrade fee waived. If you’ve been a customer for a long time, then be sure to bring that up. Maybe you work for a company that offers its team members a corporate discount. Use whatever leverage you have, including fees—or lack of fees—from competitors. The same applies any time you want to lower your bill. It never hurts to ask. Competition with other carriers is stiff, so they might just agree!
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4. Buy Out-of-Contract Phones
Cell phone companies know how to make money. Lots and lots of money. One way they do that is through contracts. To buy their phone, you’ll have to sign a two-year contract to use that company’s services. If you attempt to switch carriers, they’ll hit you with a ridiculous cancelation charge. So what do you do? Buy out-of-contract, gently used phones. Ask around. Look online. No, you won’t be able to get the hottest, newest smartphone this way, but you can get a really good smartphone without locking yourself into one company for years to come.
5. Cut Out the Stuff You Don’t Use
This might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even look at their cell phone bill. They continue paying for things they never use, like emergency roadside assistance, 411, and “enhanced voicemail.” Sit down, look long and hard at your phone bill, and determine if you really need everything that’s listed on it. You might even be able to downgrade to a plan with fewer minutes or less data if you realize you aren’t even close to reaching the limits in your current plan. Some carriers even offer prepaid plans or plans that allow you to pay only for what you use. See if either of those options could reduce your costs.
Bonus Tip on How to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
Add up long-term costs before you buy. If you’re shopping carriers, you should add up the cost of the phone plus the cost of the service for the life of the contract. That puts the total amount in your face, instead of just the month-to-month payments. As we often say around here, “Rich people ask how much. Poor people ask how much down and how much per month.”
No matter how much your cell phone bill costs, make sure you are budgeting for it. For an easy way to budget online and on the go, check out EveryDollar, our free budgeting software.