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If you’re like me, you are always looking for ways to save money. When you can reduce an on-going monthly bill, even small changes can have a big impact over the course of a year and beyond.
Over the past few years, one of my biggest savings wins for my wife and me was on our cell phone bill. We were able to cut our monthly bill in half, with no impact on our lives. Our coverage is just as good, if not better than it was before. You don’t have to jump through hoops to save money on your cell phone bill. All you have to do is make a few small changes.
In this article we’ll take a look at 11 different ways to can realistically reduce the amount that you pay each month on your own mobile phone bill.
Ways to Save Money on Cell Phone Coverage
1. Use a Discount Prepaid Wireless Carrier
In the past few years, there has been a lot of growth from carriers like Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless. With these companies, you prepay one month at a time and you can save an incredible amount of money compared to major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (the “big four”).
You may assume that the coverage or call quality is bad, but from my experience, that is not really the case. Boost Mobile operates on Sprint’s network, and Cricket operates on AT&T’s network. My wife and I switched from Sprint to Boost about four years ago and I noticed no change in coverage, call quality, or data usage.
Moving from the big four to a discount carrier was by far the most significant change we made. It practically cut our bill in half, without reducing the quality of our coverage.
Last year we switched from Boost Mobile to Cricket Wireless because, from my experience, their coverage is better. The price we pay is the same, so we didn’t save any money with that move, but we did get better coverage.
Back when we were with Sprint I was hesitant to go with a discounted carrier because it seemed too good to be true. How could it really be that much cheaper and still be of similar quality in coverage?
But my fours years using a discounted carrier has made me a believer. If you’re looking to save some money each month this is my first suggestion.
Our current plan with Cricket gives us 5 GB of data per month per line. But what I love about the plan is that there are no overage charges. If I exceed 5 GB of data, the data speed will be reduced, but I won’t face any additional fees.
Another great benefit is that there are no contracts, so you won’t get locked in. You can try the service and if you don’t like it, you’re free to cancel and move to another carrier.
I’m an extremely happy customer of Cricket Wireless and I definitely recommend them. If you sign up through my referral link you’ll get $25 account credit.
Another good low-cost option is FreedomPop. I have no experience with them, but I’ve read good things from other customers, and their prices are great.
2. Choose the Right Plan for You
When you’re picking a plan, be sure that you get a plan that meets your needs. Each plan will have specific details for limits on calls, texts, and data. Of course, some plans are unlimited.
If you choose a plan that is too small for your needs you’ll run the risk of paying big overage fees every month. And if you go with an unlimited plan but one of the smaller plans would meet your needs, you’re wasting money each month.
Take a look at your actual usage and make sure you are getting the lowest-priced plan that meets your needs.
3. Use a Family Plan
Putting all of the phones in your household or family on one plan can save you a good bit of money, as compared to having multiple plans. I have a few adult friends that have their parents on the same plan so they can all save money.
Cricket Wireless offers multi-line discounts where you can save $10 for each additional line.
4. Choose a Plan Without Overage Charges
Overage charges can add up really quickly. If you’re getting charged for overage on a regular basis you definitely need to change your plan.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I love discount carriers like Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile is because I’ve never had to worry about overage charges. I’ve had unlimited talk and text with each company, and limits on the data. But without overage charges, I don’t really care if I hit the data limit. Slowing down the speed a little is much better than getting charged overage fees. Of course, you can get a completely unlimited plan that will avoid overage charges, but you’ll pay more for it.
5. Get Unlimited Texting
Most plans now allow for unlimited texting. If you text frequently, you definitely do not want to be on a plan that charges per text or has a cap on the number of text messages you can send. These overage charges also add up very quickly.
6. Pass on the Extras
Every cell phone carrier is going to give you a list of extras or add-ons that you can choose. These extras may only add a few dollars per month to your bill, but they all add up. And the truth is, they aren’t necessary.
The most common extra is an insurance or protection plan. The only situation I would consider this is if you have a very expensive phone and you also have a history of breaking phones. But if you follow my recommendation for point #9 you won’t need this.
7. Sign Up for Auto Pay
Some carriers, like Cricket and Boost, offer a small discount if you set up autopay so that your credit card is automatically billed. The discount is most cases is $5 per month, which adds up to $60 per year!
Not only does it save you money every single month, but it’s also more convenient for you. With autopay, you don’t have to take the time to pay the bill, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to pay. It’s an easy decision.
8. Look for an Employee Discount
You may be eligible for a discount based on your employer (this is most likely if you are using Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile). Check with your employer’s HR office and with your carrier to see if there are eligible discounts that could save you money.
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9. Get a Cheaper Phone
I used to buy the latest, greatest Android phones (not every year, but whenever I would need a new phone). It’s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles, but do you really use them? After several years of using expensive phones I found that I really only use the basic features and there is no need for a high-end phone.
Of course, this partly depends on how you use your phone, but for me, I found that expensive phones were totally unnecessary.
My last two phones have been very cheap. I think I got one free when I switched to Cricket, and after about a year I dropped it on a concrete floor and had to replace it. I opted for a cheap phone again (I think it was around $20-$30) and both of these phones have met my needs. I wish I could go back and save the hundreds of dollars I spent on high-end phones that I didn’t need.
Having a cheap phone not only saves you money on the cost of the phone, but it also eliminates the need to pay for a protection plan. Plus, if you break or lose your phone it’s not that big of a deal.
10. Pay for Your Phone Upfront
Plans that allow you to pay for a phone over a period of time will add a lot of money to your bill each month. These deals are typically bad for you over the course of time, so pay for the phone upfront if at all possible.
Mobile phones are a necessity for most of us in today’s world, but you don’t have to pay huge prices for your phone or coverage. My wife and I cut our monthly bill in half ($140 to $70) by going with a discounted carrier, setting up autopay to get a discount, using a multi-line plan, and also choosing a plan without overage fees. I also save hundreds each time I need a phone by opting for a cheaper model. Put these tips into practice yourself and you can save a significant amount of money each month.