Saving on Cell Phones
Simple Tips for Lowering Your Monthly Bill
January 30, 2014 by Jake Butler
While most of us would probably write off having a cell phone as a necessary expense, have you ever considered exactly how much it costs to have one? Between monthly charges and the cost of buying a new device every year or two, you could easily spend $1,500 in a year.
Cell phone companies certainly love it when you overspend, which is why you have to take initiative to cut extra costs. Luckily, between analyzing your monthly usage, haggling with your provider and considering cheaper alternatives, there are plenty of easy ways to save on cell phone bills.
Cut Down on Extras
One of the most common mistakes people make is continually paying for services that they don't use. Not a big talker? You might not need more than the bare minimum when it comes to monthly minutes. Not a texter? You probably don't need unlimited text messaging. How much data are you paying for and how much are you actually using?
You should be able to track these kinds of usage details online on your provider's website. I suggest you take the average, high and low for each category and go from there. Once you have the numbers, it should be easy to adjust your plan accordingly.
With this route, you don't even have to change your habits – just a quick phone call to customer service or a visit to the store and you can eliminate a lot of extra costs.
Ask For a Better Rate
Because of the current landscape, the top cell phone carriers are fighting tooth and nail to not only attract new customers, but also just to keep their current ones. The industry is pretty cutthroat right now.
For that reason, the customer retention departments at these companies may be willing to go the extra mile to keep you satisfied. It's worth calling and talking to someone about what you can do to lower your bill – especially if you're nearing the end of a contract.
If you do go this route, don't be afraid to haggle or even threaten to take your business elsewhere. Let them know that you feel your bill is too high and you're not happy about it. They may help you find a more appropriate plan for your usage and budget, or just offer you a discount outright.
If all else fails and you decide it's time to ditch the contract and go with a cheaper company, know that you've got options. Although you may not be familiar with the term mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), you've probably heard of many of the brands operating in this space – Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Virgin Mobile and Straight Talk are chief among them.
These companies essentially offer access to the same networks as the major carriers, but at wholesale prices. This makes it possible for you to get the same coverage as you would otherwise for a much cheaper price. Cricket Wireless, for example, offers a plan with unlimited data, talk and text for around $50 per month.
What's the catch? You might have limited options when it comes to the phones. However, many of these providers are getting better about offering newer, popular models like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.
Most of these kinds of companies also offer prepaid or "pay as you go" plans so you're not locked into a long-term contract.