How To Lower Your Cell Phone Bill: The Ultimate Guide
Even though the majority of people today own a cell phone, many people are paying too much every month. The amount of each monthly bill is equivalent to the cost of gas for a car or even your homes monthly electricity. However, paying your bill can help build up credit so long as it is paid on time and paid regularly.
How to lower your cell phone plan:
1. Choose the right plan for your needs
Cell phone carriers are good at selling plans Most encourage people to go the unlimited route so there are no worries about data, calling or texting. But it can lead to paying for more than you use. Only go with unlimited plans if they are absolutely needed. To understand how much minutes, data, and text messages you need per month, have a look at your current bill.
Cell phone carriers often give a snapshot of the last few bills, and you can typically see this online by logging into your account on the carrier's website. Looking at your bill will give you insight into how much data, texts, and minutes you use. If the amount is within the limits offered by another plan, then consider switching to that plan. Now that the all the major carriers (and minor ones too!) do not require signing a contract, it’s easier than ever to switch to another plan.
Wirefly offers a comprehensive cell phone plan comparison engine that lets you enter the amount of data, minutes, and texts you need each month, as well as the phone you want, and will crunch the numbers to display the best plans for your needs.
2. Analyze your bill and cut out what you don't need
Take a look at your most recent cell phone bill and see if you were charged for things you do not need like 411 or roadside assistance. If you find anything like that, or anything else that seems peculiar, call up your carrier and get rid of it.
3. Do not pay for cell phone insurance
Buying phone insurance is often one thing that carriers will try to talk you into paying for. The fact is most people will never need that insurance, and the monthly cost of it adds up quickly. In addition, many cell phone insurance policies will require a deductible that, when combined with the monthly premium you've been paying, add up to more than the cost of a new phone.
So, instead of that insurance policy for your phone, use that money to buy an inexpensive but effective phone case. It's also worth checking with your credit card company because some of them will cover the cost of a broken or stolen phone.
In other words, unless you're a klutz and know that you always break your phone, just skip the insurance and be careful with your phone.
4. Sign up for a family plan
Skip this step if you're a single person, but if you have more than one line on your plan, then signing up for a family plan may offer an easy way to save money on your cell phone bill. Almost all carriers offer discounts if you are paying for more than one line.
Also, you do not need to actually be family members to be on the same family plan. If you have a friend you trust then you can both split the plan.
5. Stay under your data limit
One of the easiest ways to lose control of your cell phone bill is to go over your data limit. In recent years this is less of a concern since all four major carriers offer unlimited data plans, and many large and small carriers have eliminated data overages altogether. Check whether or not your plan and carrier charge overages, and if they do, consider switching to another plan or carrier that does not charge for overages. Otherwise, make absolutely sure you stay under your data limit.
If you want to stay on your current plan but need to use less data, then make sure to use Wi-Fi whenever possible so that you don't chew up your plan's monthly data allotment.
6. Keep your cell phone longer
The trend in recent years has been to upgrade your smartphone every year in order to enjoy the latest and greatest technology. These days, manufacturers come out with new devices every year, and cell phone carriers support this by making it really tempting to upgrade. Since carriers have gotten rid of contracts, they'll try to entice you to switch to a new phone by offering you a new phone for little or no money down, and then a monthly payment attached to your current bill. Oftentimes they'll also ask you to trade in your current phone. If you are sufficiently happy with your current phone, just keep using it for another year or two to save money.
7. Take advantage of employee discounts
If you work for a large corporation, chances are that you can take advantage of an employee discount with the cell phone carrier that your employer contracts with. Government employees and active duty military can also take advantage of carrier discounts specifically for them. Many smaller companies and startups also have deals with carriers, so ask your employer if you are eligible for any employee discounts for your personal cell service. If your employer does not provide an employee discount, many employers will pay for part of your monthly cell phone bill. Consult with your employer and ask if they'd pay for part of your cell phone bill if you use it heavily for work.
8. Write off the cost of your cell phone bill on taxes
If you work at home and use your cell phone for work, you can write off the percentage of the cost of your bill equivalent to the percentage of the time your cell phone is used for work. So if you work at home and your monthly bill is $100, and you use it for work half of the time, then you can write off $50 per month. $50 times 12 months equals $600 that you can deduct on your taxes.
9. Negotiate with your carrier
Wireless carriers are in the business of keeping as large of a customer base as possible. If you call your carrier and threaten to cancel your service, there's a good chance they will offer you incentives to stay with them, such as lowering your cell phone bill or giving you other discounts in order to keep your business.
When you call your carrier, make sure to have prices of similar plans offered by other carriers to negotiate against. Of course, your payment history will weigh heavily on whether your carrier will negotiate with you. For more tips on how to negotiate with your cell phone carrier, check out Wirefly's guide on the subject.
10. Take advantage of carrier "switching" deals
Cell phone carriers are always trying to lure customers away from competing carriers. To this end, keep your eye open for carrier "switch" deals. Many carriers will offer sweet deals if you are willing to switch and trade in your current phone. These deals include paying off your early termination fee (if you're in a contract), or other deals like a free month of service, or a very low price for up to a year or more, in some cases. Check out what carriers have the best coverage in your area, then find the best cell phone plan for your needs using Wirefly.
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