If soaring costs are getting you down, finding realistic ways to reduce expenses will keep your head above water and your spirits high. In this column, I will share five ways to save money on your cellphone bill. By applying one or more of these tips, you may be able to cut your monthly bill in half.
No. 1: Change Companies
Verizon and AT&T’s unlimited plans are the most expensive, with T-Mobile coming in a close third. These service providers are popular among customers because they’re familiar brands and offer good network coverage.
But here’s what most people don’t realize: The leading mobile carriers (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile) own and operate discount brands that use the same towers and charge lower monthly rates. AT&T owns Cricket Wireless. Verizon owns Visible. T-Mobile owns Metro by T-Mobile.
These discount companies are known as mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. They don’t own cellphone towers, but they partner with major carriers to offer affordable wireless service for their customers. Some MVNOs offer plans as cheap as $10 per month.
Make the call to a couple of MVNOs to find out how much you could save. But before you jump ship with your current provider, make sure you are not under a contract that would be expensive to terminate.
No. 2: Change Plans With Your Existing Provider
Not interested in switching cellphone providers? You may be able to save money by changing plans with the company you have now. Call customer service and ask them to go over your current plan with you. You may be paying for a lot of service you are not using, such as an unlimited data plan. But do you really use or even need that much data? More than likely that, because you’re connecting to Wi-Fi at home and perhaps even at work, you’re using a lot less data than you realize. It won’t cost a penny to find out! Make the call.
No. 3: Join A Family Plan
Typically, family plans are cheaper per phone line than buying service on your own. For instance, discount carriers Cricket and Metro by T-Mobile have offered four lines of unlimited cellphone service for $25 a month per line — just $100 a month. Or take a look at Visible, which offers Party Pay, a service that lets you put multiple people on one plan, with each person having a separate account and separate bill.
No. 4: You May Qualify For A Special Discount
Some of the major wireless providers offer discounts or special deals for teachers, members of the military and seniors.
For example, signing up for T-Mobile’s Magenta Unlimited 55+ Plan, customers 55 and older can get two lines with unlimited talk, text and smartphone data for a flat rate of $70 a month — no annual service contract required. That’s a big savings!
No. 5: Agree To Auto-Pay
Put your monthly cellphone bill on auto-pay, and you are likely to get a small discount each month. That might not sound like much, but even if it’s a measly $5 a month, that adds up to $60 a year. Not a bad payoff for such a simple move.
Tip: Before you jump too fast, call to find out if your provider offers an incentive to move to auto-pay. Then, if you choose to go with it, auto-pay with your credit card, not a checking account or debit card as a security measure. But even more than that, should you elect to cancel auto-pay, removing that from your credit card account will be much easier.
For more, including links to sources, go to EverydayCheapskate.com/cellphone.