Monthly cell phone plans have always been expensive. That fact is even more true now that we use smartphones with data services. The cost of phones and texts has dropped; however, the use of data more than makes up for it, driving up cell phone costs, even without overages. Follow these tips to save money on your monthly cell phone plans.
Avoid Data Overages, Even If It Means Upgrading
For some people, the biggest cost on their monthly cell phone plans comes from data overages. Data is much more affordable if you pay for it along with the rest of your plan and not when you go over your limit. If you find you are constantly over your data limit, upgrade to the next plan up or an unlimited one. Most probably, the cost of the plan upgrade will be less than what you pay in overages each month.
Reduce Data Use
Alternatively, you can try to avoid data overages by using less data each month. Make a conscious effort to always connect to Wi-Fi networks and turn off your data when you do. Save videos and music onto your phone instead of streaming them when you go out. Small changes can make a difference. You should also take the time to check how much background data applications are using; you will likely be surprised. You can turn off background data usage in settings.
Pay for Your Phone Directly
Most modern monthly cell phone plans include a monthly charge for a phone that the provider refers to as “free.” You can get a much lower monthly bill by buying your smartphone outright instead of getting a “free” one with your plan. Yes, this will cost more up front. However, it saves you money over time since you usually pay more for the phone than it is worth during a contract.
Speaking of paying for your phone, you can skip the phone insurance altogether. However, do not do that if you are very accident prone or your phone is very expensive.
Keep the Phone Longer
Avoid the entire issue of a new phone and do your best to keep your cell phone the longest possible. This way, whether you make a flat payment or add it to your monthly bill, you will pay less overall.
Make Automated Payments
Some providers give you a discount on your monthly cell phone plans when you choose paperless billing or set up automated payments. Even if they do not offer this type of discount, sign up for automated payments to save money. This will prevent you from forgetting to pay and being charged a late fee.
Share a Plan with Friends or Family
If you look at various monthly cell phone plans, you will notice the price per line goes down when more lines are in the plan. Use this to your advantage and share a plan with others. Whether you do this with family or friends, it can easily save you $15 to $25 each month instantly. Just make sure that you trust everyone you sign up for a plan with. You do not want to end up having to pay for their use if it is in your name. Or, risk losing your phone service if the plan is in the name of someone who forgets to pay.
Depending on how much you use your cell phone and your budget, you may want to go with a prepaid carrier. You will then have to buy your phone up front. However, you pay exactly what you want and there is no risk of going over with your minutes or data.