You might not have thought about it, but your cell phone bill is probably one of the highest monthly expenses you handle. JD Power reports that the average American spends roughly $157.1 monthly on their phone bill.
Nevertheless, given that a mobile phone has gone from a luxury to a basic need, there is no avoiding it altogether. The good news is that there are several ways to bring your phone bill down. Here are 12 tips that can help you do that:
Limit Mobile Data Usage
Mobile data charges are ridiculously high, especially if you go even a little bit beyond the limit- potentially as high as $15 the instant you go over! Therefore, it’s wise to use Wi-Fi whenever possible. Make sure your phone is connected to the Wi-Fi when you’re at home or work. You can also sign up for alerts that warn you when you’re nearing the usage limit.
Whenever you’re on the go and don’t have access to Wi-Fi, limit your internet usage to only what is essential. It’s also important to keep tabs on background data use because apps on your phone may continue to use data even when you’re not using them actively. To ensure these sneaky apps aren’t driving up your data usage, go into your app settings and turn off background app refresh on the ones you don’t use often.
Check Your Bill
The next time your phone bill lands in your mailbox, check each item thoroughly. You may be surprised to find that you’ve been paying for services that you don’t actually use! A few things that you should opt out of include enhanced voicemail, unlimited data, unlimited minutes, emergency roadside assistance, and so on, according to your usage. You can also consider switching to prepaid and/or downgrading to a lesser plan to lower your phone bill.
Check for Discounts
There are several ways to take a few dollars off your phone bill. $5 here and $3 – these can add up and make a difference in your overall spending, so make sure to utilize all discounts and savings available to you!
For instance, many service providers take $5 off your bill just for setting up automatic payments or opting for paperless billing. Another place where you can look for discounts is your employer. Many companies provide corporate discounts or reimbursements for using your phone for work-related matters. You can even use your bill as a tax write-off if you use your phone for business or part-time work.
When you’re in the market for a new phone, be smart about your choices because it can help cut your phone bill significantly over the next few years. The first thing to do is to check out different stores and carriers. And don’t assume you have to pay the sticker price. If you’ve been a long-time customer, or if you’ve been able to find a better price or terms with another carrier, your negotiation power will be much higher.
One way to gauge whether you’re getting a good deal is to add up the phone’s price with the service charge for an entire year. This will give you the overall cost and help you compare carriers if you’re looking to make a switch.
Speaking of making the switch, this may be the last resort to your dilemma if you find it impossible to cut down on your phone bill no matter what. Check with multiple carriers to find a plan that fits your needs.
A word of advice is to try out some of the smaller service providers. Since most of them have tie-ups with the larger players in the industry to use pre-existing cell towers, chances are you’ll still get pretty great coverage even if you’re paying much less! Just make sure to ask around before signing on so you don’t get stuck with sucky service.
Avoid Long-Term Contracts
Another thing to avoid when buying a new phone is rolling the cost of a new phone to your bill. This is a surefire way to increase your phone bill, most likely for several years, until it’s been paid off. It’s also best to steer clear of phones that come with a contract because then you’ll be locked in for at least 2-3 years. Even if you lose or break your phone, you’ll still need to pay off the rest!
Instead, it’s better to opt for gently-used “unlocked” phones that can take any sim card, allowing you to be flexible with the carrier and plan you choose.
Get Rid of the Insurance
You don’t really need insurance for your phone unless you’ve gone and bought a phone that you can’t afford. Instead of paying $10 monthly on phone insurance, you can put that money aside in another account you own if you need to replace your phone quickly!
Avoid Switching Phones Frequently
One of the best ways to lower your cell phone bill is to avoid switching or upgrading phones frequently. If your current phone is serving you fine, there’s no need to change it just because there’s something newer and shinier in the market!