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How to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

 Published on January 29, 2021

Would it be easy for a lot of people to cut the cord on their landline phone? Probably. Could those same people comfortably go without a cell phone? That’s a little harder to imagine. These days, phones fulfill the role of so much more than their original function. We use them to listen to music, take photos, browse the web, text, and so much more.

As important as they are, they don’t come cheap. Even if you manage to get your hands on a phone for little or no cost, the monthly cost of your phone is a steady and sometimes heavy drain on your bank account. But this doesn’t mean you have to settle for an exorbitant phone bill every month. There are things you may be able to do that can help to cut these costs. So, today we’re going to go over how to lower your cell phone bill by looking at some simple but effective tips.

1. Avoid Using Data

Data can be one the biggest expenses when it comes to your phone bill. Especially when you use more than your allotted amount for the month. So, how can you avoid running up data overages? Start by making sure you use Wi-Fi whenever you can. This means when you’re in your home, at your workplace, and when you’re out and about. Tons of stores, malls, and restaurants will have a free Wi-Fi network available, so take advantage!

If you’re out and about and don’t have access to Wi-Fi but need to use data, use it wisely. Avoid big data burners like streaming music, podcasts, and movies, and don’t download any of these things unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

2. Review How Much Data You Use

To understand how to lower your phone bill, you need to understand how you use your data. You can usually go into your phone settings or online account with your service provider and see a breakdown of how you use data. Once you have a good understanding of what you typically use data on, make sure that your phone plan is optimized to suit your needs.

Person sitting down on their cell phone

What would this look like? Well, if you see that music and video streaming is the biggest culprit of your data overages, look into what an unlimited data plan would cost. If it’s less than the cost of your current plan plus the overage charges you typically pay, it might be a good idea to switch plans. On the other end of the spectrum, if you find that you’re using very little data, you may want to switch to a cheaper plan that gives you a lower cap on your data usage.

3. Search Out Discounts

There are a few different ways you might be able to get a discount on your phone bill without having to do much work, so it’s worth exploring. You might be eligible for a discount if:

  • You’re eligible through your workplace
  • You work for the government
  • You’re a student
  • You’re currently in the army, or previously were

All you need to do is call your service provider and ask if you’re eligible for any of these reasons. As long as you can verify the necessary information, you could get a discount!

4. Turn Off Background Data Usage

Did you know that even if you’re not actively using a particular app, there’s a good chance that it’s still using up data? It seems backwards, but a lot of apps will still be running in the background (and burning through your data) if left unchecked.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. All you need to do is go into your phone settings and then go into the settings of each app. Find the option that allows you to turn this setting off for all of the apps that you don’t use regularly, or for every app in general if you’re really trying to cut back on data usage and make sure this box is unchecked. This will make sure they’re not using up data and burning your battery all day long.

5. Avoid Phone Upgrades and Hold on to Your Old Phone

Have you ever gotten a call or email from your service provider telling you that you’re eligible for an upgrade? While this might sound appealing, this is usually their way of getting you to add extra fees to your already expensive phone bill by tempting you with a new phone.

Person holding cell phone with blank white screen

These companies will offer you a new phone and give you the option to pay it off over the course of a year or two by adding a fee to your monthly phone bill. While an extra $25 dollars (or more) a month may not sound like much at first, this can seriously add up after a couple of years! And what happens if you drop your phone down some stairs and the screen smashes into a million little pieces? Well, you’ll be out a phone but may still need to continue to pay it down.

So, if you’re wondering how to lower your phone bill, try to avoid raising it when you don’t really need to. If your current phone works just fine, don’t opt for a pricey and lengthy payment plan for a new phone. If you really want a new phone, save up for one and buy it when you can afford to pay for it outright. This way you can find ways to comfortably incorporate your savings into your budget over time and buy a new phone when you’re ready.

6. Negotiate a Better Phone Plan

When you’re on the hunt for a new cell plan or wondering how to lower your phone bill, don’t feel like you have to settle for whatever the listed price is on their website or in store. There’s often some room to negotiate, so why not take advantage?

There are few different tactics you can take to negotiate a lower price. If you’ve been a customer of theirs for a long time, point that out. Maybe the phone plan of each individual member of your household is with that carrier, along with your internet and cable. Don’t be afraid to let them know how loyal of a customer you’ve been.

Another common tactic is to compare their plans to those of their competitors. If you speak to a sales representative at one company and get a quote on a new plan, speak to a different provider and see if they’ll beat it. If all it takes to gain a new customer – or to avoid losing an existing one – is to slightly lower their rates, it may be worth it for them. On top of lowering their rates, they may also be willing to waive certain costs like an activation fee. It never hurts to ask!

7. Get the Whole Family on One Plan

When you’re wondering about how to lower your cell phone bill, your first thought may not be to start adding new plans on top of what you’re already paying. But if you live with multiple family members, then you might want to consider scrapping all of your individual phone plans and switching to a family plan, whether each individual is paying for their own plan or not.

two girls looking at their respective cell phones

There are some caveats that come with this, specifically the fact that you’ll all be using data from the same pool. But as long as everyone is using Wi-Fi as much as possible and is being careful with their data usage, this may be something you can work around. Either way, saving on your phone bill can be worth it if your budget is tight.

Learn More About How to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

Like we already mentioned, the role that your cell phone plays in your life is likely a big one. Whether it’s for business or entertainment, it’s become the ultimate modern utility tool. So, the thought of going without one, even if your budget is tight, may be out of the question. While you may not be able to stomach doing away with your phone altogether, there are things you can do that can help to lower the amount you spend on your plan every month.

The seven tips we’ve listed are a good start, but there are all sorts of other ways to potentially lower your phone bill, so make sure you take the time to do some thorough research and try out different strategies to see what works. We hope these tips have helped!

Posted in: Financial Tips Lifestyle

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

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