304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Nowadays, many Americans can go months without using a landline phone, but most couldn’t last more than a few hours without a smart cellphone. Americans use smartphones for so many tasks, including Web searches, browsing social media, listening to music, viewing photos, making phone calls and sending text messages.
Cellphones are not only an extremely important extension of your brain, but also of your wallet, with costly cellphone plans making an important line item in your budget. Whether or not you use one of the major cellphone service providers, such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, you can most likely lower your cellphone bill with a bit of work.
Here are a few ideas for how to lower your cellphone bill:
Read on for more about each strategy to save on your cellphone service.
Cellphone contracts are better understood if you consider them as a way to finance your shiny new cellphone. Financially, you are better off not using your cellphone service provider for financing and using a no-contract phone plan. Without a contract, you will no longer get a subsidized price on the latest cellphone every two years and will have to purchase a phone at full price upfront. That extra initial cost will be offset by the savings on your monthly bill over the two years of a typical contract.
Once you are on a no-contract plan, and your phone purchase is no longer bundled in your monthly cellphone bill, you can save further by hanging on to your phone for longer than two years. The longer you keep your phone, the more you save. For example, try keeping your phone for three or four years instead of two years. This is easier to do nowadays, as the rate of development of new features has slowed and actual cellphone usage is only minimally improved by switching to the shiny new phone.
Wherever you go, take full advantage of available Wi-Fi to save data usage. You can not only send messages, but also audio and video calls over Wi-Fi by using popular apps such as WhatsApp and FaceTime.
Email and other apps that run silently in the background can use a surprising amount of data. Turn off such data usage in your settings menu and get used to only checking email when you are on Wi-Fi. You can even get more sophisticated by looking at background data usage by individual app and turning that off for the apps for which you do not need it.
Once you have established the habit of using Wi-Fi whenever possible, take a look at actual cellphone data usage in the settings screen of your phone and also in your monthly cellphone bill. Once you have a good understanding of your data usage habits, make sure that your cellphone plan best corresponds to your data needs. For example, if you love watching Netflix and YouTube and are constantly paying data overages, consider switching to an unlimited data plan to save on overage charges. Conversely, if you use minimal data, consider switching to the lowest tier data plan to save on your monthly bill.
If are not already on automatic payments and paperless billing, consider signing up for them. Not only do you save time and hassle, but you will often score a small discount on your monthly bill.
If you have friends and family overseas or call outside the country often, you probably know that international calls can get costly. First, use Wi-Fi calling whenever possible. Second, make sure that you are signed up for the most appropriate international calling plan with your carrier.
Cellphone usage for calls and data can get extremely expensive when you’re traveling internationally without an international calling plan since you will be billed at costly pay-per-use rates. You can either stick to Wi-Fi when traveling and turn off cellphone roaming and data or set up an international travel plan. With the major cellphone service providers, a monthly international travel plan is around $60 or more, depending on usage limits. You can easily start and stop such plans to coincide with your travel dates. Alternatively, you can use an a la carte daily plan such as AT&T’s International Day Pass for $10 per day per device, so you only get billed when you are traveling and use a non-Wi-Fi feature on that day.
If you live with one or more family members, you will likely save by switching to a family share plan. Sharing data allowance is less of an issue if you are using Wi-Fi whenever possible and have chosen your data allowance carefully. In many cases, you will save $15 to $25 per month over a similar individual plan.
Prepaid plans are available either through prepaid carriers such as Boost Mobile, Visible, Simple, Metro and Cricket or through many of the major carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, which now also offer prepaid plans as an alternative to their traditional two-year contracts. Prepaid plans generally save you money by reducing your monthly bill by $30 or more. However, prepaid plans require that you purchase your phone for full price upfront. So a prepaid plan is a great option if you can afford to spend a little more initially to save a lot over time.
Cellphone insurance is a major profit center for the cellphone service providers but very costly for consumers. Given that insurance often runs around $11 a month, the costs add up quickly. They can reach $132 a year or $264 over two years. You are better off paying for the occasional repairs out of pocket. For example, a new screen typically costs around $79 dollars. And turn on Find My Phone or a similar tool to make sure you do not lose your phone.
If you are in the military, most major carriers will discount your monthly bill by up to 25%. Even if you are working in the private sector, many large employers have partnerships with carriers allowing their employees to get discounted wireless service from major carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Even if you are not able to get a discounted plan through your employer, all hope is not lost as you may get a similarly attractive discount by waiting and looking for limited-time promotions that offer lower monthly costs. Note that even though the promotion may be for a short time, the discounted monthly rate is often grandfathered in and stays discounted, even after the promotion is over.