How To Save Serious Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

11 expert tips on how to lower it

Did you know the average American pays $100 a month for their cell phone service?

That’s thousands of dollars a year coming out of your household budget. Want to save some serious money? Check out these tips from the experts.

1. Don’t buy more data than you need

A lot of people get the unlimited data plan because they’re afraid to get hit with any overage charges so they pay the extra cash – just in case.

What you need to do is a data audit. Check your cell phone bills for the last few months, average out the gigabytes you used and adjust your data plan.

One-third of Americans don’t even use 1 gigabyte a month.

 If you’re using a lot of data and want to cut down, keep in mind that social media, web surfing and email don’t use much data but streaming music, podcasts and watching videos do.

2. Don’t keep your old phone when you upgrade to a newer one

You can sell it or trade it in.

Gazelle.com

When I recently bought a new phone I found Gazelle online and they bought my 3-year old phone. They sent me a prepaid label, I sent the phone to them, and a few days later $50 showed up in my Paypal account. Nice!

GadgetSalvation.com

If you’re looking for even quicker payment, go to Gadget Salvation. If you choose to get paid via PayPal, you’ll receive your payment within 48 hours. If you choose to get paid with a check, it will take a few days longer through the mail.

Before doing business with any company online, be sure to read their reviews

3. Or keep your old phone and repurpose it

There’s a few ways to repurpose your old cell phone floating around on the internet. These tips can come in really handy and save you some money too. Now, keep in mind that it has to be a relatively newer phone. Six or eight years old is too old. Ok, here you go:

Turn It Into a Security, Baby or Pet Monitor

Download a security app on your old and new phones; set the old phone up as the camera and keep watch from your new phone (or your smartwatch) from wherever you are!

There are a lot of security apps in the App Store –  just search for “baby monitor” or “security camera”.

One baby monitor that comes highly recommended is the Cloud Baby Monitor app. At this time it has 12,000, 5 star reviews in the App Store. Can’t get much better than that. And the price is pretty good too, $3.99.

Control your Apple TV

The Apple TV remote can be frustrating considering that each button does multiple things. Make life easier by downloading the Apple TV Remote app to your old iPhone.

Use it as a GoPro

There’s still a working camera in your old cell phone so why not use it. You just need a way to attach it to your bike, chest and head.

Velocity Clip has several mounts to choose from ranging from $30 to $50.

#4. Protect your phone with a case

Believe it or not, it’s estimated that 1/3 of all phone screens are cracked. A phone case can save you the cost of getting your screen replaced. Plus it’ll save your phone from a lot of wear and tear while you’re using it, so when you go to sell it you’ll get more money for it.

TIP: If you do crack your screen and you’re thinking about replacing it yourself, go to iFixit. They have do-it-yourself guides for Android and IOS devices and they also sell the parts. If you have a problem with the repair you can get help from the experts in the Answers forum on their site.

5. Get a Family Plan (you don’t actually need to be related to those in your “family”)

With a Family Plan there’s usually a base price plus an extra fee per line. You’ll need to decide whether you want to share data or have separate allotments for each line based on each family member’s usage. Per-person costs can be less expensive with a family plan, so singles might want to create a “family” among friends or relatives to save money. Check WhistleOut.com. They help you compare carriers.

6. Get your new phone online or on the phone

Carriers offer extra savings to people who sign up for new phones online or over the phone. If you go to the store to buy your phone the reps there are aggressively trained to upsell, plus they make a commission on the phone and extra features you buy (Apple reps don’t).

7. Take advantage of discounts

Most carriers offer state, federal, military, teacher, student, senior citizen and employee discounts that can drop the price of your plan by 15%-20% per month.

8. Follow your friends

By using the same carrier as your family and friends, you can often communicate for free. This way, you can talk and text as much as you want and it won’t cost you a dime.

9. Periodically call your carrier and ask if you can save money by switching to a new plan

Competition in the cell phone world is huge and they want to keep your business. They may offer to lower your monthly rate just for the asking. Also, carriers change their plans regularly, so what was a good fit a year ago might not fit you so well now.(I recently called my carrier to ask if there was a way I could save some money on our Family Plan. Just so happens that the company came out with a new plan last week and now we’re paying $480 less a year!) Call them once or twice a year to check.

10. If tip #9 doesn’t work… Call back and talk to the Retention Department

Have you ever tried to cancel a credit card or your cable service? The first rep you talk to kinda tries to talk you out of it. Then when you still want to cancel they transfer you to the Retention Department. These are the folks who have the authority to lower your bill or maybe offer you perks if you stay with the company.

Just tell them your phone bill is too high, but before you start shopping around for a new carrier you thought you’d ask if they can lower their bill. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. They’re there to help you. Just be polite and persistent. 

11. And if tip #10 doesn’t work… Switch carriers

It’s the same with your cable company or your car insurance company. They offer you a low, low promotional rate so you’ll switch to their company and as soon as they have you they start increasing your rates. It’s a good idea to check around every so often and see if you can find a better deal by switching carriers. (Remember, sometimes just threatening to leave can do the trick too.)

Before you switch, check your contract with your current carrier to make sure you won’t have to pay an early termination fee (ETF) for switching. If you do have to pay one, check to see if your new carrier will reimburse you before making the switch. 

 Wireless companies want you as a customer. Their deals are getting better and better so be sure to do some comparison shopping before deciding on a new carrier to make sure you’re getting the best offer.

I know, changing carriers can be a real pain. But there are several sites online that have done some of the legwork for you. Try putting “compare cell phone plans” into Google’s search bar and see what better deals you can come up

I hope you try some (all) of these tips and save yourself some money. If you know of any other ways to save on your cell phone bill I’d love to hear them and add them to the list.