Ways To Save On Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill

Whether you know it or not, you are probably throwing away money each month on your cell phone bill. This year, the average family is spending about $139 per month towards their cell phone bill, even though most consumers talk less than 200 off-peak minutes per month. This can be even higher if you are one of the millions of consumers that carry a smartphone.

Here are a few tricks to help you save on your overall cell phone bill.

Consider Purchasing a Prepaid Phone

A prepaid phone can save you lots of money without worrying about being locked into a contract. Most importantly there will never be a surprise as to what your monthly bill will be. Prepaid plans can start as low as $20 and can range depending on your own individual needs. Some prepaid plans charge a daily fee while others charge only for the minutes that you use. If you don’t use the phone that much, you can end up saving quite a bit of money when compared to traditional phone contract plans. Previously a major downfall of prepaid phones was that the devices were very basic, but nowadays there are plans for smartphone models, including both new model Android and iPhone devices.

Stay Away From Signing Any Contracts

There are so many offers out there for free and reduced priced new phones with a 1- or 2-year contract. Although you can save hundreds of dollars on a newly released device, you will actually end up saving more money in the long run if you choose not to sign up for a contract plan. As cell phone companies are out to make money, they offer no-interest payment plans on phones, so even if you can’t afford to pay for a newer device in full upfront, you can still make the purchase and pay it off in installments. The best part is if you decide that you want to switch to a different cell phone provider, you can at any time without having to pay any additional fees or any penalties.

Ask Your Provider for A Better Deal

With the high level of competition among the 4 largest cell phone providers: (1) Verizon, (2) Sprint, (3) ATT, and (4) T-Mobile, there is always room for negotiation, even though it may call for a small bit of threatening to leave a provider on your behalf. Think of your current provider as one of several companies that is out to win and keep your business. As they all want your business, they will go further than the advertised plans to retain it. As cell phone plans are ever-changing, keep in mind that the plan you may have signed up for 6-months to a year ago, may have been replaced with an even better plan. Prior to confirming the change of your plan, verify with the account representative that the plan change will not extend your contract. If your contract is nearing its end, see what type of specials and discounts on upgrades that they can offer to you as a loyal customer. Keep in mind that most cell phone carriers offer unadvertised plans that they can offer to customers that threatening to sign up with one of their competitor carriers.

Minimize Your Data Usage

The best way to regulate your data usage is to have a plan with unlimited data usage. But if you don’t have an unlimited plan it is best to watch your daily usage. Make sure that you turn off your mobile data connection so that your applications won’t drain your bandwidth without you realizing it. If Wifi is available, then turn on your mobile data connection, but make sure you turn it off when you are out of the Wifi’s range. Public and private Wifi is virtually available everywhere.

Remember that as the consumer you always have the upper hand in any spending situation. Cell phone service is no different. Pay for what you want and need, not for what the phone company thinks that you will need. Most importantly, keep in mind that companies compete day in and day out for your business, so if your current carrier isn’t willing to budge on their terms, you can always check with other providers to see what they can offer you.

Jessica Williams is Consolidated Credit’s Marketing Communications New Media Coordinator. As a member of the education team, Jessica focuses on helping consumers make better financial decisions while living debt-free. She has previously worked with Take Stock In Children, where she was a mentor and communications specialist, and SouthPromo.com, where she managed community relations, event planning, marketing, and public relations. Jessica attended both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida where she received her B.S. in Interpersonal/Organizational Communications and Marketing. Connect with Jessica on Google+.