How much do you pay for your current cell Phone plan?
It’s no secret that phone plans can be ridiculously expensive. You can easily end up spending thousands of dollars per year on your cell phone plan if you’re not careful, especially if your family needs multiple lines.
If you haven’t shopped around recently, chances are that you’re probably paying too much for your cell phone plan.
I recently reviewed my cell phone plan and was able to save $60 per month ($720 per year) on my bill, simply by shopping around for a better deal.
If you’re interested to see how you can save hundreds of dollars per year on your cell phone plan, read on and I’ll share with you the exact steps I followed to save $60 per month. I’ll also share some of my top tips to get the best deal on your cell phone plan and help you save more depending on your own situation.
How I Saved $720 Per Year On My Cell Phone Bill
Before I dive into the details, I want to let you know that this is not the first time that I’ve been able to save a significant amount of money on my cell phone bill.
I’ve reviewed my plan multiple times over the years and have been able to save hundreds of dollars each time, adding up to thousands of dollars of savings over the years.
That’s a pretty significant saving. And it’s easy too.
I want to highlight this point because I think it’s so important to regularly review your cell phone plan to see if you can get a better deal.
It’s not the kind of thing that you do once and then forget about. With the amount of competition between cell phone carriers these days, they’re constantly providing better deals to attract more customers.
If you’re not taking advantage of this, you could be missing out on hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of savings each year.
What I Did To Save $60/Month
First, let me tell you a bit more about my old cell phone plan.
I was originally on a T-Mobile One Plan, which cost $120 per month and included:
- Two lines (one for my husband and one for myself)
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- Standard Netflix ($12.99 value)
When I set out to review my cell phone plan this time around, my goal was to find a plan for $50 per month or less for both lines.
Step 1 – Review Recent Usage And Future Needs
With the $50 per month goal in mind, the first thing I looked at was our combined cell phone usage over the last 12 months to determine what we actually needed from our cell phone plan.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of automatically going for an unlimited plan to cover the “just in case” scenarios when in most cases, these plans are well in excess of what most of us actually need. If you want to save more money on your cell phone bill, you should really dig into what you actually use and need so that you can find the best value plan for you.
In my previous job, I worked remotely and had limited access to Wi-Fi, so my data usage was quite high. My husband also used a lot of Wi-Fi in his previous job since he was regularly out of the office. However, since moving to Seattle, I have found that we rarely use much cell phone data as we are both almost always on Wi-Fi.
After reviewing our recent usage and considering what we would need in the future, I came up with a list of minimum requirements:
- No lock-in contract.
- Flexible data or at least 1GB per month with no excess usage fees.
- 2 lines.
- $50 or less per month.
Step 2 – Research Available Plans
With our minimum requirements set, the next step was to look around and see what was actually available from the different cell phone carriers.
I checked out a few of the other big carriers first to get a baseline on what they were offering, then I had a look at some of the lesser-known carriers.
One of the main things I checked for when shopping around (other than price) was network coverage.
If you live in a more remote area, make sure that you check the network coverage for your shortlist of carriers to make sure that you will actually get service. If you live in a more urban area, chances are you’ll have a lot more choices when it comes to finding a cheap carrier with good network coverage.
Step 3 – Select The Best Plan And Make The Switch
Once I finished the research, it was simply a matter of selecting the best cell phone plan for our needs and making the switch from the current plan.
In the end, I decided to go with Google Fi for our cell phone plan.
Google Fi is a great fit for our current needs and it’s flexible too, which is good for us. It has a set price for unlimited talk and text ($20 for the first line and $15 for each additional line) and then data is charged in 1GB increments (at $10 per GB).
Based on our usage over the last 12 months, this should mean that we end up spending $45 per month for both lines.
So let’s take a look at a quick recap of the main points:
- Price per month: $120
- Unlimited calls and texts.
- Unlimited data.
- Standard Netflix included ($12.99 per month value).
- Price per month: $45 (based on 2 lines and 1GB data)
- Unlimited calls and text.
- Data charged at $10/GB (capped at 6GB/month and free after that).
So if we’re looking at a cost comparison between these two plans, we should be able to save $75 per month, which adds up to $900 per year.
However, one benefit that is not included with Google Fi is Netflix. Since we want to keep Netflix at this stage, we will pay the $12.99 per month, which means that our overall savings will be approximately $60 per month ($720 per year).
Not too shabby.
One Last Point On Why We Chose Google Fi
The Google Fi cell phone plan is a great fit for our needs, but we also got another really good benefit with this switch that I wanted to share with you.
My husband and I both buy our cell phones outright these days (no lock-in contracts or phone repayments for us). His cell phone was over three years old when we made the switch, so he was due for a new one.
Lucky for us, Google was celebrating the 4th anniversary of Google Fi and had a 50% off deal for their Pixel 3 for new Google Fi customers. That’s a great deal for an outright phone purchase, so we also picked up a new handset too.
3 Top Tips To Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill And Save Even More
Now that you’ve seen how I saved $60 per month on my family cell phone bill, I’m going to share a few additional points to consider that can help you save even more money on your cell phone plan.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to things like cell phone plans, but there are some general rules to follow that apply to almost everyone.
1. Skip The Insurance
Cell phone insurance generally costs somewhere in the range of $10 to $20 per month. Given how expensive new cell phones can be these days, this may seem like a small price to pay. However, I truly believe that cell phone insurance is a waste of money.
If you have cell phone insurance, you’re spending anywhere from $120 to $240 every year just in case something happens to your phone. And honestly, how often does that happen? I’ve never been in a situation where I would have made a claim on cell phone insurance, and I’m sure many of you are the same.
Even if you do make an occasional claim, insurance still might not be the best way to cover yourself. Instead of paying for cell phone insurance, why not buy a good quality phone case and screen protector and then put the extra money away into a savings account each month instead? That way, if you ever need a phone repair or replacement, you’ll be able to fund it yourself, and if not, you’ve just saved all of that extra money.
2. Avoid Lock-In Contracts
One of the best lessons I ever learned when it comes to saving money on my cell phone bill costs is to avoid lock-in contracts.
Most lock-in contracts are for 24 months. They can look tempting, particularly if you don’t have the cash to buy a new handset outright, but they’re rarely a good deal.
Most lock-in contracts will end up costing you more over the duration of the contract than similar no-contract plans. They’ll also hit you with a hefty cancellation fee if you want to end your contract early, which effectively means that you can’t make changes to your plan or switch carriers for the duration of the contract.
With cell phone plans getting cheaper and better all the time, locking yourself in for 24 months is not a good idea. I remember back in 2013 I was paying $80/month for a single line on a 24-month contract. My plan included 2.5GB of data, which I regularly exceeded. I realized about 13 months into my contract that my carrier had started offering 10GB of data per month to new customers for the same price I was paying for 2.5GB, but since I was under a contract there was pretty much nothing I could do about it.
The main thing to remember here is that 24 months is a long time when it comes to cell phone plans. Don’t get stuck paying more than you have to.
3. Be Smarter About Upgrading Your Phone
Being smarter about upgrading your cell phone is one of the best opportunities to save more money. This follows on from the previous point about avoiding lock-in contracts. In addition to avoiding lock-in contracts, you can save a lot of money by purchasing your phone outright and being smarter about when and why you upgrade.
When you’re budgeting for your cell phone and deciding on the best plan for you, don’t just consider the monthly cost, but also the cost over the longer term. Think about how often you plan to upgrade your phone and the most cost-effective way to do so.
These days, we’re constantly conditioned to want to buy the newest and most advanced version of everything, and cell phones are a prime example of this.
Most cell phone manufacturers release a new version of their phones each year, so if you’re one of the many Americans who upgrade their phone with each new release, you’re spending way more than you need to. Even if you only upgrade every two years, you’re still spending more than you have to.
If you’re serious about saving more on your cell phone, you should aim to keep your phone longer instead of upgrading regularly. If you take good care of your phone, it will last for years and save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on unnecessary upgrade costs.
Another great way to save when it’s time to upgrade is by trading in your old phone or selling it as a used phone. You can then put this money towards your new cell phone to offset the purchase cost. Also, if you’re saving $10 to $20 per month instead of paying insurance as I recommended in point #1, you will likely have built up a good amount of savings that can cover the cost of a new cell phone when it’s time to upgrade.
Do you regularly review your cell phone plan? Share your best tip for saving money on your phone bill in the comments below.
Looking for other ways to save? Check out related articles on how to save money:
- 14 Things To Buy That Will Save You More Money Long Term
- How To Save Money Without Feeling Deprived
- 7 Frugal Date Night Ideas That Don’t Involve Netflix
- 5 Surprising Benefits Of Moving To A Smaller House
The post How To Save Hundreds Of Dollars Per Year On Your Cell Phone Bill appeared first on A Cure for Monday.