The average cellphone bill in America is more than $100 a month.
If you have several lines on your family’s account, a big chunk of your budget is likely going to your cell service.
There are some ways to cut that bill in half. Take out your last one or two cellphone bills. In order to save money, you need to know what you’re paying each month and what you’re actually getting for your money.
Can we save Jack money on his cellphone bill?
Jack Van Pelt pays about $72 monthly for unlimited talk and text with AT&T. His plan comes with 1 gigabyte of data, but he only uses about 258 megabytes. That’s only about a fourth of what he is paying for. Our goal is to cut Jack’s bill by at least half.
1. Check the numbers on monthly phone insurance fees
Jack’s phone is an older Samsung Galaxy S7. Samsung doesn’t make them anymore. You can buy one used for about $65,
On Jack’s bill, we noticed, that he pays $8.99 a month for insurance. If something happens to his phone and he needs to file a claim, it will cost him a $125 deductible to get a new phone. Obviously, Jack should drop his insurance because he can replace his phone for far less than what it will cost through AT&T insurance. You should check this on your bill. How much are paying for insurance? How much is your phone worth? And how much is the deductible if you need to replace your phone?
2. Change the way you get your bills
Kelsey Sheehy with Nerd Wallet said everyone can easily save money by signing up for autopay and paperless billing.
“Simply signing up for automatic payments can knock $5 to $10 off your monthly bill. And depending on your provider, that can be five to $10 per line,” Sheehy explained.
Those two changes alone (removing the insurance and adding autopay) would knock Jack’s bill down from $71.90 to $52.91. That’s a savings of $227 over 12 months.
3. Shop rates with lower tier care carriers
If Jack is willing to switch providers and go with a cellphone company that piggybacks off of a larger company’s network, he could cut his bill by more than half.
“Most people don’t realize these so-called lower tier care carriers actually use the same networks as the big three providers, and some of them are even owned by major carriers,” Sheehy said.
Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T, the network Jack is already on. We found a plan on Cricket for $30 a month for the same coverage he’s currently getting. There’s no contract and he can cancel anytime. You won’t sacrifice coverage with a lower-tier carrier like Mint Mobile, Reach and Tello, but they come with a disclaimer.
“Your data speeds may be slow down during peak times, because they’ll deprioritize data coming from prepaid carriers versus carriers that are with the main provider,” Sheehy said.
4, Consider a family plan with more people than just your family
Another way to save is by getting a family plan with friends or extended family members. You don’t have to live in the same household, and this can save you a ton of money. For example at Verizon, the new Welcome Unlimited plan with unlimited talk, text and data is $65 for one line, but if you sign up with five lines, it’s just $25 a line.
“But you want to add people that you trust because as the owner of the account, you’re ultimately responsible for that bill,” Sheehy explained.
5. Check for streaming services that might already be included in your bill
Don’t overlook streaming services that may come free with your cell service. Some T-Mobile plans come with free Netflix. Some Verizon plans come with Disney +, Apple Music and Hulu. You should make sure you’re not paying for streaming services when you already get them for free.
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