How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Nov 11, 2016 | Advice

TLet’s talk about cell phones. Or, more specifically, the bills associated with them. We mindlessly pay our phone bill every month, right? If you’re like me, you set up auto-pay, right? No! Don’t do it unless you have an account like mine. Hypothetically, you are likely paying between $60 to $90 for a single line per month, just for texting, talking, and a little browsing here and there…okay, probably more browsing than we want to admit! All of the Instagram and Facebook scrolling (plus some Snapchatting) comes at a price. Wireless carriers have reinvented cell phone plans so many times in the past few years that “unlimited everything” now seems like it was offered a century ago.

A Thing of the Past

I remember the days of the T-Mobile Sidekick with unlimited data for only $39.99. However, to the cellular carriers’ defense, users did not have Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. Perhaps Facebook was an ongoing project as it launched the spring of the year I graduated high school in 2004. Furthermore, users were not streaming Pandora or Spotify, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime on their cell phone devices. If I recall correctly, the internet was much slower than the power of LTE today. Nonetheless, these assertions by no means justify the high cost of cellular service today.

So, how can you save money on your cellular service? You can start by evaluating your usage to determine how much data you use now and what is your bare minimum requirement to avoid data overages. I used to pay more than $100 per month with Verizon Wireless for a single line when unlimited data was a thing. Verizon Wireless decided to increase my unlimited data from $30 to $50 in addition to the talk & text plan. That’s when I said…enough is enough!

After some research, I decided to switch to a Prepaid account which is $45.50 per month for unlimited talk & text, and 2 gigabytes of data per month. I must admit, coming from unlimited data to a pathetic 2 gigabytes was quite an adjustment; but I learned about the power of WIFI both at home and in public. I also started to pick up new tricks on how to preserve my little data.

Tips and Tricks for Saving Data

If you’re on a single line account and believe you can manage with approximately 3 gigabytes of data per month, here are a couple steps you can take to save some money:

Verizon Wireless offers an additional 1 gigabyte of data if the customer signs up for automatic payments. That’s a total of 3 gigabytes of data you have to play with. I know automatic payments sound scary and not many people can do that. If you can manage it, take advantage of the offer!

Google Maps offers offline maps of your local area and you should consider downloading that map to navigate around town. When I visited Paris and London last year, I took advantage of the offline Maps for every adventure.

Turn off background app refresh. This step not only saves your data but also your battery life. Turn off auto-playing or preloading videos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You have to go within each App’s settings to make the change.

If you subscribe to Pandora, SoundClound or Spotify, make your playlists or albums available offline so you’re not streaming on cellular data. I create a playlist on my SoundClound and make them available offline. This is really great when I am traveling. To use this particular feature, you would need to have storage space on your phone.

These tips have been quite useful to me and I hope you find them valuable as well. If you’re not really a data consumer, Prepaid is really a great option for you. Besides, if you decide to turn off your phone temporarily, your number will remain available for up to six months. Sometimes the cellular carriers will charge you a suspension fee to keep your number active. Why pay that fee when you can receive the same benefit for free? Choosing Prepaid would save you money that you can happily spend on brunch ☺. Go Prepaid and save!

I hope you enjoyed this post. I welcome your feedback, suggestions and questions.

Yours truly,

Fancy Schmancy

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