Reduce your monthly cell phone bill


HOUSTON – The average cell phone bill in America is over $100 per month. If you have multiple lines in your family’s account, a large portion of your budget is likely going to your cellular service.

There are a few ways to save and cut that bill in half. Pull out your latest cell phone bills one or two 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.

Jack Van Pelt pays around $72 a month for unlimited talk and text with AT&T. His plan includes 1 gigabyte of data, but it only uses about 258 megabytes. It’s only about a quarter of what he pays. Our goal is to cut Jack’s bill by at least half.

#1 Check the numbers on monthly phone insurance charges

Jack’s phone is an older Samsung Galaxy S7. Samsung no longer makes them.

But you can buy a used one for just $65. On Jack’s bill, we noticed that he pays $8.99 per month for insurance. If something happens to his phone and he has to file a claim, it will cost him a $125 deductible to get a new phone. Obviously, Jack should ditch his insurance because he can replace his phone for much less than it will cost with AT&T insurance. You should check this on your invoice. How much does the insurance pay? How much is your phone worth? And how much is the deductible if you need to replace your phone?

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#2 Change the way you receive your bills

Nerd Wallet’s Kelsey Sheehy said anyone can easily save money by signing up for autopay and paperless billing.

“Just signing up for automatic payments can cut your monthly bill by $5-10. And depending on your provider, it can cost anywhere from $5-10 per line,” Sheehy explained.

These two changes alone (removing insurance and adding autopay) would lower Jack’s bill from $71.90 to $52.91. That’s a savings of $227 over 12 months.

#3 Store Rates with Lower Tier Care Carriers

If Jack is willing to switch carriers to a cell phone company that piggybacks onto a larger company’s network, he could cut his bill by more than half.

“Most people don’t realize that these so-called lower-level care carriers actually use the same networks as the big three providers, and some of them are even owned by big carriers,” Sheehy said.

Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T, the Jack network is already activated. We found a plan on Cricket for $30 per month for the same coverage it currently gets. There is no contract and it can be canceled at any time. You won’t sacrifice coverage with a lower tier carrier like Mint Mobile, Reach and Tello, comes with a disclaimer.

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“Your data speeds may be slowed during peak hours because it will deprioritize data from prepaid carriers over carriers that are with the primary provider,” Sheehy said.

#4 Consider a family plan with more people than your family

Another way to save is to purchase a family plan with friends or extended family members. You don’t have to live in the same household, which can save you a lot of money. For example, at Verizon, the new Welcome Unlimited plan with unlimited talk, text, and data costs $65 for one line, but if you sign up with five lines, it’s only $25 per line.

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“But you want to add people you trust because as the account owner, you are ultimately responsible for that bill,” Sheehy explained.

#5 Check streaming services that might already be included in your bill

Don’t overlook streaming services that may be free with your cellular service. Some T-Mobile plans come with free Netflix. Some Verizon plans come with Disney+, Apple Music, and Hulu. You need to make sure that you don’t pay for streaming services when you already get them for free!

You can take your phone with you!

You have to find the IMEI number on your phone. You can find your IMEI number by looking at your device settings. Just enter this number online at any provider to make sure your phone will work on their network.

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