Saving Money on Cell Phone Bills

by Shelley Frost, Demand Media
    Match your plan to your phone usage.

    Match your plan to your phone usage.

    Your cell phone keeps you connected no matter where you go, but it also eats up a chunk of the monthly budget. If you feel like you need to take out a second mortgage just to pay the bills, consider paring down your cell phone bill. It might not seem like much, but saving even a few dollars a month adds up over time. Your cell phone habits compared to the details of your plan likely reveal ways to lower your monthly cell phone bill.

    Items you will need

    • Cell phone bill
    • Highlighting marker

    Step 1

    Review your last cell phone bill with a highlighting marker in hand. Highlight information about your phone usage, such as the number of minutes you used and number of texts sent and received. Mark all of the fees with the highlighter.

    Step 2

    Compare the number of minutes used and texts sent with the plan you use. If you're going way over your minutes or texts, you're getting hit with extra costs. If you are using significantly fewer minutes or texts, it means you're paying for services that you don't need.

    Step 3

    Switch to a plan with more free minutes if you consistently go over your allotment of minutes. While the cost of the plan will be higher than your old one, your bill will probably be lower because you won't pay the higher rates for the extra minutes. If the difference in cost between your plan and a higher plan is less than the amount you pay in extra minutes, the higher plan will save you money overall. For example, if a larger plan costs an extra $10 a month and you normally pay $20 in extra minutes, the larger plan will save you $10 a month.

    Step 4

    Switch to a smaller plan if you don't use most of the minutes and text messages allowed on your current plan. For example, if your plan gives you 800 free minutes and you normally use only 350 minutes, look for a plan that is closer to your typical 350 minutes. A smaller plan is cheaper so you'll save money on your overall bill.

    Step 5

    Review the features you have on your phone, such as call waiting, data packages and text messaging packages. Eliminate any of the services that you rarely use or aren't necessary.

    Step 6

    Combine your cell phone plans into one family plan if yours are currently separate. The family plan typically saves you dough over paying for two individual cell phone plans.

    Step 7

    Shop around with different cell phone service providers in the area. Compare the rates for similar plans and the offers for new customers. Consider if a switch would save you money, keeping in mind that your old company will probably charge you a fee if you're not at the end of your contract with them.

    Step 8

    Call your cell phone company and let them know you're shopping around for different plans. Ask if there is any incentive or savings they can offer you. They might give you a better price to keep you as a customer.

    Tips

    • A prepaid cell phone plan might be an option for you, depending on your usage. Compare the costs of prepaid based on your typical monthly use to determine if it's a cheaper option for you.
    • Skip calling 411, as each time you call you incur a fee.

    About the Author

    Shelley Frost started writing professionally in 2007. She specializes in parenting and education topics. Frost gained her experience in various positions in the education field, including classroom teaching and tutoring. She holds a BA in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

    Photo Credits

    • David Roth/Stockbyte/Getty Images