Americans aren’t just spending more on fuel and food but on services too. Costs of electricity, eating out, streaming platforms, and healthcare have risen sharply. Rising inflation is forcing more people to take debt to get by, with some even postponing retirement plans.
As such, looking for ways to stretch their dollar further is a viable money management strategy in these trying economic times.
One area which is usually overlooked when we are looking for areas to trim spending is our monthly service plans. Americans spend a lot to stay connected, with the average monthly cell phone bill estimated at $127.37 as of 2020.
Since your phone bills consume more of your budget than the expense of a new phone, maximizing every opportunity to cut expenses saves a lot on your income when added over time.
There are a lot of ways to bring down the cost of this necessary expense. Let's take a look!
Check how much data you’re using every month.
Apps, such as Data Usage and My Data Tracker, can help you monitor your usage, if your carrier doesn’t provide this information on your bill. If you want to reduce your data usage, budget carriers, such as Visible or Cricket offer plans as much as half of what a major carrier would charge.
Some carriers offer group discounts when family or friends bundle their services with the same carrier.
Services like home internet and/or television are usually lower when packaged together than paying for them individually.
You can save on these services if there are multiple family members with the same carrier, so inquire about group discounts. That is, there should be an incentive to commit to more than one line under the same plan.
To learn about any discounts you might qualify for, get in touch with your carrier.
In addition to discounted prices for active duty military, veterans, first responders, nurses, and teachers, senior citizens (including AARP members) frequently pay less for mobile phone plans.
Make sure to speak with and press your carrier for the lowest possible monthly rate for calls, texts, and 5G data (based on your needs).
Being aware of promotions and new plans offered by your carrier makes it easy to get complacent or too busy to see if there’s something better.
But it pays to stay on top of what’s new. The best tip is to never settle as you deserve a network you can rely on at a price you can afford.
Some of the biggest incentives on new phones might require you to sign up for plans that include unlimited data, mobile hotspots, and other features.
Those plans are priced at a premium and typically require a long-term contract, but often people end up paying for features and data they don’t use.
It is possible to do without a premium plan, especially if you don’t use your phone. But if you have kids or teens who are always on social media or other data-heavy apps, getting the premium plan might be a better bet.
You can get data tracking apps to have an idea of how much data you consume a month.
Rolling the cost of a brand-new phone into your wireless bill is one of the easiest ways to accumulate more bills. You are simply making payments on a new phone, thereby hiking up your phone bill even more.
Let’s say you want to buy a new iPhone 14 Pro Max and your mobile provider is offering it to you at $30 a month for two years. That means your entire phone bill will be $30 higher than it needs to be for two years! That's an extra 30 bucks per month you could put toward your money goals, don't you think?
You could also lose or damage the phone, which means you would need to get another one. But you’ll still have to pay off the remaining balance left over from the old phone. You end up saving a ton of money if you buy your phone outright.
You may not be surfing the net, but certain apps may be running in the background and draining your data (and battery).
You can prevent background apps from running by going to your phone settings, look over the Cellular Data Usage and Background App Refresh of each app and turn off the ones you don’t use often. This helps ensure that apps aren’t running in the background and draining your data (and your battery).
If your employer offers corporate discounts, it’s worth a shot to see if they reimburse you for using your phone for work (email, calls, etc.). If you're using your phone for a home business or side hustle, you might be able to write off some of your cost when tax time rolls around.
Hang on to that phone as long as you can.
Don’t get tempted by the latest and greatest shiny cell phone on the market. The truth is the upgrades and new features are sometimes not worth getting a newer model if you check the cost implications. A phone is a phone.
Mobile service costs usually fly under our radar when we are looking for areas to reduce costs.
Most people tend to overestimate their data costs, which could lead to recurring bills and subscriptions that are not needed.
By keeping track of your monthly consumption, looking out for the best plans, and tweaking your phone a little bit, you could save little save long-term costs on your monthly phone bills.
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