More than 32 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds live with their parents, according to the Pew Research Center.
Even if you’ve moved out, there’s a good chance that your last financial tethers to Mom and Dad are your family plans. Whether for your phone or Netflix, family plans can save you money.
Aside from sharing an account with your folks, you could also discover savings by teaming up with your significant other or roommate.
3 best family plans that could save you money
Family plans save you money when you and a relative (or close friend) pay to use the service together instead of as individuals. If you and your roommate have a YMCA gym membership, for example, you could qualify for a lower monthly rate that combines your expenses.
Not all family plans are money-savers. You’ll see “family plan” advertisements directed to parents with young children, for example. They’re all over the place, from meal-planning service Blue Apron to hotel stays at the Hyatt, and they result in extra costs.
Say you book a second hotel room at the Hyatt because it comes at a 50 percent discount, for example. You’re spending more than you would have by keeping the family in one room.
Let’s review the three best sorts of family plans that could actually fatten your wallet.
1. Cell phone plans
The average age of adults on their parents’ phone plan is 28, according to a 2016 Harris Poll. Plus, 32 percent of those adults are older than 30.
The reasons you stay close to your parents are obvious. There’s the convenience of not switching phone plans when you move out. There’s also the potential savings in adding lines to an existing plan versus opening a new one.
As you search for the best family phone plans, take into account factors like data usage and coverage areas. Cost, of course, should also be a primary concern. Don’t overlook the opportunity cost of buying the latest iPhone, either.
The first line on T-Mobile One unlimited data plans, for example, costs $75. But the second only costs $35, according to Consumer Reports. The more lines you need, the more your family can save.
Potential savings: Using T-Mobile One prices as a proxy, a family of four could save $30 per person per month (or $360 per year). You would pay $45 per person on a family plan costing $180 total, instead of paying $75 each on individual plans totaling $300. Your savings vary based on your provider and pricing.
2. Streaming subscriptions
If you’re in a family of smartphone users, chances are you’re also among subscribers to streaming services. Whether music or TV is your thing, combining accounts could save you money.
If you and your parents or a significant other is an Amazon Prime subscriber, for example, you could link your accounts to enjoy the same benefits at a lower price. Using the Amazon Household feature, you could go from two annual payments of $99 to one.
Besides cost, you’ll also want to consider family plans that allow each person to stream on their phone, laptop, and tablet. Google Play Music separates itself from the competition by allowing each user to stream on up to 10 devices.
Potential savings: Although smaller than the savings on the best family phone plans, sharing streaming services could help you pocket some cash. Here are additional examples of monthly rates and annual savings for an individual in a family of four:
|Service||Individual price||Family price||Individual’s annual savings|
3. Auto insurance
You might be aware that if you’re under the age of 26, you could stay on your family’s health insurance plan. That offers significant savings to young people without access to employer-provided plans. The same goes for signing up for dental insurance, where family rates are effectively lower than an individual’s.
What’s less obvious is that staying on your family’s auto insurance plan could save you big bucks. It’s one path to avoiding unnecessarily pricey student car insurance if you’re still in school.
If you’re out of school, you might need to share the same permanent address to stay on your family plan.
The upside of staying on family plans is that you can share a lower premium with your parents. The Nationwide Family Plan, for example, extends multi-driver discounts to everyone living in the same household.
Potential savings: The average teen could spend $7,689 annually on individual auto insurance or share a $3,852 policy with their parents, according to consumer research firm ValuePenguin. Although the parents’ premiums would increase, the teen would save $5,763 per year by joining forces with family.
Finding savings through family plans
You would be right to be wary about getting financial advice from family. But sharing the costs and benefits of your recurring purchases is a no-brainer.
Just remember the real definition of family plans. Adding an authorized user on a credit card, for example, might provide convenience. It might even help a family member build their credit. But unlike sharing the costs of the best family phone plans, streaming services, or insurance, you’re unlikely to save money.
Review the repeating charges in your budget, and ask your relatives or roommates if they pay for the same services. If you have an expense in common, there could be savings in your future.
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