If you haven’t read your cellphone bill in a while, you might not realize how much you’re paying each month.
With the high cost of plans, including fees and extras, you could be overpaying by hundreds of dollars — but you don’t have to. Here’s how to lower your cellphone bill in a few simple steps.
1. Pick the right plan
If you’re in the market for a new cellphone plan, research what each carrier offers to see which plans are in line with how you use your phone. If you don’t use much data or don’t need unlimited texting, you don’t have to have them on your plan.
If you’re unsure of how to find the best plan for you, do an audit of your cellphone plan. Go over your bills from the last few months and see what you’re using and what you’re not. You might discover you need less than what you’re paying for.
2. Negotiate with your carrier
If you like your current carrier, call and mention that you’re interested in lowering your bill and ask what it can offer you.
Your carrier often will want to keep you as a customer, so it’ll work to give you a discount or find ways to cut your costs. Negotiating might be the best way to save on your cellphone plan.
3. Switch carriers
If your current carrier still isn’t giving you the best deal, you can negotiate with other carriers too. You should shop around and ask about deals and discounts with all cellphone providers — not just your current one. You might have to leave your current carrier to get a better deal.
But don’t remain content with the flashy discount you get upfront. When that deal runs out, get on the phone with your carrier again and ask how it can help keep your bill low. Many carriers offer tons of deals at any given time. Stay current on them so you can negotiate with your provider.
4. Consider a family plan
Adding a line does cost more money. But getting on a family plan will help you pocket extra cash — and you don’t need to be blood relatives to do it.
How much you pay depends on the carrier you have and where you live. If you currently pay, say, $100 a month for two lines, that’s $50 a month per person. If you add a line for $20, that’s $120 for three people, or $40 a month per person. Each person would save $120 a year.
Your current plan might cost more, though, so audit your plan before adding people.
5. Drop the extras
Even if you pick the right plan, you might have unnecessary extras on your bill. For example, you can skip phone insurance. If you’re worried about something happening to your phone, invest in a solid case that protects it. Even if it’s bulky, it could save the phone in the event of a disaster.
If you use your phone only to make calls and don’t need anything extra, you might consider moving to a prepaid phone plan. Most major carriers offer these plans, and you won’t get stuck paying for anything you don’t use.
6. Make it tax deductible
If you use your cellphone for business purposes, you might be able to claim your phone as a tax deduction.
If you’re self-employed, you could claim it as a small-business deduction. If you work for someone else, you could claim it as an unreimbursed business expense. Talk to a tax professional or certified public accountant first, as not everyone can claim this deduction.
7. Bundle and save more
If you have home internet, TV, and a cellphone plan, you could save money by bundling them. Many providers offer bundled services. Make sure you’ll put the offer to good use, though; it’s not worth buying a package if you aren’t going to use it.
All deals expire. As the date approaches, call your provider and renegotiate your contract so you can continue to get the best deal or find a new one that works for you.
Take time to save right
Regardless of how you save on your cellphone bill, it’s important to find the right way for you. Whether you turn your phone into a tax deduction or get friends to join a family plan, there are plenty of ways for everyone to save.