I’ve written about how to save money on landline phones, but I realized that I didn’t cover cell phones. It’s time fix that. There are a lot of people spending too much on their phone bill and if these tips help one or two people, it’s well worth the effort. Of course it might help 10 people, if you spread the word by using the e-mail link at the bottom of the post.
- Use BillShrink – Billshink is a company that looks at your cell phone usage (among other things) and tries to help you save money.
- … Or Use Fix My Cell Bill – For $5 you can upload your cell phone bill and get recommendations on how to save money on your cell phone.
- Get the Right Amount of Minutes – No secret here. If you ending the month with lots of minutes, switch to a plan with fewer minutes and save some money. If you find that you are running out of minutes don’t pay overages. If you aren’t sure where you fall, consider AT&T with their rollover minutes.
- Look for Friends, Family, and Network plans – A lot of companies allow you to designation people you call most for discounts… That works well for my family. Some companies allow you to pay a little more for unlimited calling in the network. With Sprint that $5 option probably saves me a few dozen dollars every month.
- Skip a Cell Phone Plan – A prepaid cell phone is a good way to save money for those who don’t call a lot. Some companies that offer this are TracPhone, Boost, and Virgin.
- Look for a Special Plan – Sprint had a program called SERO (Sprint Exclusive Referral Offer) which was an amazing deal. It was easy to get into as well. I’m not aware of any current deals like that, but it can’t hurt to try to find a message board and see. There’s also Let’s Talk that has some interesting options. I’m not sure if they are the best cell phone plans, but they look good.
- Reduce Your Use of Data – The days of unlimited data are coming to an end. Use smartphone apps to limit the amount of data you use. Android has Onavo Extend that compresses data before it gets to your phone. It will also tell you which apps are using the most data. With that information maybe you can use them more sparingly.
- Skip Ringtones – The ringtone is one of the worst buys in the history of telecommunications. Sometimes people pay $2 or more for some 15 seconds of a song in the form of a ringtone. I don’t understand it. Fortunately a lot of phones, with a little work, will let you upload ringtones on for free.
- Be Careful of Text Messages – I take it back, the text message is one of the worst buys in history of telecommunications. At 10 or 15 cents for around 150 characters, it’s the most expensive data in the world. If you do a fair amount of text messaging, consider and unlimited plan or a large bucket of text messages.
- Watch for Contract Changes – Sometimes you can get out of your contract because companies change their terms. For instance they may change the cost of text messaging. When these kind of things happen you may be eligible to get out of your contract for free.
- Swap Your Phone – Companies like Cell Trade USA and Cell Swapper help you work this out. Seems like a decent plan in theory… I haven’t had to try it for real.
Manage Your Plan
Avoid Cell Phone Extras
Get Out of Your Cell Phone Contact
Getting out of your contract maybe a way to save money. Perhaps you want to drop your phone altogether… or maybe you see another plan with a different carrier that’s going to save you a few dollars. Either way, it’s better to get out of a big termination fee and save some cash
I saved the best tip for last… If your contract is up (or if you can get out of via the method above), call up your current company and say that you are thinking of switching to another carrier to get the sexy phone (Blackberry Storm, Apple iPhone, Palm Pre) on their competitor’s network. You’ll often get sent to the retention department, where they will try to make you happy with all sorts of extras. It’s better for them to keep you at a discount than to go recruit a new customer to replace you. Now some may see this as a little dishonest, but I think it’s fair game. I would have an iPhone now if it was available at Sprint. Because it’s not, I feel they should give me a reason to stick with them.
It’s better for them to keep you at a discount than to go recruit a new customer to replace you. Now some may see this as a little dishonest, but I think it’s fair game. I would have an iPhone now if it was available at Sprint. Because it’s not, I feel they should give me a reason to stick with them.
This post discuses the many ways you can save on your cell phone plan. Another way to save money is by visiting savings.com where you can find savings coupons for cell phone, computers and other great products.
Photo Credit: MarkKelley