5 Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

by Kailey Hagen | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on May 28, 2020

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A man texting on his cell phone while sitting in an outdoor square between buildings.

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It's possible to stay connected without spending a fortune.

It's possible to stay connected without spending a fortune.

Just about everyone these days has a cell phone. In addition to the cost of the phone itself, monthly cell phone bills can come to $80 or more. Many of us have just resigned ourselves to paying this because we like having access to our friends, family, and the internet wherever we go. But that connection doesn't have to cost you so much money.

There are several ways you can lower your cell phone bill without compromising the quality of service. Here are five options you should consider if you're trying to save a little extra money every month.

1. Change your carrier

Different carriers have different plans and pricing, so you may be able to get a better deal if you shop around. For example, military members can get discounts with some cell phone carriers but not others. So can seniors. Prepaid cell phone plans may also be more affordable. These require you to pay for minutes, texts, and data upfront rather than traditional cell phone plans that charge you for what you used at the end of the month.

There are other factors to consider, of course, like whether the new carrier provides good service in the areas you frequent often and what its customer service is like. But if there aren't significant differences in quality of service, it could be worth making the switch.

2. Change your data plan

Data is the key driver of most cell phone plans these days. Unlimited plans are popular because you don't have to worry about getting slapped with overage charges. All the same, these plans could be costing you more than necessary.

Approximately 56% of people with unlimited data plans use 10GB of data per month or less, according to ItsWorthMore. These same individuals could save an estimated $268.44 annually if they switched to a more affordable plan that had a lower data cap. Check with your current carrier if you're unsure how much data you normally use in a month and consider switching plans if you realize you don't need as much data as you thought.

3. Use Wi-Fi as often as possible

Those who do use a lot of data may be able to reduce their data usage by using Wi-Fi as much as possible. When you're on Wi-Fi, your internet usage doesn't count toward your monthly data cap. Make this a habit if you have access to Wi-Fi at home or in the places you frequent.

The one exception to this is if you're accessing your financial accounts or other personal information and you're on a public Wi-Fi network. Doing this could expose your information to identity thieves, so you're better off using your cell phone data.

4. Adjust your phone's data settings

You can also use less data by adjusting your phone's data settings. For example, you can turn off cellular data for select apps so they don't drain your available data. Turning off background app refresh can also curb your data usage. If you know you're going to be away from Wi-Fi for an extended period of time, like on a long car ride or on a plane, consider downloading any videos you were planning to watch beforehand so you don't have to use data to stream them.

Check your phone's settings to see how you can reduce your data usage. If you're unsure of how to make some of these changes, have a look in your phone's user manual or do some research online.

5. Keep your old phone as long as possible

Many cell phone carriers enable you to pick out a new phone, but then the cost of that phone gets added to your monthly bill. If you don't need a new phone, don't take one. That way, you only need to pay for your cellular data, which can save you a lot of money every month.

Of course, you have to keep your current phone in good condition if you want to be able to continue using it. Invest in a good case for your phone to protect it from shattering and keep the battery in good condition for longer by performing regular, shallow charges before your phone's battery drops below 30%.

If you follow the above tips, you should be able to shave at least a few dollars off of your cell phone bill every month, which could add up to hundreds of dollars in savings every year. Take a look at your current plan and data usage and see if any of these suggestions make sense for you.

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