I Save $375 per Year on My Cellphone Bill by Not Going Unlimited. Could You?

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  • Some cellphone users may be able to save money by skipping an unlimited data plan.
  • One writer explains how she saves $375 annually by not going unlimited.

Unlimited data plans can be a money-saving option for some -- but that's not always the case.

Most of us use a cellphone daily. That requires us to invest in a cellphone and a service plan, but not all plans are priced the same.

Many cellphone users commit to an unlimited data plan. If you use streaming apps, social media, and surf the web while on your phone away from home, you may be using a lot of data if you're not connected to wifi.

Unlimited data plans can be an excellent option if you use a lot of data because it can be cheaper than paying per gigabyte. Plus, you don't have to worry about surprise charges. But an unlimited plan isn't always the best money move. I've found that switching my plan to one that doesn't include unlimited data usage was the best move for my wallet.

Here's why skipping an unlimited plan works for my finances

I've found that I don't usually need unlimited data. I work from home full-time and I’m connected to wifi, so my data usage is minimal most months.

For this reason, I have a flexible plan with my carrier, Google Fi. I pay $20 per month for my cellphone line and an additional $10 per gigabyte for data usage.

Most months, I use less than 2 GB of data. That means my monthly bills are affordable. My monthly bills vary but typically fall between $30 and $45.

When I travel and use more data, my plan becomes unlimited

In my free time, I like to travel internationally. I can use my cellphone while abroad without worrying about expensive data charges because my carrier offers coverage in 200+ destinations without international data roaming charges. Many other carriers charge extra fees.

Here's the cool thing about my plan: If I use a lot of data in a particular month, my carrier converts my bill to unlimited pricing. Once I use 6 GB of data in a month, my data usage becomes unlimited, and I'm charged a $20 per line fee + $60 for unlimited data usage.

I pay $80 plus taxes and fees when this happens. I tend to travel internationally twice a year. When traveling, I use a lot more data than I usually would. But I don't have to worry about expensive fees because I know what my bill will be.

I save $375 per year with my flexible cellphone plan

I may pay for unlimited data once or twice a year while traveling, but otherwise, it's not a necessary regular expense for me.

Over the last 12 months, I've paid $524.32 for my Google Fi cellphone service. Before I switched carriers, I was with Verizon Wireless. I researched what I'd be paying for service today if I had an unlimited plan with that company.

Verizon’s 5G Start plan would cost me $70 monthly with autopay and paper-free billing. I'd estimate that the taxes and fees would be about $5 monthly, so the total cost would be around $75 per month. That means a year of service would cost me about $900.

It turns out that I'm saving $375 annually with my flexible Google Fi plan. I'd rather put an extra $375 in my savings account than pay for unlimited data every month.

Could a different cellphone plan save you money?

You may assume an unlimited data plan makes the most sense for you -- but maybe it doesn't. If you're frequently connected to wifi when using your phone, you might think about switching your plan so you're not paying for data you're not using.

Unlimited may be the best choice if you regularly use a lot of data. But shopping around and comparing pricing from different carriers may be worthwhile. Companies are frequently changing their plans and pricing, so you may be able to find a better deal by switching plans or carriers.

If you feel like your phone bill is too high, here are a few ways to lower your cellphone bill. Are you looking for other ways to save money? Check out these personal finance resources.

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