If you often find that you have more month than money left — or you are simply frustrated at how much of your hard-earned cash goes to your cell phone company, it might be time to switch your plan to something that is kinder on your wallet. Of course, the second you start looking at different plans online, you might become so overwhelmed by the vast number of choices that you decide to keep the one you’ve got.
Fear not, o budget-savvy one: choosing a more affordable cell phone plan often boils down to examining your phone habits and then going from there. For example, check out the following tips and potential plans:
First, Take an Honest Look at Your Needs
While your smartphone is certainly designed to make a ton of calls, you might find that texting is more your thing. Or you may spend more time on the internet and watching movies than calling Great Aunt Bertha to see how she is feeling. Before switching to a new plan, take your habits into account and determine things like the need for an international plan, extra data, unlimited texting and other factors. Then, sit down with that long bill that comes in the mail every month and go through it and see how your usage matches up with your existing plan — you might find that you barely touch your allotted talk minutes or are getting dinged for excessive data use.
Then, Call your Existing Cell Phone Company
If you are in the middle of a contract with your existing carrier, it might be tough to leave the company for a seemingly cheaper plan without incurring a lot of fees and hassles. Smartphone companies want to keep you as a customer, and they are often willing to work with you switch you to a different plan that is more affordable yet still fulfills your contract requirements. At the same time, they won’t go out of their way to contact you and let you know about new plans that will save you cash. Call the customer service number on your bill or visit a local store and let them know that you need to find a cheaper plan and see what they can do — you may be pleasantly surprised at your options. For example, T-Mobile offers plans for your smartphone including the ONE plan that can save you and your family some serious cash. For example, if you’re not a huge data user, sign up for the KickBack option, which will credit your bill with up to $10 for each line that uses less than 2GB a month. T-Mobile also offers an All Unlimited All In plan that includes two lines, taxes and fees for $50 each — as long as you sign up with AutoPay.
Also, Consider a No-contract Plan
As Consumer Reports notes, a no-contract plan keeps the purchase of your phone separate from your service charges. If you are in the market for a new smartphone, this is a great way to get an interest-free loan on a fancy new phone that you can pay off gradually. Once you have paid off your phone, your bill will automatically go down and, in most cases, you can leave the carrier without any termination fees once you pay off your phone’s balance.
Research Unlimited Plans
If your data usage is really high and you can text ‘til the cows come home, your best bet might be an Unlimited Plan. Many of the major carriers offer this type of plan, and you can usually save a bit more if you sign up for AutoPay. Be sure to ask about a possible reduction in speeds once you get to a high-speed data threshold — some companies will do this once you reach your allotted amount.