5 Tips to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Service
Our cell phone is like an extra appendage. It’s the one thing that can leave you feeling incomplete if you leave the house without it and unconnected from the world if you happen to lose it. While it seems silly to place so much emphasis on a piece of technology, we consistently dish out over a hundred dollars a month on a phone that has all the bells and whistles, to include an always increasing contract. Even though we couldn’t fathom ditching our phones anytime soon, there are a few ways to ditch the high dollar signs.
Tip #1: Review your Data Usage and Adjust your Plan
For most cellular plans, you are going to pay big money for the best package that often includes the highly sought-after “unlimited data”. Let’s be real though, most of us don’t really need unlimited data these days. Free WiFi is a selling point of many restaurants, stores, and offices. If you can turn on your WiFi connection while at home or out and about, you can save yourself a great deal of data usage. Most people only use approximately 1-2 GB per month, while those who travel often use a bit more. Try it for a month, check your data usage on your latest bill and see if you can downgrade your plan to accommodate. Yes, your data usage will be confined, but if you take advantage of the free internet all around you, you will gladly keep some money in your pocket.
Tip #2: Utilize Time Warner Cable’s Phone 2 Go App
With many families opting to drop their home phone line due to the high costs of owning cellular plans, Time Warner Cable offers the perfect reason why you shouldn’t jump the gun just yet. With their free Phone 2 Go App, Time Warner turns your cell phone into a multitasking aficionado, transferring your incoming and outgoing phone calls using your TWC home line to your cell phone from anywhere in the United States, as well as 34 other countries worldwide. Rather than using your coveted (and expensive!) cellular minutes, the app allows you to make unlimited calls when connected to WiFi (remember, it’s free data!), check your home phone voicemail, and send unlimited text messages and video calls. We love this app not only for its ease of use and ability to keep us connected to our home phone line while we’re away, but also for the term “unlimited” — something that is hard to come by in a cellular plan without forking over some big bucks! An added bonus: the app has amazing privacy customization. Goodbye, Telemarketers! Using your landline has never been better.
Tip #3: Ask about Discounts
Most phone service providers offer discounts that are relatively unknown and not advertised. Teachers, military personnel, and many employees of large corporations can get anywhere from a 10 to 30 percent discount on their monthly plan by providing proof of employment when signing up for their phone service plan. While it may not be advertised in your benefits package at work, be sure to ask your human resources department if the company has partnered with a particular phone service provider for employee discounts. Students can also reap the benefits by providing a student ID or student email address to most phone service providers. If you already have a phone plan and think you may qualify for a discount, call your provider and ask for the discount to be applied.
Tip #4: Plans are Not Set in Stone
Many of us tend to think that our plans are set in stone, therefore we look at our high bill for two years, waiting for the day that our contract is up and we can renew with hopefully a cheaper plan. While renewing your plan usually can result in a cheaper option, you don’t have to wait until your current contract is up. Once again, most service providers don’t advertise new plans to existing customers, but in order to gain and keep customers from their competition, service providers are constantly changing their plan options. That plan that you bought 4 months ago may not even be an option to new customers anymore, but instead a cheaper, better plan has been rolled out. Don’t be afraid to contact your provider and tell them you need to cut costs. Providers will do anything to keep your business from swaying to their competition, even if it means helping you select a different, cheaper plan. Be sure you read all of the fine print before selecting a new plan and double check that this new plan won’t extend your current contract.
Tip #5: Don’t Sign a Contract
According to Consumer Reports, it can be cheaper in some cases to buy your phone outright and pay it off in monthly installments with zero interest than to go for the two year contract with a discount on the phone. After the phone is paid off and you only pay monthly for the services you need, you can save hundreds that would otherwise be wrapped up in a one-size-fits-all contract and a down payment. If you are easy on your phones and don’t feel the need to have the best every time an updated version is debuted, your phone should last you for years, meaning you only end up paying the bare minimum in installment plans that can easily decrease in cost from month to month. Keep in mind that contracts rarely change even if a cheaper option is available. That is, unless you paid attention to tip #4.
Photo credits: Stephanie
Tags: #FirstPersonIdCall, #Phone2Go, app, app features, bills, Cell phone service, cell phones, cellular phone, cheap living, communication, discounts, frugal living, monthly bills, phone service, phone service providers, save money, Save money on bills, savings, Time Warner Cable
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Stephanie is a military wife, currently residing in New York, and mama of two exceptionally curious kiddos – a rugged pint-size princess and a toddling Evel Knievel-in-training – and one sweet, easy going baby boy. When she isn’t exploring the family’s newest dwellings, running trails, farmers’ markets, and playgrounds, she spends her down time working from home, feverishly correcting “textspeak” in her college students’ essays as an adjunct English instructor for a local community college. Her passion for writing and photography can be found at Stephanie High Photography on facebook