These days, a cell phone is an essential to many people. Cell phones can help you contact people in a hurry and can help you keep in touch with friends and family. However, there is no secret that cell phone plans can be an outrageous expense every month. After paying all other utility, housing, and grocery costs, sometimes it may be hard to find the extra cash to pay your phone bill. Here are some tips and suggestions to keep your phone bill at a low and affordable cost.
- Use Wi-Fi whenever possible. Whenever a Wi-Fi connection is available, it is best to utilize it. This is because data that comes with a cell phone is the most expensive part of owning a cell phone. You can use data to access the Internet and surf on social media. This is especially important to use at home and at work since many people spend most of their time in these locations. If you cannot find a way to connect your phone to your workplace’s Wi-Fi, ask for more information and help because connecting can save you lots of money on a phone plan. If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi while you are on the go, try not to download large files such as movies and music because they take up a large amount of data. Many cell phone providers will charge you as much as $15 the moment you go over your data plan usage limit, so make sure you stay within the monthly limit that you originally purchased to avoid extra charges.
- Keep your phone longer, especially if you purchase your phone as part of your cell phone plan. The easiest way to cut the cost of a phone bill is to keep a phone for as long as possible. Cut out the stuff you don’t use. Look at your monthly phone statement to see the breakdown of your cell phone bill. Many people continue to pay for extra things they never use such as too many phone minutes, too much data, or even unlimited data. If you are normally in an area with Wi-Fi available, having unlimited data is not always the most financially efficient. Contact your phone provider to downgrade your plan if necessary.
- Switch carriers. If you have tried to downgrade your phone plan and the cost is still more than you would like to pay, consider shopping around for a new phone plan. Many carriers will help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget; do not hesitate to give them a call. It is not always the best option to have a plan with the best-known carriers, so try and find smaller, lesser-known carriers. Many have “links” to bigger carriers so your signal may be the same at the bigger cell phone providers.
Written by Lisa Batz, Financial Wellness for College Students Peer Educator, University of Illinois Extension, Spring 2020. Reviewed by Kathy Sweedler, University of Illinois Extension.