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5 Simple Tips for Saving Money on Your Phone Bill

Over the past few years, cost of living surges have left many Americans scrutinizing their budgets. If you're one of the many looking for ways to cut costs, don't overlook your phone bill.

The average cost of wireless phone service is $157 per month, according to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Study, but you may be able to pay less.

1. Review Your Usage and Plan Options

Most cellphone companies offer plans with unlimited talk, text and data, but they typically have different plan tiers that come with varying amounts of high-speed data.

With AT&T, for example, the top tier plan includes unlimited talk, text and high-speed data with 60 GB of mobile hotspot data for $85.99 per month.

On the other hand, the lowest-tier plan includes unlimited talk, text and data that will slow down anytime the network is busy with 5GB of mobile hotspot data for $65.99 per month.

If you're on the higher plan but spend most of your time using Wi-Fi, you could save $20 per month by downgrading.

"Because we can use Wi-Fi at home, at the office and on the go these days, thanks to free Wi-Fi networks offered by businesses, restaurants, retailers and hotels, many really don't need unlimited data," Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert, said in an email.

She recommends you look at your actual usage and switch to a lower-tiered plan that matches it.

Rob Webber, CEO and founder of MoneySavingPro, agrees.

"Look closely at how much data you're actually using. Many of us pay for more than we need. For example, I use a 5GB plan, which is more than enough since I'm mostly on Wi-Fi between work and home," Webber said in an email.

"Online tools and apps can help you track your usage and identify the right data plan for you. The major carriers only have unlimited data plans available, giving you the illusion of choice," he said.

"However, most mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) have unlimited plans but also offer a wide range of plans for those who use less data," Webber added. "Also, connect to Wi-Fi networks whenever possible to avoid using your mobile data. This will help reduce your usage and lower your bill."

2. Join a Family Plan

Family phone plans offer a lower cost per line than individual plans, so they're a good choice if multiple people in your household need phone service.

With Verizon, for example, the base Unlimited Welcome plan is $75 for a single line, $65 per line for a two-person plan, $50 per line for a three-person plan and $40 per line for a four-person plan.

If you live alone, you could also consider going in on a family plan with friends or family members. If another person is willing to add you to their plan, it may save them money, too.

3. Ask Your Carrier for Discounts

If you're considering switching carriers due to cost, be sure to give your current carrier a call first.

"Let your phone provider know you’re considering making a change due to cost and see if they’re willing to offer up any promotions, loyalty rewards or discounts. This may not work, but if it does, you can save a lot of fuss by not having to switch providers," Erika Kullberg, an attorney and personal finance expert, said in an email.

Carriers commonly offer discounts for:

  • Autopay enrollment.

  • Paperless statements.

  • First responders.

  • Teachers.

  • Students.

  • Military.

  • Nurses.

  • Corporate employees.

  • Seniors.

  • And more.

Additionally, they may be willing to offer you a promotional plan to keep you as a customer.

4. Shop Around and Compare Carriers

After figuring out the lowest possible price you can get from your current carrier, shop around and see how plans at other carriers compare. If you can find a better deal, it may be worth it to switch. But before you do, consider any ancillary costs the switch will trigger, such as:

  • Activation fees.

  • The cost of a new phone from the new carrier.

  • The cost to pay off an outstanding phone installment plan balance with your current carrier.

You may also want to give your current carrier one last chance to keep your business.

"If you found a better deal at a competitor and are willing to switch, give your current provider the opportunity to match their price. Threatening to switch often uncovers new deals," Woroch said.

5. Look for Plan Perks That Offer Savings

Along with phone service, many wireless carriers now offer other perks like discounts on home internet, subscriptions to streaming services and cybersecurity coverage.

"Although this isn't cutting the cost of your actual phone bill, it allows you to offset the total cost of your wireless plan," Woroch said.

"For example, Sprint offers a free subscription to Hulu for Unlimited Basic, Plus and Premium members, while T-Mobile offers a complimentary plan to Netflix for their Magenta and Magenta Plus users," she added.

These extra perks can add up to significant savings overall, so consider them as you compare the value different plans offer.

Optimize Your Phone Bill and Save

The key to reducing your phone bill is minimizing your data use.

"In America, the major cost of cellphone bills is data. Therefore, try to connect to Wi-Fi if possible and only use your cellphone data if needed," Sophia Phillips, lifestyle expert at Coupon Birds, said in an email.

Aside from that, work on getting the best deal possible from your carrier through discounts, promotions and negotiating, and shop around to see if you can find a better plan from any of the other carriers.


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