Two Ways to Beat Your Rising Cell Phone Bills

Tired of paying a fortune for your smartphone plan? Here’s some bad news — your bill will keep growing if you don’t do anything about it.

According to WhistleOut, a cell provider price comparison tool, mobile plans increase by 4% each year. By their calculations, the average American will soon pay a whopping $2,100 each year to have a phone.

With stats like that, it may seem like this expense is out of your hands. But that’s where you’re wrong.

1. Re-Evaluate Your Need for Unlimited Data

Unlimited data might feel like a necessity when you rely on Google Maps to get around, listen to Spotify wherever you go, and stream movies from your device. But really think about when you use the data provided by your cell carrier and not a trusted network, like your home Wi-Fi.

Under close inspection, your data usage is probably less essential than you might think. Most people do the majority of their data-heavy browsing at home, connected to their home Internet.

Switching to a smaller data plan has the potential to save you a lot of money. A smaller data plan also has the potential to cost you in overages if you forget you have limited gigs and decide to stream a Netflix show while waiting for the bus.

Here’s how you can avoid going over your limits:

  • Download content at home before you leave the house.
  • Enable data usage limits on your phone; these will notify you when you get close to your new cap.
  • You should also keep track of your data throughout the month, so this notification doesn’t come as a surprise.

What if You Go Over Your Limits?

Don’t panic if you make a mistake the first month after you switch — even if you don’t have extra cash to cover the overage penalty. Personal loans may step in for savings to cover this accidental penalty, as long as you don’t make a habit of going over your cap.

Check out these dos and don’ts when applying for a personal loan to understand how they fit into your phone expenses. Generally speaking, you should never take out a personal loan for your regular phone bill — retain it for emergencies.

2. Shop Around for a New Carrier

If you don’t like the plans your current carrier has to offer, don’t be afraid to shop around. While many of the biggest carriers mimic each other’s plans, some smaller companies break the mold. You might find a cheaper option with a less familiar name, especially if you’re willing to accept tight restrictions on your data.

While rate shopping, pay close attention to the new company’s coverage. Many smaller carriers buy data from the larger carriers, so you can tap into their networks. However, some emerging carriers have less coverage than you might realize.

If you sign up without knowing your limits, you can accidentally use your phone outside your carrier’s network. At that point, you’ll start roaming or hopping onto another company’s network.

Just like data overages, roaming is very expensive. In an emergency, you can see if you qualify for a personal loan or put these unexpected charges on a line of credit. But it’s easier if you avoid roaming altogether. Read through your plan carefully before you switch carriers to ensure you aren’t losing too much to save money.

The Takeaway:

It pays to be attentive and informed. Take the time to understand your plan — it can save you a lot of money.

About the author

Rosella Hahn

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