5 More Steps to a Lower Cell Phone Bill

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Over the past 20 years, our mobile phones have grown smaller as our bills have grown larger. These bills are taking up so much of our budget, it’s easy for a small family to spend more on wireless services than they do on electricity.

While Money Talks News already gave you 5 Ways to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill, here are 5 other easy steps to cut your costs…

1. Go in as a family

Signing up for a family plan helps cut your bill in two ways.

First, additional phones cost a fraction of the first one or two, reducing your average cost. For example, T-Mobile offers an individual plan with 500 minutes of talk for $40, while a family plan with two phones costs $60, with up to three additional lines for $10 each.

Second, family members tend to call each other frequently. Since calls among plan members don’t typically count against the minutes purchased, a family on the same plan can get away with purchasing fewer total minutes. Remember, family plans aren’t limited to those related to you or even members of your household – many plans allow you to include family living out of state or even friends.

2. Sell your upgrades

Most providers offer their customers a free or highly discounted new phone when they renew their contract. But how much do you really need a new phone every two years?

Instead of using the new phone or declining the upgrade, order the latest, greatest new thing and put it straight on eBay. I’ve sold discounted phones for $200 more than I paid, netting the four people on our family plan more than $800.

You can even do better. Verizon is selling the new iPhone 4s for $199 when you start a new plan or renew an existing one. This model is now selling on eBay for $650. I’m even able to replace the phone I do use for a fraction of these profits, as long as I don’t choose the latest and greatest model.

3. Get a group or corporate discount

When looking for savings, always ask about which companies and groups are offered discounts. You’d be surprised how many organizations receive a group discount of 5 or 10 percent. So long as one person on your plan is a member at any time, the whole plan will be eligible. The best part is that once you qualify, you are likely to receive the discount in perpetuity. For example, I’m still receiving a discount given to employees of a major company that I left more than four years ago.

4. Go to eBay for accessories

One of the reasons providers love to offer customers new phones is that they have a good chance of selling you their overpriced accessories. The car chargers, ear pieces, and protective covers often cost $20 or more – and can usually be found for less than $5 on eBay. If you need your accessories any time soon, be sure to select only items sold from the United States, since many Asian sellers can take more than a month to deliver their product.

5. Use a rewards credit card to pay your bills

I receive 5 percent off all my wireless bills, including new phone purchases, because I charge everything to my American Express SimplyCash Business Card. Now, 5 percent may not sound like much, but that’s on top of all other discounts, so it adds up quickly over time. Several versions of Chase’s Ink card for business also offer 5 times the points when used to pay for wireless bills.

Wireless service is important, but it shouldn’t be your most expensive utility bill!

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  • http://alienmindtrick.wordpress.com FreeRangeRadical

    For people who don’t want to be tied to a contract, there are also pre-paid plans that are very reasonable. Straight Talk Wireless, available only at Walmart ( http://www.straighttalk.com/ServicePlans ) has a 30-days/$45 plan that includes unlimited talk, text and mobile web, with the option to autofill monthly. Net10 has an unlimited 30-day plan for $50 that includes unlimited talk, text/picture messaging, web/email, and calls to 411 ( https://www.net10.com/direct/ValuePlans ). A credit card is required for this plan since it automatically refills every 30 days, but there is no contract. I believe that there are also other unlimited pre-paid plans from other providers. Many of the pre-paid plans from different providers require no credit or debit cards; you can buy airtime cards in many retail locations like Walmart, Dollar General, convenience stores, and others. 

    I believe in most of these cases, you must purchase the phones separately and as I’ve found, the selection varies by zip code. Some have phones as low as $9.99, others may offer from time to time, a phone + minutes package where the cost of the package is no more than the minutes alone would be, essentially making the phone free. 

  • http://twitter.com/mpalczew Michal Palczewski

    I agree the easiest way to save money is to use a prepaid plan.