4 Ways to Avoid Paying Too Much for a Cellphone Plan

Young woman looking at her smartphone thoughtfully, considering lowering her bill
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Have you ever wondered if you’re paying too much for your cellphone plan?

Yes, this sounds like the beginning of a commercial, but the question still stands.

If you feel like your cellphone bill takes too big a chunk out of your bank account every month, here are some tips to make sure you don’t pay too much for your cellphone plan.

Downgrade your cellphone plan

Take a look at your cellphone plan again and decide if you actually need all the services you pay for. The most expensive part of any cellphone bill is the wireless data.

If you can live without unlimited data, you can drastically lower your cellphone bill. But before we start toying with your unlimited data, there are some other perks you probably cut from your cellphone plan.

Most wireless carriers offer different tiers of unlimited plans that come with extra perks if you’re willing to pay more money every month.

Take a look at the most expensive unlimited plans from the top three carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) and make sure you’re not subscribed to any of them. After all, if you want to save money, a super-premium cellphone plan isn’t going to do you any favors.

Along with unlimited data, the premium cellphone plans come with perks like subscriptions to streaming services.

For example, T-Mobile’s premium unlimited plan comes with a Netflix subscription. If you already have a Netflix subscription (perhaps you share it with your partner or friends), then you don’t need to pay for the premium Netflix subscription.

Same goes for Verizon with Disney+ and AT&T with HBO MAX.

Trimming back on the added perks from the premium cellphone plans is probably the most painless way to lower your cellphone bill, but that only applies to folks who already pay for the premium cellphone plans. How about the rest of us that still feel like we’re paying too much for our cellphone bill?

Switch to a prepaid wireless carrier

If you’ve been using AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon for most of your wireless life, it might come as a surprise that there’s a whole host of other cellphone carriers out there.

Prepaid cellphone plans (otherwise known as MVNO carriers) offer cheaper cellphone plans with the catch that your cellphone speeds might slow down from time to time.

As opposed to the big carriers, prepaid cellphone plans don’t own their own wireless networks, so they piggyback on other wireless networks. If you live with your parents still, it’s kind of like using their Wi-Fi without having to pay them for it.

Now that you know how prepaid carriers work, let’s get to the good part where we talk about price. You can get an unlimited plan with a prepaid carrier for a fraction of the price compared with a major carrier.

Check out Mint Mobile, for example, which offers unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data for $30 per month. Take a look at the most popular prepaid cellphone plans and consider if it’s worth making the switch.

Join a family plan

If you’re not currently on a family plan, then you’re definitely missing out on savings. Family plans can reduce your cellphone bill dramatically, and it’s pretty much effortless.

You just have to find a group of three or four people to go in on a family plan with you (doesn’t have to be your family, necessarily), and you instantly get major discounts on your cellphone plan.

Let’s put it this way: You can pay $85 per month for an individual Magenta MAX plan from T-Mobile, or you can get the same exact plan for $42.50 per month with a family plan that has four or more lines.

That literally cuts your bill in half, and you get all the premium perks. It’s a similar story with unlimited plans from AT&T and Verizon as well.

For reference, check out the most popular family plans.

Cut any international perks

You might have an international calling, texting, or traveling add-on that gets added to your bill every month without you even knowing. You could be charged somewhere between $10 and $20 every month for international add-ons on your cellphone bill.

If you’ve traveled internationally in the past few months, or used your cellphone to make frequent international calls, you should check your bill to make sure you’re not paying for any international wireless services.

Find your cellphone carrier from the list below and make sure you don’t see any charges on your bill with these names:

  • Verizon: TravelPass
  • AT&T: International Day Pass
  • T-Mobile: World Class International Roaming

If you see TravelPass, International Day Pass or World Class International Roaming (or anything along those lines), you should contact a customer service rep to cut those perks from your cellphone plan.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask for a refund for those months that you paid for the service without knowing it. If they seem hesitant, you can always hint at changing cellphone carriers, and usually you can get your money back.

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