Get Rid of Hidden Costs in Your Cellphone Bill in 5 Steps

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Very few people look at the breakdown of their mobile bill or read the fine print when they sign up for a new plan. It’s completely understandable. Mobile plans are so easy to set up and pay for that it seems unnecessary — until the price balloons.

If you think you might be paying too much for your plan, we can help! Below we detail five things that may be costing you money that you shouldn’t be spending. Look at your bill and either call your provider or take it into a store to discuss them in detail. In-person is usually the best way because it’s harder for customer service reps to turn a customer down when they’re face-to-face with them.

Step one: Remove add-ons

Do you need insurance for your phone? You can save up to $200 a year if you cut the mobile protection plan from your monthly bill.

Just note that if you do cut your insurance, it would serve you to get a good screen protector with a lifetime warranty. Screen protectors are $25 to $30, but you can keep replacing them for life. It would also help if you bought a drop-test certified phone case (or something similar). A quality case will cost you around $35.

Keep an eye out for other expensive add-ons which include:

  • Any streaming services with free trials that have expired
  • Spam filters that you might have accidentally signed up for
  • Navigation services that have been added onto your account

Step two: Get rid of data-related fees

You can easily cut out some unnecessary fees when it comes to data. If you’re not on an unlimited plan, then you’re likely being charged something called a Line Access Fee. That fee usually adds about $20 per month to each limited data line on your account. That means the 8 GB data plan that you think is $70 per month (advertised), is actually $90 per month. You can quickly fix this by switching to an unlimited plan, as they do not usually have Line Access Fees.

Getting an unlimited plan can also prevent you from having to buy more data each month. Once you’ve gone over your allotment more than a few times — which may prompt you to buy more high-speed data — then it’s time to think about switching to an unlimited data plan, which will likely cost you less in the end.

You should also look to see if you are paying roaming charges. If you are, you shouldn’t be. Whether they’re domestic or international, you can avoid them altogether by asking your carrier for a better plan that doesn’t charge those fees.

Step three: Avoid one-time fees when possible

Whether you’re about to sign up for an installment plan or you want to upgrade your current device, there will be one-time fees associated with those changes. Not all of these charges are avoidable, such as local and state taxes, but other fees might be negotiable.

These (sometimes) negotiable fees include:

  • SIM kit fees
  • Activation fees
  • Upgrade fees

Other avoidable fees include:

  • Late fees
  • Returned payment fees
  • Account restoration fees
  • Payment support fees (if you call customer care for help with a payment)
  • Early payment fees (if you’re signed up for AutoPay, and you decide to pay early)

Step four: Manage your monthly discounts

It’s essential to check your bill to ensure that your carrier has applied promised discounts to your account. You’d be surprised how often a customer service representative will accidentally forget to apply a credit to an account, so it’s good to check.

Note that if you received a deal on a new phone, then your discount will show up on your bill as a monthly billing credit. Just note that these credits can take up to two billing cycles to apply to your account. That’s normal.

Other discounts that you should look for include:

  • AutoPay $5-$10 per line per month savings
  • Senior 55+ discounts
  • Military discounts
  • First responder discounts

If you qualify for one of these discounts and you’re not yet getting them, then check out plans like the one below.

Step five: Switch carriers

Finally, if you feel you’ve done everything you can to make your bill more manageable and it’s still not low enough, then it might be time to remove that bill from your budget altogether. You can easily start fresh in 2020 with a brand-new carrier or plan. Take a look at mobile plans like the one listed below, so you can start saving big by paying less for your data today!

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