The 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching Cellphone Plans

Woman happily using her phone outdoors in the city
Photo by RossHelen / Shutterstock.com

With so much competition out there, one of the best ways to save money on your cellphone plan is by switching to a carrier that charges less than your current one (especially if that current carrier is one of the major ones — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon).

Switching to a cheaper carrier and plan is your first major step towards savings, but if you want to maximize those savings, make sure you avoid these three common mistakes.

1. Buying new phones

Yes, new phones are cool and fun to play with, but they are expensive.

Unless you really need a new phone, save your money and keep your old phone. While annual upgrades of smartphones used to come with really big innovations, nowadays the differences between the latest-and-greatest and devices from the past couple of years are mostly not noticeable by the average user.

If your phone meets your demands without considerably slowing down, and it can hold its charge for as long as you typically need, you should probably keep it.

On the other hand, if it is slowing down and is struggling to hold a charge, it might be time to buy a new phone. Just remember to stay away from smartphone insurance — it’s rarely worth it.

Here is a list of some of the best plans to which you can bring your current device.

2. Paying for perks you don’t need

Carriers usually have different tiers of plans. Typically, the higher-tiered plans are loaded with perks like free international calling or subscriptions to various services like Spotify or Hulu.

Oftentimes, these perks are the main difference between the high-tier plans and the basic plans. Study each tier of cellphone plans offered by the carriers you are considering. If the more expensive plans are full of perks you don’t need, stick with the basic plan that has just the important stuff: talk, text and data.

3. Paying for data you don’t need

With unlimited talk and text being pretty standard these days, most of what you’re paying for when you pay for a cellphone plan is the data.

Naturally, unlimited plans are the most expensive, but unlimited data is way more data than most users ever need. Take a look at your typical monthly data usage (your past cellphone bills should have this information) and look for a cellphone plan that has a data limit around that average.

If you find that you use more than 10 GB per month of data, sticking with an unlimited data plan might be your best option. Otherwise, look into a data-capped plan to save money.

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