Switching Cell Phone Carriers? Here Are the 3 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

Photo by Rido / Shutterstock.com

This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com.

Enough is enough. You’re tired of deal after deal passing you by. You and your cell phone are ready to head to greener pastures. Switching carriers is a great way to save on your cell phone bill, but in doing so be sure you avoid these common mistakes that can wind up costing you more than you need to pay:

1. You don’t know how much data you need

Young woman texting.
Elena Kharichkina / Shutterstock.com

Ask most people much cell phone data they use in a month and the mostly likely response is ‘no idea.’ Perhaps you’ve seen the ads and now want the ease of unlimited data. But do you need it? Considering that the average person uses about 3GB a month, an unlimited plan may add a lot of extra gigabytes to add to your bill unnecessarily. Better to check back over your past cell phone bills and figure out the average amount of data that you use in a month. For the best savings, find a plan that you offers you that amount of data, no more, no less.

Beware also of the size-up trap. Yes for an extra $10, you can get another 2GB of data, but if you don’t use that amount, you’re still spending more than you need to.

Compare the prices of a 3GB plan vs unlimited data:

2. You’re paying for extra features you don’t use

Couple looking at bills, appearing shocked.
baranq / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to cell phone plans, often people have no idea what they are paying for. Considering the average American pays more than $1,000 on cell phone bills, it’s time we all figure out what we’re getting for our hard-earned money. When you’re switching to a new plan, be sure that the plan isn’t charging you extra for roadside assistance or cloud storage that either you don’t need or you already have through another membership like Costco or AAA.

Also, you don’t often need to pay for extra data when plans offer data-free (zero-data) streaming options. Often you can stream video and music content from carrier’s partner sites like DirecTV, Spotify and Pandora without draining your cellular data.

Compare and save: Check out these carriers that offer data-free streaming options.

3. You don’t know all of your carrier options

Older man shrugging shoulders in "I don't know" expression.
pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Most people don’t realize all of the options there are beyond the four major carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Many smaller cellphone carriers (MVNOs) and prepaid carriers offer the same exact same infrastructure and use all of the same towers as the major carriers but charge a fraction of the cost. For example, AT&T’s prepaid subsidiary Cricket uses all of pop’s towers but charges a lot less.

Compare and save: H2O is a smaller carrier that uses a major carrier’s network (AT&T’s infrastructure) without the major prices. In fact when you compare it to Verizon, you get more data for less money.

Also, some of the carriers like US Mobile and Ting specialize in build-your-own plans that allow you to decide the buckets of talk, text and data. Those who want a cell phone only as an emergency backup or want a data-less, internet-free phone option for their younger child could save a lot of money with these smaller carriers.

Do you know what you’re paying your cellphone carrier for? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Amazon Picks Under $30 for Coffee Lovers
8 Amazon Picks Under $30 for Coffee Lovers

We’ve brewed up a list of amazing Amazon products that are sure to perk you up.

Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement

No. 1 isn’t visiting grandkids, and No. 4 might surprise you.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020
How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020

New year, new you. Get your finances on track with the help of these tools for investing, saving, budgeting and earning.

3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances
3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances

Open an HSA in minutes to help you save on taxes, cover medical expenses and grow your retirement nest egg.

7 Steps to Keep Your Car Looking Like New
7 Steps to Keep Your Car Looking Like New

Take a few steps to preserve the beauty of your car, and you stand to get a lot more money at trade-in time.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?
Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?

A growing number of people are wearing two masks instead of just one. Should you join them?

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.