How I Saved $960 Per Year On My Cell Phone Bill
One question that I get often is “How do I save money on my cell phone bill?“. I can understand the popularity of this question because it seems cell phone bills are getting higher and higher these days. As I stated earlier, my wife and I left Verizon because they were charging us around $150 per month for two phones. This price was also after a 17% preferred employer discount. I am a big fan of saving money on monthly expenses and don’t like to settle for the status quo. If I can find a service that is cheaper and still provide me with what I need, then I am going to switch. I am only loyal to companies that provide me with a great service and a great price. I need to have both, not just one or the other. Since I always get this question, I decided I would describe how I saved money on my cell phone bill.
How I Save Money On My Cell Phone Bill
As stated in the title of this post, I was able to leave Verizon and save $960 per year on my cell phone bill. I also get to enjoy a no-contract lifestyle. Since Verizon gives you two year contracts when you want to buy service or a new phone in order to get a deal, I can say that I will save $1,920 in the next two years. Nice!
OK, so I am saving money each month, but how did I do it. Let me explain in a little more detail on how I am saving money on my cell phone bill.
With many of the lower cost services, you have the option of bringing your own phone. Since our phones were locked to Verizon, we had to look for different phones. While this looks to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. While on Verizon, I decided to try out Straight Talk and had a good experience. I was using their bring your own phone (BYOP) service with a different phone number and just forwarding my regular number to the new one. You can also just get a Google Voice number and use that as your main number and try different services without porting your number out. It makes it much easier.
When I first got the service, I picked up a used Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone on eBay. It only cost me $190, which is much less than paying for a brand new phone. The phone was not locked to any carrier and I could use it on any GSM carrier. It was a good deal.
When my wife wanted to get off Verizon, we needed another phone. So, I went back onto eBay and found a LG Nexus 4 which is a Google phone. It was unlocked and was only used for a few months. It was in great condition and cost me $250. Now, you will say that I had to spend quite a bit for phones, but I will still save enough money to cover them. The two phones are great and work well for us. All we had to do after we got each phone was buy the appropriate SIM card and go through the number porting process. Simple and easy!
I have since moved onto a Moto G 2nd generation, which is a great budget phone. You can get one new for under $200 on Amazon.
As stated earlier, I was trying out Straight Talk on my own just to see how it did. My Straight Talk service was using the AT&T towers, which worked well in our area. The service was great and cost me $45/month plus tax. Last year, I was given the opportunity to try out Walmart Family Mobile. It uses the T-Mobile towers. Now, some will say that T-Mobile is not good, but it works very well in our area and that is what I care about. Yes, there might be some travel concerns with the network, but since I don’t do a lot of traveling, we were good.
After trying out Walmart Family Mobile for a few months, I convinced my wife to switch from Verizon. The reason why I chose Family Mobile was because they offer a $5 monthly discount for each additional line. For the first line, you are charged $39.88. The second line is charged $34.88.
Now, instead of being charged $150/month, we are only paying $74.76, plus tax. That is much better than what we were paying before and I like those savings.
You’re probably wondering how I’m getting this math done in order to save $960 a year in mobile phone costs. Well, since I’m a fan of trying new things, I also tried two other services, both of which I would recommend. First, I tried Republic Wireless. This service is awesome. You can start on their system for only $10 per month with unlimited calls and data on WiFi. If you want cellular data, you can pay and get it for a few bucks more. Their average customer bill is only $14/month. Here is my full Republic Wireless review, so you can see what I’m talking about.
If I would have stayed with Republic, I would have saved over $1,000 a year with two phones on their plan. I didn’t stay with Republic because the WiFi coverage was bad for some places and so was Sprint. They have since fixed that issue, but I’ve already moved on. I still highly recommend it though.
Right now, my wife and I are both on Cricket. I really like this service and it’s only $70/month for both of us. It runs on AT&T and there are no taxes on top. I pay $70 this month, next month, and many months after. It’s that easy and the coverage is really good. I haven’t had any complaints since being on it for nearly a year.
Many Providers Offer Savings Opportunities
The word “prepaid” used to be such a dirty word. If you had a prepaid phone plan, you were considered poor, but that is no longer the case. Prepaid has molded into “no-contract” and it has become the plan for frugal people. I am not saying cheap people, but people that are more worried about living a good life than having all of the bells and whistles. With the explosion of people looking for lower cost alternatives, there have been an explosion of new providers.
The best part is that all of these low-cost providers are just using the big carrier networks. So, you can get the same service for a much cheaper rate. What is wrong with that? As I wrote in my Simple Savings Sunday post, there are quite a few providers to choose from when it comes to cell phone service. So, in an effort to show you that there are options out there, here are all of the cell phone providers that I currently know of. If you know of more, please let me know and I will add them to this table.
|Net10 Wireless||AT&T and T-Mobile|
|Red Pocket Mobile||AT&T|
|Republic Wireless||WiFi and Sprint|
|Straight Talk||AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon|
|Walmart Family Mobile||T-Mobile|
As this table shows, there are a wide variety of lower cost options out there than the big carriers. You don’t have to settle for the high costs of your cell phone bill. You don’t have to settle for the status quo! So, if you are looking to save money on your cell phone bill, then look to other providers. Shop around and find a different company that will provide a service to you that you are willing to pay for. I recommend that you always test out the service before you jump in and with no-contrast providers, it makes the test drive easy!
To be completely fair here, I realized my math might have been a little off. I wasn’t truly saving $960 a year here. I did have to purchase the phones. It’s been 2 years since I started this adventure and have saved nearly $2,ooo by switching carriers. Since the overall phones costs were $615 for three of them, my realized savings is only around $1,400 for two years, so I’ve only save about $700 a year by switching. To me, that’s still awesome and if I didn’t change phones, it would have been even better. I still recommend going to a different carrier!