Cell Phones

How I Saved $780 Per Year On My Cell Phone Bill

nexus 4 cell phoneOne 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 $780 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 $1,560 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.

The Phones

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 has 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.

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 that 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!

The Service

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.  A few months ago, 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 are good now.  If we do encounter issues, we don’t have any contracts and can switch to a different carrier.

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.

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.

ProviderNetwork Used
Boost MobileSprint
Cricket WirelessAT&T
Giv MobileAT&T
Net10 WirelessAT&T and T-Mobile
Page PlusVerizon
Red Pocket MobileAT&T
Republic WirelessWiFi and Sprint
Simple MobileMultiple
Straight TalkAT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon
TingSprint
TracfoneMultiple
Virgin MobileSprint
Walmart Family MobileT-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!

Try Republic Wireless Starting at $5/Month

Do you want to save money on your cell phone bill?  How about around $100 per month?  Customers of Republic Wireless can save money every month. Their plans start at $5 per month, going up to $40!  Learn more by reading the Republic Wireless review.
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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm an average guy who used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I know talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a Wordpress management company, along with three other blogs. They are Sprout Wealth, Eyes on the Dollar, and Empowered Shopper.

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40 Comments

  1. December 9, 2013 at 7:56 am — Reply

    Prepaid is the only way to go! Not only do they make sense from a contract standpoint, they are cheaper and don’t have any overages! Your data just “runs out”, you don’t have to worry about high prices of overage data!

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm — Reply

      That is true. You do have to remember that some of these services are not prepaid. Walmart family mobile is actually postpaid, but a lot cheaper.

  2. December 9, 2013 at 8:15 am — Reply

    As I think I’ve told you in the past, I went with Walmart Family Mobile as well. The savings have been great for both my wife and I and it’s just awesome to be able to cut down a monthly bill for something that I really do think is a necessity today. Worst case scenario you can always end your plan with Family Mobile, sell your cell phone, and start with someone else. I love the no-contract!

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm — Reply

      Nice work DC. Your switch was motivation for me to check it out.

  3. December 9, 2013 at 8:16 am — Reply

    We saved about the same amount when we went no-contract. You can’t argue with that kind of savings. :-)

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm — Reply

      I love the savings. It is awesome.

  4. December 9, 2013 at 9:40 am — Reply

    I agree that prepaid used to be a dirty word. I remember when we were on Tracfone and our service was just horrible, on multiple levels. But, it is obvious there have been some pretty solid upgrades since then. We’re looking forward to making the switch as well.

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm — Reply

      They have really done some major upgrades and they got deals with the bigger carriers in order to use their networks. That has really helped.

  5. December 9, 2013 at 11:02 am — Reply

    I switched to Republic Wireless a few months ago, though my wife stayed on Verizon, and we’re saving about $50 per month. If she switched too it would be another $60. So far the service has been good, though I’d like to upgrade the phone.

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm — Reply

      You can certainly save quite a bit. I know they were having problems with the switching from WiFi to cell service, but it appears they have fixed that. Is that only on the Moto X?

  6. December 9, 2013 at 11:47 am — Reply

    I couldn’t agree more that prepaid used to be a dirty word! We spend on average $4 per month on our cell phones using T-Mobile prepaid. We barely use them or we probably would get the Republic Wireless (or similar) plan, but for how little we use them, this is our best bet.

    We were even on NBC News here in Richmond talking about how we spend so little on cell phones, which was fun! A producer found our article and wanted to feature it (another one coming about travel rewards too..).

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm — Reply

      That is quite the amazing story Brad. My wife and I use our phones too much to get the price down to that much, but very inspiring.

  7. December 9, 2013 at 11:55 am — Reply

    We tried Straight Talk, but the service was very poor in our area. A minus of living in the boonies. I’m hoping in another couple of years, it will be better and we can switch.

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm — Reply

      Did you use regular Straight talk or their BYOP? They now have AT&T, which might work in your area. If not, you can get Verizon network service with Page Plus.

  8. December 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    That’s awesome you were able to find a plan for so cheap. I can’t wait until a lot more discount providers similar to Walmart come in and break up the monopoly these carriers have on cell phone costs.

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm — Reply

      I feel like there are more each and every year.

  9. December 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    Because I travel so much to so many different places, I need a plan that has A LOT of coverage. So far, Verizon still seems to be the best for that.

    • December 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm — Reply

      Hey Stefanie. Try Page Plus. They use the Verizon network, so you will get the same coverage at a much cheaper price!

  10. December 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm — Reply

    I absolutely do remember when prepaid was a dirty word. It certainly meant that you couldn’t get a contract with one of the big carriers. Now days, the big carriers are becoming more of a dirty word. :) Service and cell phone options have improved significantly and once you get past the initial upfront cost of a phone, you can really see the true savings. Great idea to look on ebay for used phones too.

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm — Reply

      The savings you get from switching to a lower cost provider can easily pay for the upfront cost of the phone. You will still be saving money.

  11. December 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    I think it’s great how many options are out there for cell phones right now…hopefully the “big” carriers will not shove their weight around and force smaller providers out. The important thing for people to do is to investigate all their options and pick the one that fits their needs the best!

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm — Reply

      You have a good point there Travis. I know that some of the carriers actually own a few of these lower cost providers. AT&T owns Aio Wireless in a roundabout way.

  12. December 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm — Reply

    I’m a little confused. I have T-Mobile with a year to go on a two year deal. I guess I’m stuck until then. Could I still use the T-Mobile network if I switched to Wal-Mart Family Mobile.

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      Hey Mike,

      Well, since you are in a contract with T-Mobile, then you would have to pay a cancellation fee. It might or might not be worth it. Once you are done, you should be able to bring your T-Mobile phone to Walmart Family Mobile and it would work. You can also do the same on Straight Talk.

  13. December 9, 2013 at 7:23 pm — Reply

    Excellent post Grayson. When my contract expires in March I am going prepaid. I think Walmart family mobile will probably be the way I go. NO MORE CONTRACTS!

    • December 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      Sounds like you have a plan in place Kyle. Good luck with it!

  14. December 10, 2013 at 12:00 am — Reply

    Wow, that’s a good chunk of money! I don’t think we would be able to save quite that much here in Canada but it gives me some hope

    • December 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm — Reply

      I don’t know of how many discount providers you have there, but you should certainly check around.

  15. December 10, 2013 at 1:07 am — Reply

    As you know Grayson, I wrote about pre-paid phones as well this morning– As this is the route we ended up going for my 13 year old son’s first phone.

    Seeing how much money you saved with Straight Talk, I am for sure going to look into doing this myself once my contract with big VZ is up.

    • December 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm — Reply

      While Straight Talk is cheaper, you can still get Verizon service with Page Plus. I know that is what you go for your son.

  16. December 11, 2013 at 12:16 am — Reply

    Grayson, did you break your contract with Verizon or was it already up? I am FED UP with what I’m paying for Verizon and would like to go to Republic Wireless. If you did break your contract what are your suggestions? Thanks for the great post!

    • December 11, 2013 at 12:24 am — Reply

      Hey Michelle,

      My contract had been up with them for a few months, so I didn’t break it. I would ask them how much the fee will be. I believe it is pro-rated depending on how much time you have left. You can save some serious money with Republic. My Republic Wireless review is going live tomorrow and shows their great plan prices. If you choose their $25/month plan, then you are only paying $300 per year. Depending on what you are paying for Verizon, you can probably buy the Moto X and pay the cancellation fee, while still coming out on top.

  17. December 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm — Reply

    I’d like to cut down on my cell phone bill and have looked into the prepaid plans, but my problem is that I travel a good amount and can’t find an option that will suit me in that regard.

    • December 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm — Reply

      Have you looked at Page Plus? They use the Verizon network, but it costs less.

  18. Michael Gillin
    December 14, 2013 at 11:32 am — Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. The new Moto G has the potential of putting even $ back in the consumers wallet with No Contract. Take a look at this cost saving analysis.
    http://35orless.com/blogs/news/10781113-moto-g-this-changes-everything#b

    • December 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm — Reply

      I have seen some info about the Moto G. It comes with such a great price!

  19. Jerom
    July 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm — Reply

    I think the most common way to save is to give your wireless service provider a call after your contract expired.
    The problem is that all of us just forget to do so, and until we found out we lost great deal of money!

    I recently moved to Cricket and reduced my price to $50 per month (from AT&T paying $150)!

    • July 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm — Reply

      The most common way to save USED to be calling up the provider. They now have a strangle-hold on their areas, so they are less likely to negotiate.

      I recently moved to Cricket and have really enjoyed it.

      • Jerom
        July 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm — Reply

        Why do you say its not working? I am calling Comcast for years now, every few month getting new deal for my Internet and Landline. Same works for XM Radio.

        The main problem is that all of us just forget to call them, and until we find out we lost great deal of money!
        I may suggest free web tool I am using http://www.Remindme2save.com,
        The tool helps me keep track of my monthly payments to my service providers (Cox internet and DirectTV), when my promotion expires it will remind me to call them with the best promotion out there.

        • July 22, 2014 at 11:46 pm — Reply

          I say it is not working because it doesn’t work with Time Warner or many other services. I know it also doesn’t always work with Comcast. The main problem is not that we aren’t calling. I already have reminders to let me know when to call. Time Warner even sends out a note to tell you your new rate. While you can call and might get a better rate, they know you have no where to turn. You used to be able to get the best rate just by saying you will cancel. Now, they will just cancel your service and move on. The calling to get a better rate game is slowly going away.

          How do I know? I have spoken with hundreds of people where this has happened to them. The process of getting the best rate is shifting and the cable companies know they have you locked in. There are no other options in most areas around the country.

          While the tool you use would be great and can be great, it doesn’t help those where there are no competitors. I just got an email from a reader where their cable promotion was about to expire. Time Warner told them if they called right then, they could give them another promotional rate, but it would still be higher than what they were paying. After much back and forth, TWC didn’t move on the offer. They said take it or leave it.

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