Everyone enjoys saving money. The question is how to cut expenses enough to make those savings last from month to month and year to year. Household expenses are categorized as either “fixed” or “variable.” Fixed costs are things that never, or rarely, change in amount, like your mortgage/rent payment, car payment, or health insurance premium.
Variable expenses are the ones you can save money on because they vary based on how much you use the service, like telephone bills, money you spend on groceries, your clothing budget, and your vacation spending.
Considering Your Cell Phone Bill Average
One of the easiest variable expenses you can save on, because you have the power to lower your usage from month to month, is your cell phone bill. Have you ever stopped to consider the ways you can save on cell phone service? The first thing to do is calculate your cell phone bill average on a typical month. This is pretty easy to do because you simply add up all your past monthly cell phone expenses and divide by the number of months.
For example, if you’ve had a cell phone for just three months, and the monthly bills were $35, $55, and $30, then your average bill is 120 (35+55+30) divided by three months, or 120/3, or $40. When you know your average use of any variable expense, it’s easy to figure out whether any given month’s bill is above or below the average. That way, you always know where you stand and whether you’re spending more or less than usual.
Saving on Your Cell Phone Bill
No matter what kind of cell phone service plans you have, it’s normally pretty easy to cut the costs down. But you need to make a plan and stick to it in order to see results over the long term. Some techniques listed below will cut your cell phone bill immediately while others might require a bit of practice on your part before they work to the full extent.
What’s the bottom line? If you make an attempt to try each of the methods on the list, you can see some major reductions on your cell phone costs and pocket the savings. There are nine different ways that consumers can reduce the amount of money they spend on their cell phone bill each month:
- Ask About Special Discounts: Many carriers offer discounts to veterans, new clients, active military members, senior citizens, and more. Some of these discounts are advertised and some aren’t, so you need to ask the provider what’s available for you. Many consumers are surprised to learn that they qualify for one or more special discounts and are able to cut a significant amount from their monthly bill just by asking.
- Shop Around for a Low-Cost Provider: There’s plenty of competition in the market, so it makes good sense to do comparison shopping. Be careful to get specific information about the kinds of plans you’re interested in. If one carrier, for example, offers low rates on weekends but you don’t use your phone much during weekends, then there wouldn’t be an advantage for you with a plan like that. Shop for a provider that can deliver low-cost service based on how you use your phone.
- Consider a Family Plan: Carriers have recently been offering very generous family plans for customers who want to add a spouse, child, or other family member to their main phone plan. In most cases, you can save between 5 and 15 percent on a typical family phone plan.
- Use Auto-Pay: All the major carriers offer small discounts when you sign up to pay your monthly bill automatically, directly from your bank account.
- Change Plans: Ask your carrier about the different plans you can sign up for. Sometimes you’ll be able to find one that is a perfect match for your usage habits, like free weekend minutes, off-peak plans, and others.
- Take Advantage of WiFi When Possible: There’s no need to always use your own internet connection when WiFi is available at coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, and libraries. Cutting the number of connectivity minutes will save on data charges.
- Set a Call Timer: Nearly every cell phone has a built-in timer function so you can see exactly how many minutes each call lasts. Consider limiting non-essential calls to 10 minutes. This is an easy way to substantially reduce the minutes you use per month.
- Cut Out Extras You Don’t Need: Study your phone bill. There’s a lot of useful information on it, like whether you’re paying for emergency roadside assistance, enhanced voicemail, unlimited data, and extra blocks of minutes. If you’re paying for things you don’t want or don’t need, contact the carrier and tell them to remove those charges from your bill by opting out of the extras you aren’t interested in.
- Get “Free” Phone Insurance: If you are currently paying for insurance on your phone, consider cancelling it. You can usually “self-insure” by setting aside a lower amount each month into an account for buying another phone if yours is lost, stolen, broken, or stops working. Phone insurance is over-priced and most people can do without it.
Putting It All Together
Depending on the phone plan you currently have, you might not be able to use every item on the list. However, people discover that they can use most of the techniques for cost-cutting. You’ll likely also notice that some of the methods work better than others. This all depends on your usage habits, how much you depend on your phone for social life or you job, and how much you wish to save.
The fact is that virtually anyone with a cell phone can save a decent amount of money every month and thus have save additional cash left over to put into savings, spend on something else, or add to a retirement account. When it comes to deciding what to do with the money you save, the choice is yours.