Jun 20, 2013

Your cell phone bill is How Much? Let's save some money folks

Words you will never hear me say: "I have the best cell phone plan". Words you will hear me say: "I have the best cell phone plan deal".
Friends often chide me for choosing T-mobile. Yes, my service is sometimes spotty. Yes, I sometimes drop calls. But yes, I pay half the price that all my friends do, and yes I will be staying with T-mobile. For the few times that difference shows up, I would rather stick with my plan and save.

For some of you that might seem like a ridiculous move. In our culture, its often the norm to use products that come with the works, and the most convenience packed in. The problem is, those services are very expensive. Convenience comes with a price, and frankly, its not in my budget. And it doesn't have to be in yours either.

Currently my cell phone bill is $38/month including 2 gigs of 4g data. Friends on the main cell phone providers are easily paying double that for the same services. It bewilders me that people will pay $30/month for data alone on some plans. Is it really worth it? Or rather, can you really afford it?

Being thrifty is all about saying "I don't absolutely need that upgrade". It would be nice if we all had infinite dollars to buy the nicest things all the time, but there wouldn't be blogs like this if that were true for everybody (sad thought, right?). Cuts need to be made somewhere, and I always say the best place to make cuts is in your recurring payments: cell phone plan, cable bills, insurance costs, etc. If you can free up your monthly income, that just means you have money free for whatever comes up.

Besides choosing T-mobile (no, sadly, I am not getting any kickbacks for this post), here are general ways you can save on your cell phone expenses:
1. Choose a less popular or local plan. I once had a cell phone rep say to me "those no name brands can't compete with us, so they choose to give you the world in minutes and data usage". Yes, thank you, and I'm happy to take the world and run with it.
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2. Consider losing your contract. If your cell company offers the choice, do some research. This means buying phones on craigslist or ebay, but trust me, you can get a much better deal than you're getting from your service provider anyway.
3. Buy your cell phone cases, screen covers, chargers, etc online. Do not buy it from your service provider, where you are paying like 5x's more than you have to. Do your research.
4. Join a family plan. And by the way, they don't actually have to be your family. You can join a family plan with friends, neighbors, boyfriend/girlfriends, or people on the street (not recommended). This means you share the cost of the minutes/texts/data and then you just add lines.
5. Think about forgoing your data plan. :loud gasp:

Take a second and see how much you pay for your cell phone on a yearly basis. If you feel comfortable paying that each year, then great. If it makes you uneasy, I'd encourage you to consider what conveniences you actually need and which ones you can go without.

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