How I Saved $80 a month on my cellphone bill, and how you can too

*Update – Since this blog post I’ve gotten my bill even lower, down to $25 and then $10 and occasionally even $5 per month. Check out how I did it, here.


I’m serious. It’s possible, I’ve done it and it’s not that difficult. Read below and I’ll show you how to save $25, $50, or maybe even $80 EVERY MONTH.

The average individual’s cell phone bill is about $75-$80 each month. Most of you who have smart phones, (which is statistically almost all of you) are asking, “Only $75-$80? I’d LOVE to get my bill down to that!” In reality many people are paying upwards of $100 a month. In my case I was spending $130. I needed a way to lower my cell phone bill.

The first smartphone I ever got was a blackberry, and then after a few years the iphone. Most recently I had the iphone 4 with the unlimited talk, text and data package. The whole thing ran me over $100 and then with taxes and fees I was close to $130 each month. Wow. Think about that for a second, $130 a MONTH, more than $1,500 every year just to stay in touch with people. Check out the screenshot I saved from my credit card statement about a year ago. It pains me to remember.

lower my cell phone bill

 

Watch Your Spending

Some people may just not think about their bills that often, but I’d encourage you to examine them. Ask yourself where you can cut and how? Maybe you were like me and you realize, “Yea I really do need to cut the bill down, but there’s nowhere to cut.” I’m telling you there is. In my case my biggest hurdle, for probably close to a year was that I incorrectly assumed I needed a specific “Unlimited Plan.”

If you’ve paid attention to the mobile bidding wars you know that most companies have cut down or stopped altogether their “Unlimited data plans.” That was the situation with AT&T and my iphone. I had the unlimited data plan with talk, text and data and I knew I was “grandfathered in.” This meant that AT&T was no longer making this unlimited data plan available, BUT if you already had the plan they wouldn’t take it away fro you. I’ve talked to countless friends who refuse to even consider making a change because, “Then I’ll lose the data plan.”

 

You really don’t need the massive data plans.

But after spending $130 each month and starting to realize something had to change. I finally said enough was enough and I set about seeing if I could cut my bill down. I started running the numbers on my usage statement each month and figuring out just how much data I was actually using. Most mobile companies will let you purchase GB of data, 1 or 2 or 3, etc. After looking through the figures for a few months in a row, I realized that I wasn’t using anywhere near an “unlimited” amount of data. In fact every single month I was using 2GB or less, (except for one where I watched a ton of netflix on my phone which was silly because I had a laptop.) There was really no need for me to pay for all the data. I was literally throwing money away, paying for a product I didn’t need. But once I went off the grandfathered plan, I knew there was no going back. Did I dare risk it? Yes. $130 a month was too just too much to not try. I made the plunge.

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 3.58.20 PM

 

I called up AT&T and switched from the unlimited plan to one still with unlimited talk and text, but with 2GB or less.  Folks, 2GB is A LOT of data. And remember, every time you access a wi-fi spot, you can access that on your phone for FREE. It does not count as your data usage. “Are you sure you want to switch? You know once you switch you can’t get it back,” the service rep reminded me. I was sure it was worth the risk. And what was the result? Nothing fell on my head, nothing exploded and somehow my calls, texts and internet were still working. Amazing. And see my bill above?

The next month I beamed with satisfaction. I had experience the exact same service as the many month’s prior (minus my netflix splurge.) And there was never a second that I regretted making the change. I literally saw no change in anything and I was well within my data. I know some of you are thinking, “But my situation is different.” Maybe, but probably not. You probably don’t truly need to watch all those youtube videos or download 10 different versions of Angry Birds.

I would now be saving nearly $40 EVERY MONTH

And I’d have no measurable change. And I mean none. I called, texted and use the web just as much as I normally did. Folks the unlimited big data packages the large mobile companies sell you on is nothing short of fantastic marketing. You truly do not need. I know you think you do, believe me I probably spent a year convincing myself, “I’d love to switch but I don’t want to lose my grandfathered plan and I definitely need the unlimited data.” But I was wrong. I didn’t and you don’t either. Instead I based my needs on numbers instead of emotion, and I saved $38.90 a month. I was pretty excited that I found a way to lower my cell phone bill by so much.

Wait I thought you said you saved nearly $80??

Well actually I didn’t say, “nearly.” I saved MORE than $80 a month. Because after a few months I realized 90 bucks was still a heck of a lot to pay for a cell phone. Check out Part II, about how I cut my cell phone bill down by ANOTHER $40!

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6 Comments

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  2. May 30, 2014 / 10:01 am

    I recently did the same thing! I switched from Verizon at $160 a month for 2 phones to Net 10 at $90 a month for 2 phones. I had unlimited everything with Verizon, but they were going to take that away from me when I renewed. My plan with Net 10 also has unlimited, but after 3GB they slow down your speed. We have never gone over 3GB so I don’t know how much it would slow down. I was thinking about doing a post about this subject..…I still might. 🙂

    • Steve Bierfeldt
      May 30, 2014 / 10:19 am

      It’s crazy right? Thinking about how I used to spend $130 a month on my cell phone bill… Yikes.