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3 secrets to a cheaper phone bill

3 secrets to a cheaper phone bill
© Dave Bredeson | Dreamstime.com

Does your monthly cellphone bill make you cringe? Considering the average bill hovers around $80 a month for a single line, it's understandable if you find wireless charges unnerving.

The scenario is typical. You visit your local wireless store and the sales rep slick-talks you into the "best" plan, which often results in a monthly total you didn’t quite comprehend when you signed up for the service.

You can take control if you find yourself in this situation. Here are a few secrets to lowering your wireless bill, which will help lessen the stress of opening your monthly statement.

Plenty of ways to lower your cellphone bill

Financial experts and consumers alike share ways to save money on your phone bill. A few suggestions from money man Dave Ramsey include:

  • Use Wi-Fi whenever it’s available
  • Keep your phone longer
  • Sign up for paperless billing

While these ideas, and others — such as limiting your background data use (blame Background App Refresh) and buying secondhand, no-contract phones — make sense and prove to be of benefit in lowering your phone costs, there are a few additional secrets to reducing your bill.

Note: Offer/coverage may not be available everywhere and may be subjected to credit and activation fees. A contract may be required. Rates may not include taxes, surcharges or roaming fees. Other rules and restrictions may apply. Visit the provider’s website or contact customer support for complete details.

Go with a kids or seniors cell plan

Breaking up the family may be a good thing — at least for your wireless bill. If you have children or parents (seniors) on your account, consider switching them out to their own plan(s). One inexpensive option for the kids is an Xfinity mobile plan.

If you choose to go with Xfinity’s mobile unlimited plan for $45 a month, you can designate 1 GB per child for $12. Both lines have unlimited minutes and texts, so there would be no worry of your children exceeding an allotted number. This plan is only available for Xfinity internet subscribers.

Not an Xfinity customer? Verizon offers a JustKids plan for as low as $25 per line (for five lines) per month. Features include unlimited text and talk (up to 20 contacts per line) with 5 GB of data. As a parent, you have controls to choose your child’s contacts, block inappropriate content, limit access to certain apps and track your child's location.

If you are on a tight budget, check out the prepaid option at Tello. This provider has a package with unlimited minutes and texts, and 1 GB of data for $10 per month for one line. There is no contract and you can change to another Tello plan any time at no cost.

In addition, Tello offers free domestic long-distance and no roaming charges within the U.S. Although this provider is not familiar to most, it runs on the Sprint Network, ensuring you great coverage.

Do you have seniors in your family that are on your current phone bill? If so, you may want to consider a senior plan as large carriers, including T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, offer discounted packages for those over 55. AT&T’s senior plan is designed for those over 65.

Depending on the carrier, the number of lines and package selection, you could get a single line for as little as $40 per month. If you would like an in-depth comparison between the top options, check out our recent article on senior plans.

Go with a smaller company

Do you know smaller wireless carriers use the networks of the four major providers? This practice is known as piggybacking. What does it mean for you? Smaller companies don’t have to invest in a network infrastructure, which results in excellent coverage areas at lower costs.

The number of alternatives has grown over the last few years to include Virgin, Boost, Cricket (prepaid carrier) and Visible Mobile, which offers one unlimited plan at $40 a month for a single line. Like the major carriers, you will find the latest phones along with a variety of packages to meet your needs.

Take a good look at your bill

It’s easy to overlook some details on your wireless bill; however, if you break down your statement, you may find items and services you no longer use and can eliminate. You may want to consider removing extras or features such as:

  • Device insurance (especially if your device is paid off)
  • Enhanced voicemail
  • Emergency roadside assistance
  • 411 Search

Bonus Tip: Don't go over your data plan. Set up alerts if you don't have an unlimited package. If you regularly go over your allotted data plan, it may be cheaper to simply switch to unlimited.

While you may not celebrate the reception of your newest wireless bill, after using these tips to help put money back in your pocket, perhaps it'll at least earn a smile.

Is your iPhone charging slower than it used to? This is the reason why

If you just purchased an iPhone 11, congratulations! It appears that it was money well spent. Consumer Reports states that for the first time in recent years, Apple beat out Samsung and Google in its latest smartphone ratings. The iPhone 11 Pro Max came in first place. But all is not rosy in iPhone land. It seems wireless charging speeds are slower than they used to be. We'll tell you why.

Tap or click here to learn the reason.

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