5 steps to a lower cellphone bill

With sophisticated smartphones and expensive data plans, it's more important than ever to rein in your family's cell phone bills.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 18, 2011 12:53PM

This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Money Talks News.


MoneyTalksNews on MSN MoneyOver the past 20 years, our mobile phones have grown smaller as our bills have grown larger. These bills are taking up so much of our budget, it's easy for a small family to spend more on wireless services than they do on electricity.


While Money Talks News already gave you 5 Ways to Save on Your Cellphone Bill, here are five more easy steps to cut your costs ...


1. Go in as a family

Signing up for a family plan helps cut your bill in two ways.


First, additional phones cost a fraction of the first one or two, reducing your average cost. For example, T-Mobile offers an individual plan with 500 minutes of talk for $40, while a family plan with two phones costs $60, with up to three additional lines for $10 each.


Second, family members tend to call each other frequently. Since calls among plan members don't typically count against the minutes purchased, a family on the same plan can get away with purchasing fewer total minutes. Remember, family plans aren't limited to those related to you or even members of your household -- many plans allow you to include family living out of state or even friends.


2. Sell your upgrades

Most providers offer their customers a free or highly discounted new phone when they renew their contract. But how much do you really need a new phone every two years?


Instead of using the new phone or declining the upgrade, order the latest, greatest new thing and put it straight on eBay. I've sold discounted phones for $200 more than I paid, netting the four people on our family plan more than $800.


You can even do better. Verizon is selling the new iPhone 4s for $199 when you start a new plan or renew an existing one. This model is now selling on eBay for $650. I'm even able to replace the phone I do use for a fraction of these profits, as long as I don't choose the latest and greatest model.


3. Get a group or corporate discount

When looking for savings, always ask about which companies and groups are offered discounts. You'd be surprised how many organizations receive a group discount of 5 or 10 percent. So long as one person on your plan is a member at any time, the whole plan will be eligible. The best part is that once you qualify, you are likely to receive the discount in perpetuity. For example, I'm still receiving a discount given to employees of a major company that I left more than four years ago. Post continues below.

4. Go to eBay for accessories

One of the reasons providers love to offer customers new phones is that they have a good chance of selling you their overpriced accessories. The car chargers, ear pieces, and protective covers often cost $20 or more - and can usually be found for less than $5 on eBay. If you need your accessories any time soon, be sure to select only items sold from the United States, since many Asian sellers can take more than a month to deliver their product.


5. Use a rewards credit card to pay your bills

I receive 5% off all my wireless bills, including new phone purchases, because I charge everything to my American Express SimplyCash Business Card. Now, 5% may not sound like much, but that's on top of all other discounts, so it adds up. Several versions of Chase's Ink card for business also offer five times the points when used to pay for wireless bills.


Wireless service is important, but it shouldn't be your most expensive utility bill!


More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:


Nov 18, 2011 7:18PM
Go to Wal Mart.. Plans start at $30 for 1000mins. NO CONTRACT B.S. They have phones that do all the things that any other carrier offers. Why run with the ignorant heards.
Nov 18, 2011 5:43PM
Why pay extra every month for two years to use the latest, greatest, and fastest phone if you sell it and stick with your old phone?
Nov 18, 2011 8:04PM
Agreed Joel, I've been using Straight Talk from Walmart for a couple years now and it is the best deal in wireless hands down.  If you live in an area where Sprint is better you can do similar with the Virgin Mobile paygo program.  I even get 50 mb of data on my straight talk so I can check sports scores etc...  Unless you are a total wireless snob who has to have the latest and greatest you can save on a wally world special.
Nov 19, 2011 9:23AM
I have a  V contract. I pay almost 200. a month for my son to have an I Phone, I have a shtty flip phone. I need to ditch their service when my contract expires but they wont let me because my son cant keep his contract becasue his credit is not good. After two years on my line (He extended his when he upgraded to this stupid I Phone), shouldnt I have a right to take my son off my line regardless of his credit. I mean I love him dearly, but I cant afford his expensive tastes and if one were to be realistic, in reality, let us say it would take ten years for his credit to clean up...can Verizon really make me responsible for ALL that time?
Nov 19, 2011 2:49AM
"Verizon is selling the new iPhone for $199 when you start a new plan or renew an existing one. This model is now selling on eBay for $650."

Guess what, einstein:

When you sign the contract for the upgrade, you end up paying that $400 that you "saved" over the course of the next two years. 

Without the upgrade, you qualify for cheaper monthly plans.  But WITH the upgrade, you get a "discounted" phone, but you end up paying the full price of the phone in the long run. 

Your actual savings? zero.  And they locked you into another 2-year contract, without a newer phone to show for it.

And yes, some poeple do need a new phone every two years, because smartphone technology changes so fast...most 2009 phones and some 2010 phones are already obsolete, or will be so by the end of 2012.
Dec 30, 2011 1:37PM
It's terrible Verizon is the most expensive in cell service and now they want to charge more fees. I wish they would offer unlimited talk time like some of the prepaid plans. They took away free holidays, all they see is money money money!!!!!!!! I can't  began to think how much the world is about the rich getting richer with all these fees. The Verizon workers aren't going to get raises from them fees. The BIG CEO with eat all the benefits. :{
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.