One way to achieve financial independence (FI) faster is by optimizing your expenses. First, you cut the expenses you don’t value. Then, you work on reducing the expenses you do value.
One service most people won’t go without is their cell phone service. However, it’s possible to save money both on your cell phone and on your cell phone bill without giving up much, if any, of the value you receive from your cell phone service.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to cut your recurring cell phone bill to achieve major lifetime savings and reach FI faster.
Reconsider your phone
I remember I used to get my cell phone for free by signing a two year contract with my cell phone service provider. Technically, the price of the phone was baked into the two year contract, but the company didn’t offer better rates for not signing a contract. It simply made sense to upgrade my phone every two years.
Within the last few years, cell phone service providers moved away from these contracts because smartphone prices skyrocketed. Now, cell phone service providers either make you purchase your cell phone outright, lease your cell phone from the company or purchase your phone on a monthly payment plan.
The best way to cut your cell phone device cost is by purchasing a cell phone that is a couple of generations out of date. For instance, consider buying the iPhone 7 instead of the iPhone X. It could save you hundreds of dollars. If you don’t want to give up the latest technology, consider upgrading your phone less often. Take care of your phone and make it last for two or three cycles rather than upgrading every year.
Finally, consider buying a non-premium phone. While Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhones are typically considered the top-of-the-line phones, other cell phone manufacturers make great hardware that can accomplish many of the same things for hundreds of dollars less. Personally, I use a Motorola G5S Plus which was less than $250.
Reconsider your monthly plan
After you evaluate money saving moves you can make with your device, it’s time to take a look at your monthly plan.
Do you currently need the plan you’re signed up for? Some people sign up for unlimited data plans but hardly use any data because they’re always on WiFi. If that’s you, see if downgrading to a smaller data plan could save you money.
If you’re a light cell phone user in general, consider switching to a prepaid plan that only charges you for the minutes, texts, and data you use. However, if you’re always getting charged overage fees, consider switching to an unlimited plan that meets your needs if it will cut your bill down after you quit paying overage fees.
Negotiate your monthly plan rate
If you’re happy with your current cell phone plan and the amount of minutes, texts, and data you get, you should still take a look at your plan.
Over the last few years, there has been a major war to take customers away from their current cell phone providers. This has resulted in lower prices for new customers.
However, prices for current customers usually aren’t reduced unless you ask for the lower price. Call your provider to see if a cheaper plan offering the same benefits is available. You may be surprised to hear you’ve been overpaying.
Have someone else negotiate for you
Do you hate negotiating with companies? No one likes calling and talking to call center representatives, so you definitely aren’t alone. If you’d rather pay someone else to see if they can lower your cell phone bill for you without lowering the service you get, consider using a service like Bill Fixers.
Bill Fixers will negotiate your cell phone bill for you on your behalf in exchange for half of the first year savings they secure. Bill Fixers’ business is negotiating, so they know the best offers out there and when to push a call center representative for a better deal.
If you know you won’t call to negotiate, using Bill Fixers is a no-brainer. If they can’t secure savings, you don’t pay anything.
Reconsider your carrier
Want to save the most money possible? Consider switching cell phone carriers. While you may be able to save some money switching from one of the big four carriers to another, often the best savings come by switching to an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator).
MVNOs usually rent network capacity from one or more of the big four networks and offer prepaid or other types of plans at a lower cost. Some MVNOs offer special features, too. Boost Mobile, Republic Wireless, and Google FI are all MVNOs.
If you’re happy with your current cell coverage, look for an MVNO that uses the same network but offers a plan that better suits your needs in terms of minutes, texts and data as well as price.
Start saving today
Saving money on your cell phone bill isn’t hard if you haven’t been paying attention to getting the best possible deal over the last few years.
Figure out where you’re willing to cut back or call up to negotiate your cell phone plan and start saving today. Then, invest that money. You’ll reach FI even faster thanks to the reduced recurring expense.