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How to Keep Your Sanity When Shopping for a Cell Phone Plan


Are you getting the best deal on your cell phone? Did you ever take the time to compare other companies or do you just pay your phone bill because you don’t want to take the time to shop around? I am one of those people. I love to save money but I can never get it together in time for when my plan renews, so for the last decade I have had the same cell phone carrier. Does that sound familiar?

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In the past, if you wanted to compare plans you would have to go online or call each carrier. It gets confusing because some carriers offer unlimited talk, text and data and others don’t. It was time consuming to try and figure out what plan was cheapest. That was before the  Wall Street Journal’s Wireless Savings Calculator. You fill in the number of phone lines you need, how many minutes, if you want unlimited text, the amount of data and it magically calculates the estimate of what you would pay with each provider. It takes about a minute. Adjust your requirements and you can see where you can save or what provider may be best for you. It then tells you what the plan it suggested for you is called so you know exactly what to ask for. Easy peasy!

How Accurate is the Tool?

When I plugged in my current plan and what our plan offers, it was exactly what I pay (before my discounts, taxes and other charges). What I learned from the tool is that I need to look at other cell plans for our family because I can save enough in two years for a Disney World Vacation (or at least a day or two there). I would suggest plugging in what your plan currently has and then adjusting the numbers to what you really need. Look at your bill. Do you have hundreds of unused minutes on your family plan? Do you only get a handful of text messages? Adjust the tool to what you actually use and see if there is a significant savings to your plan or maybe through another cell provider.

Are There Other Ways I Can Save On My Wireless Bill?

Here are some other tips on how to save on your cell phone bill – Check with your employer to see if they participate in a discount program with a specific carrier. Some larger companies offer these discounts. We save 25% on our phone bill each month because my husbands company offers a discount plan. Also, if you are a volunteer in the community, like a firefighter or EMT, some of those organizations offer cell phone discounts as well.

If you and your significant other have separate plans, you may be able to save by consolidating to a family plan. Family plans generally have a small fee for each line added and you share minutes between the phones. The more family members you find to go in, the cheaper your bill gets.

Don’t pay for overages. Set up alerts or monitor your plan to make sure that you aren’t close to your monthly limits. It’s cheaper to upgrade a plan for a few dollars more per month than to pay hundreds in overages. For people who use data, get in the habit of running your cell phone off of WiFi whenever possible. Most people have WiFi at home or at their work, so there is no need to be using your data minutes when you can use the WiFi that is available.

Do you have any tips to saving money on your cell phone bill? What do you think about the Wall Street Journal Cell Phone Calculator? Share with us in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Strawbleu™