10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

My cell phone bill is one of the larger utility bills I pay. I use cheaper cable TV alternatives and now pay just $12 monthly to watch TV.

With four teenagers in the house, I assumed I was stuck paying a giant cell phone bill. However, I found a way to cut costs. I’ve compiled the following list of 10 ways to lower your cell phone bill. You can try one, two, or more of these money-saving ideas. The best part is that most options won’t affect your cell phone services.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Switch Carriers
    1. Mint Mobile
    2. Visible
    3. Tello Mobile
  2. 2. Get on the Right Plan
  3. 3. Skip the Phone Upgrade
  4. 4. Sign up For Autopay
  5. 5. Reassess Your Cell Phone Insurance Plan
  6. 6. Join a Family Plan
  7. 7. Use Wifi When Available
  8. 8. Ask for a Better Deal
  9. 9. Join a Bill Trimming Service
  10. 10. Go Minimalist 
  11. FAQs
  12. Final Thoughts

1. Switch Carriers

Switching mobile carriers doesn’t always mean lower-quality cell service. In fact, some discount mobile carriers are owned by the largest carriers: T-Mobile and Verizon.

In addition, most discount mobile carriers use big-name networks to connect anyway. Here are three discount mobile carriers that may be able to save you money.

Mint Mobile

mint mobile logo

Mint Mobile has been offering discount cell phone plans since 2015 and was acquired by T-Mobile in 2023. 

The carrier offers four different plans: 

  • 5GB of data for $15 per month
  • 15GB of data for $20 per month
  • 20GB of data for $25 per month
  • Unlimited data for $30 per month

Mint Mobile also offers family plans for even deeper discounts. For more information, check out our Mint Mobile review.

Get Started with Mint Mobile

Visible

visible logo

Visible is a discount cell phone carrier that is owned by Verizon. This carrier has just two affordable plans:

  • Unlimited talk, text, 5G/4G LTE, and hotspot for $25 per month, or $275 if you pay annually
  • Unlimited talk, text, 5G Ultra, and hotspot for $45 per month, or $395 if you pay annually

Learn more in our full Visible review.

Get Started with Visible

Tello Mobile

tello logo 2024

Tello Mobile is an independent discount carrier operating on the T-Mobile network. The carrier offers a “build your own” phone plan system with as little as 0 GB of monthly data.

For instance, you can get a talk-only plan with no data and no text minutes for just $5 per month. Or you can get unlimited data and unlimited talk and text for just $25 per month.

Learn more in our full Tello review.

Get Started with Tello

2. Get on the Right Plan

If you’re not interested in switching to a different service provider, you may be able to save money on your phone bill by ensuring you have the right plan for your usage.

Start by reviewing your monthly phone bill. How much data are you using? Do you regularly exceed your data limits? Or is your data usage significantly less than what your plan allows for?

Check to see if your carrier offers a more suitable plan for your usage. If so, contact them and make the switch.

Related: How to Lower Your AT&T Cellphone Bill

3. Skip the Phone Upgrade

Most wireless carriers make a habit of offering phone upgrades every few months. They’ll send you an ad with a shiny new phone and offer you a discounted “sale” price. 

Your carrier may even offer “affordable” monthly payments on the upgraded phone. Don’t fall for the temptation of new and shiny, especially if your current phone is working just fine. 

Instead, use your current phone as long as you can. Don’t feel like you’re missing out on bells and whistles; the novelty wears off very quickly.

Keep your financial goals in mind and remind yourself how much faster you’ll reach them if you don’t upgrade to a new phone.

4. Sign up For Autopay

Almost all cell phone carriers offer a discount if you sign up to have your bill paid via autopay. In fact, you may be able to save 5%, 10% or more. Using autopay can also make budgeting easier by ensuring you’re not late with your bills.

5. Reassess Your Cell Phone Insurance Plan

Does your phone plan include an optional insurance policy? If so, consider canceling the insurance. 

If you’re worried about losing or damaging your phone, start setting a few dollars aside each month for a replacement. That way, you’ll have the cash to buy another phone when needed. 

Also, check your credit card. Many cards include cell phone insurance if you use it to pay your bill.

Mastercard World Elite products are the most likely to offer free cell phone protection of up to $800 per claim (a $50 deductible applies) against theft or damage when charging your monthly phone bill to your credit card.

Another option is the Chase Freedom Flex. It offers $800 in coverage per claim, a $50 deductible. It has a $1,000 per year limit.

Finally, your homeowner’s insurance or renters insurance policy may cover some claims too. 

Know, too, that most phone accidents are avoidable. Purchase a durable case and screen protector, and take special care not to damage or lose your phone so it has a better chance of lasting longer. 

6. Join a Family Plan

Having more than one person on your phone plan is another way to lower your cell phone bill. For this reason, check into family plans if you live in a multi-family member household.

If you don’t, discuss joining a family plan with trusted family members or friends. You can often sign up for a carrier’s family plan even if you and the others on your plan don’t live in the same house.

Be sure to set clear guidelines about how a family plan will be paid for, especially if you’re joining with friends, adult family members, or those who don’t live in the same household.

Related: 8 Cheapest Family Cell Phone Plans

7. Use Wifi When Available

Nowadays, most employers and retailers offer free Wi-Fi services, which means you can use wifi almost everywhere you go.

Use it when available, and save your data for when you have no other options. Or, decide not to use your phone where Wi-Fi isn’t available unless it’s an urgent matter.

See if your efforts help you reduce your data usage. Then, consider switching to a cheaper plan with less available data. 

8. Ask for a Better Deal

It never hurts to call your cell phone carrier and ask for a better deal. Before you call, check online to find out what competitors are offering if you switch.

Once you’ve found a great deal, call your carrier and politely explain that you’re seeing a better deal and would like information about canceling your service. 

Since customer service reps are often trained to give discounts to customers who want to cancel, you might automatically be offered a better deal. If not, tell them you’d like to stay with their company and ask for a better deal.

9. Join a Bill Trimming Service

Have you ever used a bill negotiation service like OneMain Trim? It’s one of several AI apps that can save you money with little to no effort.

When you link cards and accounts to the app, OneMain Trim quietly works in the background, searching for monthly, annual, or other subscriptions. The app then asks you to keep the subscription.

If you don’t, OneMain Trim will cancel the subscription on your behalf. And if you want to keep the subscription, OneMain Trim will work to negotiate a better price.

OneMain Trim doesn’t charge any monthly or annual fees. However, it charges a yearly fee of 15% of any money it saves you. If there are no savings, there is no cost to you. 

10. Go Minimalist 

Finally, you can save big by taking a minimalist approach to your phone. Instead of paying to access every possible feature, consider what is absolutely essential and what you could do without.

For instance, do you need the nicest cameras or the most memory? Can you live with a slightly smaller screen? The fewer bells and whistles your phone has, the less you’ll spend on it. Once you’ve settled on a phone, choose the cheapest plan that suits your needs.

FAQs

Are discount cell phone carriers worth it? 

Discount carriers often offer service equal to the full-price carriers. Your best bet is to read online reviews and see what quality of service others are experiencing with discount carriers. Also, make sure the discount carrier offers solid coverage in your area.

Can I keep my current phone number if I switch carriers?

Most services allow you to keep your current phone number when you switch cell phone service carriers. However, if you want to keep your number, always ask before you sign up with a new carrier.

How can I be sure the used phone I purchased will work with my carrier?

Before you purchase a used cell phone, ensure that it’s unlocked. Locked phones are tied to a single carrier, while unlocked cell phones can be used at multiple carriers. Keep in mind that carriers usually only work with select types of phones, too. 

Does my phone have to be paid off before I switch carriers?

No, your phone doesn’t have to be paid off before you switch carriers. That said, know how much you’ll pay in fees and interest if you leave your carrier before your phone is fully paid. Your carrier will likely penalize you financially if you leave before paying for your phone.

Final Thoughts

For many, knowing how to lower a cell phone bill is a big step toward staying on budget and progressing with your financial goals. And, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to do it. Choose the phone and the phone plan that best fits your needs, and watch your bank account grow.

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About Laurie Blank

Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate.

She's a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years.

She shares powerful insights on her blog, Great Passive Income Ideas, that will show you how you can create passive income sources of your own.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Bill Smith says

    Can you do a story about how to cut your cable tv service and even your wireless/wifi service to go to a better rate but not to lose your email address? Thank you for all your tips, very good tips and advice.

    • Jim Wang says

      Hi Bill – unfortunately, if you use your email through your provider, you have to keep using them or you will lose that email address. There is no way around it.

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