How to Lower Your Smart Phone Bill

by Brandon Ackroyd - , Last Updated on October 6, 2014, Saving Money

Nearly all of us these days have a smart phone, and that means that we’re all getting monthly phone bills. However, you might be giving your mobile operator more than you should, or more than you’re happy with. There are ways that you can lower your mobile bill, sometimes quite significantly. So if you’re looking to save yourself some cash, then check out these ways of saving on your smart phone bill.

Having the Right Plan

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: by far the best way of saving on your phone bills is making sure that you have the right phone plan in the first place. You need to make sure that your monthly limits for calls, texts and data accurately reflect your actual usage. Don’t know your real usage? Check out old mobile bills, set your phone to count the amount of services that you’re using, or go to your operators online account service, and you should be able to find out this info.

Why is this so important? Well, if your plan is too big then you’re paying for services that you don’t use each month, an obvious waste of money. But if your plan is too small you’ll be paying extra each month for using extra services. And those extra payments won’t be the regular price per minute, either, they’ll be premium rates.

If you’re already signed up for a plan and discover that the limits aren’t right for you, you can always ask your mobile operator to downgrade or upgrade you. Most will, though some will charge a one off fee for doing so.

Using Data Wisely

Mobile data forms by far the most expensive part of your phone bill. And whilst cost per minute and cost per text rates are relatively similar amongst different operators, data prices vary widely. If you’re looking to lower your smart phone bill then minimising your data usage can be the fastest way of doing this.

Firstly, use WiFi whenever possible. WiFi data is not charged to your cell phone account, so you can use as much of it as you want (and you’ll probably get faster download speeds too). If you’ve got a home WiFi network, make sure your phone switches to it every time you walk through the door.

Then take a look at the apps that you’re using. Many apps and some services (such as email) eat up data in the background without you even realising that they’re doing it. Maps are a good example of this, since they might be using your data to update your location constantly, unless the app is actually closed down. You can usually control whether or not an app can use background data, or limit the number of times per day it does so, in the settings menu of the app or of your phone.

Lastly, consider downloading a free app like Onavo Extend, which will limit data usage and make sure that you’re not over stepping your limits.

Skip the Extras

There are a few of things that you might be paying for that really aren’t that necessary. Insurance, 4G and even mobile data might not actually be things that you really need, and so you can eliminate those charges from your bill.

Let’s deal with insurance first. Sure, mobile insurance might be a good thing, especially if you’re the kind of person that often breaks or loses phones. However, the insurance that you get from your mobile operator is likely to be much more expensive than other sources. If you really want that insurance then look into insuring your phone yourself, rather than doing it through your operator. Also, check your home contents insurance and the insurance that comes with your credit cards, as both of these often automatically include mobiles.

4G is pretty awesome, we’ll admit it. Those faster download speeds are great, especially for the impatient. However, 4G prices are a lot, lot higher than 3G prices, and may not be worth paying for. Plus, a lot of UK areas don’t have 4G coverage anyway. Unless there’s a real reason that you need 4G speeds, you’ll be better off paying for a cheaper 3G data plan.

Of course, you could always eliminate data altogether. For those that generally only go between work and home, and if both those places have a WiFi connection, then you might be able to skip the mobile data plan completely.

Read the Terms

Finally, you really need to read the small print in any contract that you sign. First of all, you might be made aware of hidden charges that you don’t even know about, and be able to budget accordingly. But mostly the reason you’ll want to do this is again down to that pesky mobile data.

Many of us have unlimited data contracts, which are pretty pricey to start with (and for another tip, check your data usage against data prices with your mobile operator and see if you can get a cheaper limited contract that would meet your needs instead). But these unlimited contracts aren’t always as unlimited as they seem.

True, some companies offer truly unlimited data, which if you’re a big data user will probably end up being cheaper. Some companies, on the other hand, offer “unlimited” data which in actuality has a fair usage policy. Usually written in very small print this fair usage policy will say that the operator has the right to cap data or charge more if they think that the customer is using more than his or her fair share.

These fair usage unlimited data plans can still be good deals, but you’ll need to keep a close eye on your account to make sure that you’re not being charged extra for violating the policy.

Smart phone bills can get pretty pricey, but if you’re on top of your options and control your phone usage, then there are plenty of ways that you can lower your smart phone bill!

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