I get a lot of questions from readers about how they can save money on their smart phone plans and internet service bills.
I don’t have a good answer for you on how to save money on your smart phone service because I don’t have one. So far, this has been a smart, money saving plan for me and for our monthly budget. It also helps me to be “unplugged” and not distracted with constantly checking email, my site statistics, how many followers I have on Twitter or Facebook fans.
I do have a TracFone, which I bought for $10.00 several years ago and I spend about $80.00/year on air time for that. I rarely have it on. (One time, I had it on and it rang for the first time in 6 months and I answered it. Guess what? It was the wrong number!) I broke down and got my TracFone when my kids were old enough to stay home by themselves and my husband no longer had an office job where he could be reached in case of an emergency. It’s also reassuring for me to have a cell phone in my cute handbag because I drive a 19-year-old car which is in great condition but it is still a 19-year-old car.
My husband doesn’t have a cell phone at all. Sometimes he borrows mine and every time he uses it, I have to give him a class on how to turn it on and what to do if (gasp!) it rings. He’d rather write 100 letters than talk on the phone so I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
Neither of our teens have cell phones. One teen had one for 6 months until he realized he couldn’t afford it (we, his parents, did not pay for his cell phone). When he went to cancel his cell phone account, the cell phone company gave him quite the run-around!
We still have a land line at our home. Yes, corded telephones, and one of them is even a dial phone. We also have high speed internet (with wi-fi) that our phone company provides us with, for a fee, of course. Supposedly, it’s “bundled” or whatever that means and we get a discount because our phone and internet are from the same company. It’s a difficult bill to understand but I think we get a good deal on it.
We don’t have cable TV but that can be bundled into the phone, internet service if we wanted to do it. We don’t want paid TV because watching DVDs from the library has worked out well for us.
I do have an iPod Touch that can be used with the wi-fi (which I got for free by opening a bank account at a new bank in my neighborhood). I really like it – so cute, so little – and it takes really good pictures. I use it for sharing pictures on Instagram and Twitter.
So, my non-answer answer is to check around. Compare prices and see if a competitor can offer you a better deal. Group your services together and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or a good customer credit. I always ask and many times receive one.
Readers, what are your suggestions for saving money on smart phone bills?
This is a great article about mobile devices and 2 lists by Peter Bregman over at Harvard Business Review. Thanks to Annie Kip, from Plenty Perfect, for sharing the article with me!
Go Gingham related links:
Technology free Sundays and more family rules that work for our family
How to save money each month
Strategic frugality: our life approach to living and time as a luxury
Please don’t make me text – just call me on the phone!
Meet internet girl – that’s me – easily distracted
Sew a cover for your iPod or Smart Phone
13 thoughts on “Saving Money on Smart Phone Bills”
I have a 5 year old phone too, that I rarely turn on. It’s just for emergencies, because, like you, I drive an older vehicle plus live and drive rurally. We’ve also agreed that our kids won’t have a cell phone unless they buy it and pay for it themselves when they are older. If needed, they can borrow mine or my husband’s. So far, it’s never been an issue.
I personally don’t want to be accessible to everyone at all times. I like being unplugged. We do have an iPad, but it was a bonus from my husbands work (free!). Our Internet, home phone and my basic cell plan are all bundled together for less than our home phone land line used to be (we switched to an Internet rocket hub).
Smart lady, Heidi! We have an iPad, too, that’s new to us. I set up a friend’s website and that was my payment. It’s an old one but still works. Love those ‘free’ electronics 😉
Don’t get one.
OMG we SPEND so much money on this “being connected” and TV and… here’s the run down…I almost don’t want to do this because then I going to remind myself what we are paying.. Cell phone (unlimted data everything-2 phones $186.00 a month ~ and here’s the kicker, we don’t even get cell service at our home in the country!) Land line $51.00 a month, Business line & fax $86.00 a month, Direct TV ~ we have to have satellite in the country $90 a month, Internet, again satellite…$75.00 a month (it’s not even high speed, and at the tasting room, phone, internet, TV $105 a month….is this CRAZY or what! Someone needs to bundle me! Ha-ha.
Cathy, I added your numbers up (I’m sure you did, too!) and that’s a lot of cash-o-la! What’s too bad is that your cell phones don’t even work at your home. I’m not really sure what to make of that? Is that normal for where you live? Thanks for comin’ clean with those monthly bills!!
I’m not very plugged in either. I won’t spend money to waste time. Not gonna do it, wouldn’t be prudent. Cable free, smart phone free…free is the operative word. 🙂
Dear Auntie M, that seems like a good mantra to have “I won’t spend money to waste time.” And, I like your operative word. Well put. 🙂
It is really a problem that so many things that used to be “wants’ or luxuries are now “needs.” I am as big an offender as anyone, but at least I think about it. I applaud your efforts to stay simple and make your own choices.
I use an iPhone (though not the coolest, expensive, squarish brand-new one) on a T-Mobile prepaid plan (they have the plan best suited to my needs: cheap as possible). I bought the phone on an auction site.
I—like your husband—hate talking on the phone, so use the $15/mo. unlimited text or 150 min. plan.
It took some ingenuity on my part researching and executing the “unlock” process, and since I don’t pay for a data plan I can only use internet by wi-fi, but it does leave me with the little magical device, and I am no longer toting both the iTouch and cell.
Very smart, Chory! I like the willingness to try a different route. Well done!
My own tips for saving money on smartphones are these:
1-get a google voice mail account-its free. We use it all the time. Its very good for just about everything. Not perfect, or when perfect, not perfect all the time, but very serviceable.
2-get a used cell phone that has wireless and that comes with a sim card. Do not get the other kind that doesn’t have the little chip in it. That is important. I bought my 3 year old iphone for 75 dollars.
3-unlock your cell phone.
4-buy a daily cell phone plan. I buy one for $100 and it lasts us a year.
5. Forward your cell phone to your voice mail account and your voice mail account to your phone depending on if you are going out, or staying in. Its simply a matter of pressing a button or two and takes seconds.
6-in my family, who ever goes out gets the cell phone. Who ever stays home, stays on the voice account.
7-because the phone has wireless, you can use any hotspot, like Starbucks to make and receive phone calls, free.
In the years we’ve been doing things this way, we’ve never been without a phone and we estimate we’ve saved nearly $2600 compared to what our friends spend.
These are great tips! Thank you. I will make note of these if we ever get a smart phone at our house.
Thank you for sharing.
I need my smart phone so I researched and found a new service that lowers your bills for you. Its called BillCutterz and they save you money on cell phone by negotiating with your provider like AT&T. In my case they saved me almost $50 each month on my family plan.
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