Frugal Tips: Slash Your Cell Phone Bill

By on December 12, 2012 No Comments

In your quest to be debt-free, cutbacks and sacrifices are a necessity.  When it comes to cell phones, many people overpay for the service they’re getting by remaining trapped in contracts they no longer need.

Here are 6 ways to slash your cell phone bill for you and your family.

Do You Even Need A Cell Phone?

No, seriously.  While most people assume that a cell phone is as essential to life as water, the truth is many people lead perfectly normal lives without one.  It’s a big step, but big steps lead to big payoffs.  One thing is for sure – giving up your phone would certainly motivate you to get out of debt faster – and when you do, you’ll never feel guilty for buying that new phone when it comes out.

Check Your Contract

Cell phone companies lock people into contracts because if they didn’t no one would stick around.  As more and more competition is introduced to the Canadian market, your provider is likely offering more competitive deals than when you originally signed up.

Take a look at your contract and its terms and see if there’s a more suitable plan available that you can switch to.

While you’re checking your current plan, see if there are any features you’re paying for that you don’t need.  Do all your friends send a text rather than leaving a voicemail?  Cancel your voicemail and save a few bucks a month.

Skip The Data

Having a data plan on your phone is fantastic.  Constant email, access to movie and restaurant reviews while you’re out, driving directions, and more – it really is great.  What’s also great is the number of stores that now offer free Wi-Fi.  Ever around a Starbucks when you’re out?  Every one of them has free Wi-Fi.  Cancelling your data plan and using Wi-Fi when you’re out can save you a lot of money, and you’d be amazed how little downtime you’ll have between being home, at work, and near a Starbucks or anywhere else that offers Wi-Fi.

Call With Skype

If you ever have an issue with going over your monthly minutes or accruing long distance charges, consider using Skype to call.  A Skype app is available for Android and Apple phones.  For the low monthly fee of $2.99 you get unlimited calling to all of North America (other plans with international calling are also available).  You can even set it up so that the caller ID shows your cell number.

You’ll have to dial via the Skype app, but it’s worth the hassle to save any overage charges you’re being hit with.

Of course for Skype to work you’ll need a data or Wi-Fi connection.

Skip The Big Guys

Rogers, TELUS, and Bell have all but cornered the cell phone market.  Outrageous pricing, additional charges, and inflexible upgrades have long been ripping us off.  That’s why it’s fantastic that new providers like Wind Mobile, Mobilicity, and Public are changing the game with simple, cheap plans.

Some of these DO have coverage issues, so do some local reviews in your area and make sure you’ll have a strong signal.  City centres should be fine, but if you’re in a more rural area you may need to stick with the big three.

No, You Don’t Need That New Phone

Let’s face it – phones are cool.  If you’re over 25, you’ve seen cell phones evolve into the computers they are today, and it’s really exciting to see what new features are released every year.

You also know that no matter how great your phone is, it’s going to be out of date in a few months, and that premium you paid for it won’t seem like such a great idea when you see it being offered for free a few months after that.

So do the smart thing and stay a generation or two behind.  Sure, you won’t have a gang of friends crowding around to see how smoothly Angry Birds Star Wars runs, but you’re doing this to take control of your life, not fling helpless birds around on a tiny screen.

Don’t Be Lazy

It’s so easy to be complacent with your cell bill because it’s a hassle to switch.  Don’t let apathy or laziness cost you hundreds of dollars a year.  Figure out what you really need (NEED), and then find the cheapest place to get it.


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