6 secrets to save money on your cell phone bill

(AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Roughly three quarters of Americans, 77 percent, now own a smartphone, according to government reports. Most people are overpaying for cell phone service, but there are some ways you can save.

There are easy ways to save on cell phone service and joining a family plan can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. In the wireless market, buying in bulk can save you money. On a family plan, the more lines you have, the more the price per line drops. With family plan pricing, the general rule is that the first line is the most expensive, the second line is cheaper, and the third, fourth and fifth lines are even cheaper.

Friends can join too! There’s no need to be blood relatives of other account holders to take advantage of a family plan. Most will allow you to add up to nine lines, but there’s just one bill and one credit check. The account goes under one person’s name, the main account holder, and only the account holder’s credit history will be reviewed. Make sure the account holder is financially responsible.

Owning your phone in full saves you the monthly costs of your equipment installment plan, about $300 a year.

Plus, the older your phone is, the less likely you’ll need phone insurance. Your device may not need to be covered if it’s an older model. Not paying for phone insurance can easily save you $10 a month or over $100 a year.

How about switching carriers? You can keep your data amount and your coverage, but if you switch from a major carrier to a smaller one, the only thing you’ll notice is the savings on your monthly bill. If you’re switching carriers, good timing can save you money. To minimize the likelihood of paying for two services as you switch, try signing up with your new carrier about four days from the end of your current billing cycle. This allows some wiggle room as you switch to avoid any bill overlapping.

One thing you can be sure of is your service provider does not want to lose you to the competition. So, ask for a better deal, and you’ll probably get it. Often you can get more data and pay less just with a phone call. Also, carriers often don’t automatically apply all the new advertised features to their existing customers. For example, getting rid of data overage fees can translate into saving a couple of hundred dollars a year.

To help you get the best plan value, here are some questions to ask your carrier:

  • Am I paying the best price for the amount of data and lines I have?
  • Are there any new benefits or features that should be included on my plan for free?
  • Are there any special discounts or customer appreciation programs available?

It doesn’t hurt to ask.

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