Try these money-saving hacks to reduce what you're spending on your cell phone bill every month.

By Kristine Gill
Updated September 18, 2018
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Feeling the squeeze from your cell phone bill? You’re not alone. Luckily there’s a few strategies to help you reduce your costs without sacrificing your preferences, says Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. One of the quickest? Simply call and ask your provider for a better rate. Some providers will knock off a few bucks just for being a loyal customer and paying your bills on time. When you call customer service, Palmer says it’s best to be polite and keep things simple. Ask if there’s a better deal available and if it’s possible to negotiate a discount. If there’s not, and you’re considering a different provider, mention that you’re looking to switch.

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At this point you might get transferred to a different customer service rep who’s skilled at customer retention at some point in the call, but stay on the line. “If you have seen a better deal elsewhere, then mention it,” says Palmer. “Ask if they will match that other offer. There’s no harm in asking.” Not into haggling? NerdWallet and other companies like BillAdvisor and BillCutterz offer a service where a team of negotiators will do the work for you, splitting the savings if they're successful.

Looking to save even more on your bill? Try these tips.

1

You can see your usage right on your device or by signing into your provider account. If you’re an iPhone user, open up Settings, click Cellular and scroll to read your used data and available data. If you’ve got an Android, open Settings and click Data Usage.

From there you can view monthly totals. You can even break this down by app to see which of your programs is sucking up the most bytes. If you're using a lot less than what you're paying for, it might be time to downgrade, especially if you're paying for unlimited data. Just remember though, that traveling can use more data so if you're planning a big trip (or you travel regularly), think carefully before you switch your plan, says Palmer.

2

Splitting the bill on a family plan—whether it's with your beau, your siblings, or Mom and Dad—lowers your individual cost in the long run. "Even though it's more overall, you're splitting it up," says Palmer. "That can save you up to 10 percent a month, and that adds up." So you don’t have to have a family of five to reap the benefits, just pair up with someone in your family tree who's looking to save. And make sure they’re people you can trust to reimburse you.

3

This one could go both ways, but Palmer says folks who move out of state can save. "The taxes and fees added to your bill are based on the state you live in, so if you’ve moved recently you may be able to save money by updated your address," she says. Of course, you might find yourself paying more for your new state's fees.

4

Most service providers lock you in these days with two-year contracts. Expect hefty penalties for breaking them—if you're able to get out. You're better off waiting until your current contract ends to go shopping for a better deal. "That's when the power switches back to you," says Palmer. Some cell phone providers do offer to buy you out of your current contract, including Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile. But make sure to ask before you switch if they will cover all of the early termination fees.