Many people want to know how to reduce their monthly expenses in order to save money or to make their budget more manageable. If you are like most people, you may spend a pretty penny on your cell phone bill, and you may be wondering how to lower your cell phone bill.

While this may seem like a fixed expense that simply cannot be reduced, the reality is that there are several steps that you may be able to take to lower your monthly bill. In fact, you may combine several of these steps for even greater overall savings.

Cell phones have become an essential part of our personal and professional lives, but for many of us, high monthly bills can have us questioning the cost of convenience. But you don’t need to abandon the lifeline that is your cell phone and move back to the dark ages in order to save money. Instead, try a few simple ways to cut costs and lower your bill.

Know What You Use –

Start by looking at your current plan versus your actual monthly usage. If you are only using a fraction of your current minutes, drop to a cheaper plan. You should also examine where most of your minutes are going each month. If the majority of your calls are going to family or friends who use a different cell carrier than you do, consider switching to that carrier to take advantage of free mobile to mobile calls.

If you don’t want to switch providers, how about when making lengthy calls to people who use a different carrier, you can try to schedule those calls in advance for nights or weekends so you won’t be charged daytime usage.

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When looking at options available to you through your carrier, research text messaging packages. Look over your monthly bill to determine how many text and picture messages you are sending, and compare that to the plans available to you. If you are racking up considerable charges for each individual message you send, you can save money by purchasing a texting package that allows you a certain amount of texts – even unlimited – each month. Conversely, if you are paying for an unlimited plan each month but are only sending a few texts here and there, downgrade your current package to match the amount you actually send. You’ll save money by doing this.

Change Service Providers –

One of the first steps to take when you want to know how to lower your cell phone bill is to shop around and compare the options. You may have done this previously when you first set up your plan, but providers often change rates. A provider that had a higher rate a few years ago may now have the most affordable plan.

Furthermore, some may be offering special incentives to those who switch from a different provider. For example, some may offer a free cell phone or may pay off the rest of your current cell phone contract in exchange for signing up with them. You may not have to pay a dime to change providers, and you may enjoy regular savings as a result.

Switch Plans –

Even if you do not switch providers, you may be able to reduce your monthly bill by switching plans within that same provider. For example, you may be on a plan that offers unlimited texting and data usage, but you may save money by switching to a plan with limited texting and data usage. Perhaps you have added features on your current plan, such as the ability to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot, and you may rarely or never use these features. Switching to a plan that is well-suited for how you actually use your phone is a smart idea.

Take Advantage of Friends and Family Plans –

Some people find savings in a “friends and family” plan. Most providers offer a discount if you have multiple lines on a single account. You may tie your spouse’s or your kids’ phones to a single plan to save money. If you are single, you may want to sign up for a joint plan with your roommate, your sibling, or someone else you trust. Review the rules and regulations for each specific friends and family plan so that you find one that meets your needs and that will save you money in the long run.

Lower Data Usage –

One of the most significant aspects of most cell phone bills is data usage. Data usage can cost a small fortune, and this is especially true if you are going over on data usage regularly. If this is the case, changing your plan to accommodate your actual data usage may help you to save money. This may be easier to do when you eliminate some of your most used apps from the phone, such as social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. Without these apps on the phone, you may be less likely to reach for the phone all of the time. Then, you can switch to a plan with lower data usage. You can also make an effort to only use data when you are connected to Wi-Fi so it doesn’t eat all of your data. If you go over your data limit you’ll incur some serious fees.

Limit Your Add On Features –

Regular monthly charges are not the only costs that can cause our cell phone bills to skyrocket. So, try to avoid add-ons such as ring tones, ring back tones, a ton of Apps, or other software because as tempting as they may be at costs of 99 cents a pop, they can really add up. Some may even cost around $5.99 to purchase. Even though they are usually one-time charges, no matter how cheap they seem at the time, they can sneak up on you and add up quickly.

Conclusion –

Finally, try putting the cell phone down. In today’s technological age, there are numerous other ways to stay in contact. From email to social networking websites to free voice and video calling online, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter where they are around the globe.

Lowering your cell phone bill may seem like a lofty and even unattainable goal at first. However, as you can see, there are actually numerous steps to take to reduce this expense. As a first step, analyze your last cell phone bill to learn more about the minutes, text messages and data that you regularly use under normal circumstances. Then, you can explore the different plans available through your current provider and other providers. You can even curb phone usage for additional savings. Through one or more of these ideas, you may be able to drastically reduce your cell phone expense.

If you are looking to cut expenses on your cell phone bill to help maintain your monthly budget, contact Advantage Credit Counseling Service. Advantage CCS offers a variety of services, including budgeting help and debt management, to help you and your family save money and take control of your finances.

Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for AdvantageCCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.