Personal Finance

How We Cut Our Cell Phone Bill In Half

Remember the first Cell Phone you ever owned? Was it a huge brick, a flip, a razor? Mine, was a work phone, a Nextel, the indestructible ones with the walkie-talkie feature. My co-worker Johnnie would pick the most random moments to walkie Wookie noises and we loved it.

Post Update: Since the time of this posting T-Mobile no longer offers the same family plan, unfortunately. We’re still grandfathered in at $60 a month for the two of us. The advice below, however, is still sound and likely to save on cell phone bills significantly.

Man, I miss those days. For the fun and the fact that the company footed my mobile bill. Nowadays, I’m a Consultant footing my own bills. That always means I always answer when a client calls.

While in Italy last year, I took ONE call. Verizon then gouged me with an extra $35 on our regular monthly bill. A bill that was already $150 a month. More if we used too much data. Let’s just say, Bello and I got real smart… real quicks like.

Since that time, we’ve cut our cell phone bill to $60 a month. For the both of us. If you like numbers that is $90 a month or $1,080 in savings a year.

Here is how we did it, step-by-step.

Tips to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

“New Every Two” is the smartest swindle ever. They have you, you’re stuck. Don’t get sucked in again by a shiny new phone. The moment you’re off a plan, you’re a free agent and your cellular company knows it. 

Avoid New Every Two Plans

  • First, Bello called Verizon and said “I’m off contract and not happy with the service I’m getting. I am considering going with another provider with a plan that’s $10 less a month. If Verizon honors this price, I will keep my line with Verizon.” Guess what, they did. 
  • Next, I called and said “you just gave my Husband a plan that’s $10 cheaper a month on his line. I’m off contract and I want the same plan.” Check, got it.
  • Being off-contract allows you enough leverage to bargain. Between the two of us making separate calls, we started saving $20 a month. That’s a saving of $240 a year.

How to Ask for a Discount

AFTER we cut down the cost of our plan, we called again a month later. “We’re unhappy, we’re off contract and thinking of leaving to get more data.” Bingo, we got more data at the same price.

Redefine Family to Get a Family Plan

With research, Paolo realized T-Mobile was cheaper, much cheaper. One night while talking to my Mother about why we were going to switch to T-Mobile, her ears perked up. She too was a free agent. Should she switch?

A few days later, Paolo saw a T-Mobile “Family Plan” and wheels started spinning. Wait we’re family. I mean yes, Bello is my Husband… but I’m also my Mother’s daughter… so we’re all three families and there is Mark, my Mom’s Husband… wait a second.

Yep, you guessed it. The four of us signed up for a FAMILY PLAN that costs $120 a month and gives each of us 10GB of data. That means our half, now costs Paolo and I $60 a month.

Whose to say your Sister, Cousin, Nephew… your friend Bob can’t be in your “Family” Plan. It IS important to do a Family Plan with people you trust. You’ll need to use the same address for everyone on the plan and there is only one bill, but is that actually a problem? At that point, it’s an agreement with people you trust.

Nowadays, everyone has the same visibility with online account access. No matter where in the world you actually are! Besides, if you can’t trust your family… just pick a new one. At least for your cell phone plan purposes anyway.

Oh and before I forget, with T-Mobile:

  • We’re month to month, no contract.
  • International Calls from Europe are 20 cents a second.
  • Unused data rolls from month to month up to 20GB per person.
  • Streaming music does not count against data. Hello, Rhapsody!
  • Video streaming does not count against data. Hello, Chef’s Table!

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR T-MOBILE. I encourage anyone reading this, to check all carriers Family Plans.

Happy Savings! Now call your Mom!

International Cell Phone Player
International Cell Phone Player

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