How We Cut Our Phone Bill in Half

One way that the Mr and I have saved money on our path to financial independence is by changing our phone plan. Side note: this is based on US phone company plans. 

Who here has a phone?

My guess is most of you just raised your hand. Ok, maybe not literally, but you get what I am saying.  According to a recent PEW article:

  • 95% of americans have a cell phone
  • and 77% of them have a smart phone

Isn’t every phone a smart phone?

Not in the least! My father-in-law insists on never owning a smart phone. He happily uses an old phone from the technology stone ages.

Exhibit A

Now, there are a lot of phones out there, but I’m not talking about that today. Instead, I want to talk about phones plans and more specifically how you can save money on them.

How To Save Money On Phone Plans

  • Use month-to-month phone plan providers
  • Get discount for automatic bill pay
  • Buy discounted pre-paid phone cards
  • Receive increase in data for same price

For years, I was a happy user of the major phone companies, including T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.  Using a quick comb through the internet, I found the following contract prices for average data users with unlimited talk and text ability.

CompanyDataAmount
AT&T3gb$60
Verizon4gb$70
Sprint3gb$50
T-Mobile2gb$50

Does’t seem all that bad, right? Except for the fact there are always unlisted or hidden fees all over the place. At some point Mr. Wow and I realized that our monthly bill included paying for a phone that had already been paid off.

That was totally not okay with us!

For the two of us, we were spending about $140/month: $60 per phone (x2) and $20 additional payment for my phone.  The phone company was weaseling an additional $20 a month for no good reason.  Good thing we caught that!!

Use Month-To-Month Phone Plan Providers

It was at that moment that we started looking deeper into the rabbit hole of phone plans and discovered the gem that is month-to-month. Since we were already on AT&T at this point, we opted for Cricket Wireless since it runs on AT&T’s network.

Cricket Wireless’s listed price was $40 for 2.5gb of data.

Get Discount For Automatic Bill Pay

They offered a discount for people who signed up for automatic bill pay, dropping the price to $35/month.  So we jumped on that.

Buy Discounted Phone Cards

Lucky for us, Cricket Wireless just had a 20% off sale on their pre-paid cards.  We stocked up on over $200 worth, spending about $180. Thank you to the nice person on Reddit who alerted us to the sale!  (And we used our Chase Freedom card for 5% cash back.. BOOYAH! – Mr. WoW)

Receive Increase In Data For Same Price

Surprisingly, just a couple of weeks ago, Cricket decided to up their data amount to 3gb still for only $35/month. Score! Although, you may not have control over this bullet point, it is still a win in my book.

CompanyDataAmount
Cricket Wireless3gb$35

 Our monthly phone bill cut in half! 

You better run bill!

There are plenty of other month-to-month contract companies to use, i.e. Republic Wireless, Boost Mobile, Page Plus, etc. You’ll definitely be able to find one that matches your needs and coverage area, all the while saving you money.

Isn’t it a crappy service? Does your phone even work anymore?

These were questions our friends would ask every time we mentioned we weren’t on the main providers anymore.  Nevertheless, the Wows have yet to discover a difference in service and phone-working-ability since switching to Cricket over two years ago. What we have discovered is how we were saving roughly $750/ year just just by making that switch.

Additional Benefit: Having an Unlocked Phone

An additional benefit to being on a month-to-month contract is that your phone must be unlocked in order to sign-up.  For those of you who travel, specifically outside of the United States, having an unlocked phone is huge.  That meant where ever we go, we buy a SIM card, pop it in and use data on the local providers.  Data tends to be much cheaper abroad than in the States.  (It was 5 EU for 10GB of data in Portugal!? – Mr. WoW)

If you are looking for a simple way to save money, look no further than your phone.  Its quick and easy and I promise you won’t even notice the difference.  Besides if you do, its only month-to-month, so try another provider.

13 Comments

  • Carey February 20, 2017 at 10:18 am

    WoW! I switched from Sprint to Ting as I owned my phone. Easy to do and saved myself $30 per month!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      That’s great Carey! Easy and saving money, that sure is a nice combo!

      Reply
  • rupanama February 28, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Howdy! Looking forward to meeting Mrs. WoW at Odells for the FIRE fighters meetup. My partner and I made a similar jump to Ting from Verizon, and it’s saved us a bunch. It’s surprising the big providers still have any clients.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      I think a lot of people think that a cheaper phone plan means crappy service. But from my experience, that is completely not the case! Can’t wait to meet you next week.

      Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach March 1, 2017 at 6:38 am

    I’m looking forward to switching over to cricket in one more month! I’m glad I had you guys to experiment with it so I know it works well!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…February Rewind: The Cat is Still Alive!My Profile

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW March 1, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Just in time for your international trip! Can’t wait to hear you thoughts on it!

      Reply
  • Lowering Your Bills | Need2Save March 12, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    […] And then there is the cell phone.  With a family of four, this is still a significant monthly cost for us.  We are on AT&T and get a discount through work (see below), so I haven’t made the plunge to a pre-paid or reseller like Cricket Wireless or Republic Wireless yet. One thing that we don’t do is buy crazy expensive phones on contract.  Our $180 Motorola Moto G4 unlocked phones more than meet our needs.  Learn more about how the ‘Waffles on Wednesday’ couple cut their cell phone bill in half. […]

    Reply
  • Benjamin Davis @ From cents to retirement March 14, 2017 at 2:43 am

    Just found your blog and I loved it. Keep up the awesome work guys. How long will it take for you to become FF?

    Reply
    • Mr WoW March 14, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Hey thanks for the encouraging words! We’re hoping to hit a point to really scale back and do some traveling and volunteer/remote work next year. Granted all goes well, we won’t be done completely, but well on our way. How about you?

      Reply
    • Mrs WoW March 14, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks for finding us and liking what we are doing! I have to admit that we love Portugal too!! We were there a few years ago and still dream about going back. It will definitely be a place we return to!

      Reply
  • dave April 9, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I have one year left on AT&T contract. Cricket looks like a much better choice. Will definitely explore it. Ty.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW April 9, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Maybe you look into getting out of that contract sooner. Not sure what it would entail, but since one year is a long time, it could be a reasonable option. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply
    • Mr WoW April 9, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      You could look into canceling it before the contract ends… AT&T currently has their cancellation policy set at:

      $325 minus $10 for each full month
      of completed Service Commitment

      https://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/early-term-fees.jsp

      So, depending on how much you might save monthly, you might come out in the long run better off. Just have to run the numbers on your own.

      Reply

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