11 Ways to Reduce Your Cellphone Bill

Quick Answer

There are many ways you can reduce your cellphone bill, including swapping carriers, choosing a basic phone, gauging your data usage, investigating free connectivity programs and more.

Young man sitting on couch looks at finances on phone while drinking from mug.

There are many ways to reduce your cellphone bill, perhaps even down to $0 a month, by swapping carriers, gauging your data usage and more.

Cellphones have quickly become one of our most important telecom connections, with many people even forgoing home Wi-Fi in favor of using their cellphone's hotspot. But with added capabilities comes added price.

Here are 11 ways to reduce your cellphone bill and keep some money in your pocket.

1. Swap Carriers

The simplest thing to do is shop around to see if swapping carriers makes sense. You may be able to get better coverage for a lower price or get a new phone at a discount when you switch.

2. Consider Mobile Virtual Network Operators

Mobile virtual network operators are cellphone carriers that rent space on another company's network. They often offer a lower price than traditional carriers. But, you could end up with lower speeds or smaller plan packages, so make sure to compare the details of your plan before opting for simply a lower price.

3. Get a Family Plan

Combining your cell plan with family members' plans is a quick way to get a discount on each line. Some plans allow you to sign up in a group with friends or even strangers—such as Visible's Party Pay—to get a discount.

4. Rock a Basic Phone

The cost of a basic phone and its talk and text service is almost always lower than one offering full data. When paired with a contract-free, pay-as-you-go plan, you may be able to find some of the most cost-effective plans on the market.

5. Consider Prepaid or Pay-as-You-Go

Prepaid and pay-as-you-go phone plans are often less expensive because there's no contract. With prepaid plans, you pay a set amount each month ahead of time and have the option to leave the service at any time.

Pay-as-you-go plans monitor your use and charge you at the end of the payment period, like Google Fi or Ting. This can be cost-effective if you have some months where you use your phone less often than others.

6. Choose a Free Phone

If you typically lease or finance your phone as part of your bill, consider opting for a free phone from your provider to reduce monthly costs. Many plans offer phones at no extra cost, so scoring a new phone for free could be an important strategy to reduce your cellphone costs.

7. Gauge Your Data Usage

You may be paying for more data than you need. Spend a month actually gauging your data usage before buying a pricey unlimited plan. You can usually find your data usage in your phone plan's app or online profile. You could be using less than you think.

Be wary of buying unlimited plans just because you don't want to run out of data. Many plans that have a capped data allowance will still allow you to access data after you reach the capped amount but at a throttled speed.

8. Ask Work to Subsidize Your Bill

If your job offers a subsidy for internet or phone service, take them up on it. As remote work becomes more popular, more and more jobs are offering to pay for connectivity utilities.

9. Investigate Discounts Available to You

Phone service providers often have set discounts for particular groups. If you are part of a group like veterans, students or seniors, find out if you qualify for a discount. Similarly, if you have a membership to an organization like AARP, check to see what discounts may be available.

10. See if You Qualify for Free Connectivity Programs

The government provides lifeline phone service for low-income citizens. If you qualify for government-funded cellphone service, you may be able to get service for free. You may qualify for a free connectivity program if:

  • You received a federal Pell Grant in the current year.
  • You receive assistance from one of the following programs:
    • Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
    • SNAP
    • Medicaid
    • Housing Choice Voucher and Section 8
    • Project-Based Rental Assistance
    • Public Housing
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • WIC
    • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
    • Lifeline

Additional assistance qualifications may apply to participants on tribal lands.

11. Choose a Free Plan

There are some phone plans which are available at no cost. Though these plans come with some limitations, such as no free data, getting phone service and text for free could be a major score if you need to cut costs on your cellphone bill.

Some of the plans are funded by ads within their text messaging app, such as textnow, providing you with free service.

Make Your Phone Bill Work for You

There may be an even easier way to reduce your cellphone bill—having someone else do the negotiating for you. Experian BillFixer™ is part of Experian's premium membership and provides expert bill negotiators to try reducing some of your most common bills. These can include things such as cable, internet and, of course, cellphones. You'll get the savings without the hassle.

Once you drop your phone bill costs, make the bill work for you by adding your cellphone bill to Experian Boost®ø. Experian Boost is a feature that lets you add things like utilities, rent and telecom bills to your Experian credit report and get a boost to your score thanks to your positive payment history.