A recent study from bill pay service doxo showed that cell phone bills increased by 6.4% compared to last year. This is in line with the overall jump in inflation. The numbers were released before major carriers like AT&T and Verizon announced rate hikes for some customers, so bills could be even higher now.
Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your smartphone bill substantially, freeing up more money for other expenses — or even retirement savings. Further, some of the tactics you can use are also good for the environment!
Trade In Your Old Devices for Cash, Gift Cards, or Statement Credits
MCE Systems, a device lifecycle management firm, recently reported that carriers and consumers alike are losing out on money — to the tune of roughly $60 billion, combined — by not recycling old smartphones and other mobile devices. The study showed 62% of consumers don’t trade in their old phones.
That leaves roughly 550 million old phones hanging around gathering dust in people’s homes or, worse, sitting in landfills. Trading in those old phones could net you some cash in your pocket.
According to the carrier’s website, Verizon Wireless lets you trade in up to 10 wireless devices, including smartphones, tablets, and wearables, at a time and receive a statement credit, a Verizon eGift card, or money towards a new Verizon device. Some devices are worth their full value.
AT&T also has some incredible trade-in offers. New and existing customers can get $700 to $800 off popular smartphones from Samsung, Apple, or Google with an eligible trade-in. If you trade in any Galaxy smartphone, even an older one, you can get a free Samsung Galaxy S22. Or you can snag an iPhone 13 Mini for $0 with an eligible trade-in.
T-Mobile offers a statement credit when you trade in an old device and purchase a new one, add a line to your plan, or become a new T-Mobile customer. The company offers an easy online tool to determine your device’s trade-in value.
Change Plans But Keep Your Phone
If you’re looking to save money on your smartphone bill long-term — and not just earn some one-time cash back — it pays to negotiate a lower cost plan with your provider or even switch providers altogether, said Jim Kreyenhagen, VP of marketing and consumer services for doxo.
The national average for monthly bill payment for mobile phones in 2022 is $114, according to recent doxo research. “The best way for consumers to understand whether or not they are getting the best deal is to know how much they should or could be paying for their bills,” Kreyenhagen said. “If consumers are armed with hard data about how much their neighbors are paying, they will be much better equipped to negotiate.”
If you decide to switch carriers, investigate whether you’ll get a better deal trading in your old phone or putting it on the new plan.
Verizon Wireless is offering customers a $500 eGift card when they put an existing 4G or 5G smartphone on the Verizon 5G Premium Plan. The eGift card can be used for other electronics devices sold by Verizon Wireless online (or in stores) or can be applied to your Verizon Wireless bill.
If you switch to AT&T and keep your current phone, you’ll receive a $250 AT&T Visa Reward Card.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile is enticing consumers to switch their whole family to a Magenta Max Plan and earn up to $1000 ($200 per device, up to five devices) on a Virtual Prepaid Mastercard.
Consider a Mobile Virtual Network Operator Instead
If your smartphone bill is still higher than you’d like after trade-in incentives, consider getting some price quotes from a lower cost Mobile Virtual Network Operator provider like Xfinity Mobile, Boost Wireless, or Cricket, Kreyenhagen recommended.
“These operators offer mobile services but since they do not own network infrastructure, they can charge less because they aren’t paying to maintain their own network and are generally spending less on marketing, physical store presence and customer service support,” he told GOBankingRates in an exclusive email interview.
Xfinity Mobile even has a trade-in program similar to T-Mobile’s, where you can put the value of your old smartphone towards a new purchase with Xfinity.
The Boost and Cricket websites do not seem to have trade-in offers, but Boost does have a program where you can reduce your wireless bill — even down to $0 per month — by playing games on the BoostOne app.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Save Money on Your Cellphone Bill With These Expert Tips