Ring Ring Ring. Your budget is calling and it wants its money back. Are you paying more than $50 a month for your cell phone plan? Are you paying for a ton of data you're not using. Maybe it's your New Year's resolution to spend less time texting and more time playing with your dog. (Awe.) Either way, cell phone plans continue to be a major drain on your monthly budget. Let's see if we can help you save some money on your cell phone bill, eh?
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With 46% of American's paying more than $100 a month for their phone bill, that goal of saving $1,000 this year is going to be hard to achieve. If you fall in that over $100 a month bucket, it's time to reevaluate your cell phone usage and the plan you have. Cutting your cost doesn't mean losing access to data or good service either. There's a low cost option out there for everyone.
Best Unlimited Data Plan
Sprint wins this round. Did you know you that if you bring your own qualifying device to Sprint you can get a free year of service? That's easily a $1,000 - $1,200 a year savings. There is one major caveat here. You have to have a paid off phone to bring to Sprint or be prepared to buy one. You can see a list of devices that qualify here. Worst case scenario, you need to buy a new phone to bring to Sprint. You can find used IPhone 6s for $200 on Craigslist or Ebay. Ideally you'll be able to pay off your old phone and sell that to make the new phone a wash.
- Pay $13 for a Sprint SIM card.
- The $30 activation fee is waived for the first year.
- Data is unlimited. 10 GB of monthly hot spot data per line.
- Add up to 4 lines at the 12 months free rate.
- After 12 months standard Sprint pricing will apply.
- Safety net of a big 4 network without a contract.
Best Unlimited Throttled Data Plan
If you don't mind having your data throttled, Mint SIM is one of the most cost effective offers we could find. This is another bring your own phone plan. Phone eligibility can be found here. Mint SIM provides unlimited talk, text, and data for an annual fee of $180, or $15 a month. If you want 10 gigs of LTE data, you can up your annual subscription to $300, which comes out to $25 a month. If you find yourself burning through your LTE data and can't handle the 2G speeds, you always have the option to purchase an additional gig of data for $10.
Mint SIM Highlights:
- Bring your own device. Just upgrade your SIM, and you're ready to go.
- Pay in 3,6, or 12 month blocks. The more you buy, the more you save.
- Discounted rates for international calls available.
- Powered by T-Mobile's LTE network.
- No contracts, but if you buy 12 months of service that is basically a contract. Right?
- Uber-cute mascot. That's a plus.
Best Plan for City Dwellers and Frequent Travelers
Goolge Fi. Google came to the market with an interesting cell phone offering. With Google Fi you'll pay $20 a month for unlimited calling and texting. Each Gig of data you need will be an additional $10 a month. The twist here is that you get a credit back for any unused data each month, and Google gives you free access to 1 million wi-fi hotspots. If you're in range, the phone will automatically shift over, reducing your data usage. If you're a city dweller that will typically be in range of a wifi hotspot, you're monthly data usage should be minimal. Similarly, if you work from home or use data sparingly, the pay as you use model might make a lot of sense. If you can manage to live on 1 gig of data a month, this will save you $70 a month and still provide you with excellent wifi coverage while you're out and about.
Google Fi Highlights:
- When available, your phone will automatically shift you over to free pre-selected Wi-Fi hotspots for faster calling, data, and texting. All with secure encryption to keep your data safe.
- Data prices are the same while in the U.S. and abroad.
- One service gives you access to three leading national carriers. That means faster 4G LTE coverage in more locations. Your phone will automatically connect to the strongest 4G LTE service.
- Add additional lines for $15.
- Tablets can be added for free (subject to the $10 a gig data fee).
Don't let your phone bill drain your budget each month. You have options. Find a plan that works for your lifestyle, and keep the change. Also, play with your dog more. That's a resolution we can get behind.