Ruth emailed the following tips:
One thing that I often see when looking at money-saving ideas is to get rid of your smartphone. It’s usually assumed that smartphone service is very expensive… however, that isn’t always the case!
My husband and I have two smartphones, a Samsung Galaxy S5 and a iPhone 6s. We pay a combined household total of no more than $30 per month (occasionally less than that). This includes unlimited texting for both phones, unlimited minutes for both phones, and 2.5 GB of data per phone. (We don’t get overages on data though. When we use up our data, the speed just slows down). We use Cricket Wireless.
Here’s the tips that have helped us to keep our bill so low.
1. Avoid monthly contracts
Monthly contracts keep you locked into the same provider for long periods of time, reducing flexibility. They also “bake in” the price of that discounted smartphone and more, actually costing more in the long run than paying full price for a phone.
It’s cheaper to purchase your phone up front and go with an out of contract option. We chose Cricket Wireless, which does solely month-to-month service with no contract option. If we don’t pay our bill on time, we just wouldn’t have service until it’s paid.
2. Find good deals on phones and own them outright
Android phones, as a rule, tend to have a more variable price range than iPhones. I’ve had two iPhones, one that was purchased on an amazing deal and one that was a hand me down from a relative after they upgraded. (I offered to buy it from them but they had decided on giving it to me)
If I had been unable to find deals on iPhones, I would have gotten an Android.
3. Take advantage of multi-line discounts
Our current provider, Cricket, offers amazing discounts on multiple lines. They allow up to 5 lines on the same account. We found 3 other friends who also wanted to save money and added them to our account. The cost is lower for all of us this way.
4. Find discounted refill cards.
Sometimes we can find Cricket refill cards for sale online at a discounted rate. One time we found a $30 refill card for $27 and another time we found a $30 refill card for $28.50. That doesn’t save a huge amount, but since it only takes about 5 minutes to buy the refill card and add to our account, it’s actually a pretty good “hourly wage” for very minimal effort.
We enjoy smartphones because of the many perks on them, such as budgeting apps, GPS, etc. It’s good to realize that for those who prefer to keep them, there are ways to keep the cost very reasonable.
Ruth has 3 kids, ages 10, 7, and 4, and homeschools. Her family has recently become debt free and are always looking for ways to continue to manage their resources well.