Whether it’s checking our emails, paying bills, scrolling through Facebook or even reading Doc Frugal, our phones are our life-rafts in this modern age. Here are three quick tips to help ease the costs and keep you connected to the world around you.
# 1 Stand with the little guys.
Off the top of your head I’m guessing you can name the four big companies whom you are likely to be paying your hard-earned money every month. While there are perks to having plans from these carriers, such as free Netflix from T-Mobile or weekly deals from AT&T, you may find yourself asking; Is this worth it?
Enter the smaller prepaid companies such as Simple Mobile, Straight Talk and Metro PCS. These are companies who lease their networks from the big guys, you know the ones with the colored maps in every commercial showing you their exclusive coverage areas? Yeah, they aren’t the only ones with access to those.
Plans have also evolved, and often you can find a single unlimited plan for 50 bucks a month with the ability to add lines at a discount. You can even keep your phone. Carriers are legally obligated to unlock you phones upon request, so long as you own the phone or have paid the phone off completely if you lease it from your carrier. Gone also are the days of the “burner phone,” cheaper low-quality phones that are often under-powered or lacking in features. You can find iPhones, Samsung Galaxies, and other modern smartphones at these places too.
#2 Check those app settings and turn on WiFi.
Data overages are often the driving force behind driving up phone bills. You pay for WiFi, so make sure you get your money’s worth and turn it on when at home or in places where it’s available (making sure to take precautions against untrustworthy networks to prevent hacking). This can save you a bundle alone, but for times when you do need to use that precious data, check your phones settings and make sure that you only allow your favorite apps to use your data, and only at appropriate times. There is no reason for your note taking app to need access to the internet at all times. Many phones come with modes you can turn on to save you data, even certain apps such as Google Chrome, have the feature.
#3 Recycle those old phones for cash.
We all have at least one old phone in a drawer somewhere collecting dust. While it served us faithfully for a while, now it simply takes up space, serving no one. There are places online such as Gazelle or even kiosks such as Eco-ATM where you can sell your old phone for gift cards or even cash, netting you some sweet income as a reward for spring cleaning.
Bonus Tip! Take advantage of special programs based on income, ability and age.
If you’re a senior, disabled, or in a certain income bracket, you may qualify for deals from carriers or government programs that can help! Check with your local agencies and ask your carriers for more information.