For many people, budgeting is a big part of life. If you don’t keep track of where your money is going and how much you need, you can be in for a lot of problems. Many of us struggle to reach our money goals without realizing there are ways to manage our finances and ways to cut costs. When you budget, one of the first places you should look is your cell phone. And we don’t mean personal finance apps — although those can be super useful too. Here are three ways you can use your phone to cut back the load on your poor wallet.
1. Keep a close eye on your data usage and use simple tricks to ensure you don’t go over. One of the biggest ways we run up our phone bills is by going over on data. There are a few easy ways to combat this. One is by heading over to Settings > Cellular and scrolling down to “Use Cellular Data For.” From here you can toggle the apps you want to be able to use when you’re not connected to WiFi. As you can see, the App Store is one of the biggest data sucks because of how often it downloads app updates in the background. You can also scroll down farther on that page to toggle WiFi Assist, a tool that will use cellular data in lieu of WiFi when your signal isn’t strong.
Head over to Settings > General > Background App Refresh to decide whether you want your apps to refresh their content. An added bonus to turning this option off is that it helps your battery life too.
2. Compare plans and providers. This one may seem obvious, but cell phone carriers are always trying to beat each other out and win customers. Oftentimes one provider will pay you to move your business over from their competitor. And in case you haven’t seen the commercials where the “can you hear me now?” guy switched sides to Sprint, Sprint and Verizon are pretty close in quality now (although if you live in a more rural area, Verizon is still probably your best bet).
If you want to stay with your current provider, examine your data, talk and text usage to see how much you’re actually using your phone, and then evaluate which plan is best for your personal usage. You can also consider getting on a plan with your family. There’s nothing wrong with staying on your parents’ plan permanently — as long as you aren’t making them pay your bill ;)
3. Just ask. Many people seem to have forgotten the art of haggling amid all the payment plans and promotions we have available to us now, but the fact remains that companies like Verizon and Sprint still hate to lose customers. If you feel like you aren’t getting a good deal, just ring up customer service. Chances are high that you’ll get a lower bill if they feel like they’re going to lose you to the competition. Worst case scenario, they say no.
It may seem daunting to tackle this area of your budget, but it can be super simple if you just take a little bit of time to do it properly.
Have you successfully lowered your phone bill? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Verizon, Sprint + Getty)